Wednesday, August 24, 2016

No responsibility

Posted on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 2:13 PM

While there are very few people that trap in Montana—about half of 1 percent—they impact the enjoyment of other outdoorsmen and women with their prolific placement of traps and snares, many of them lethal, with no responsibility for what steps into them. Unlike fishing and hunting, trapping is a commercial activity, killing wildlife in horrific ways for financial gain.

When one person's use of public lands interferes with everyone else, it is time to consider the rights of the whole. The trapping industry has always strenuously resisted efforts to further regulate trapping. They believe it is their "tradition" and "right" to trap, that trapping takes precedence over other outdoor activities, whether interfering with those activities or not. Additionally, the Montana FWP commission, deep in the trapping lobby's pocket, has refused to address citizen complaints concerning the effects of trapping on other users. Hence, I-177, an initiative to prohibit trapping on public lands.

There is nothing biologically sound about trapping. It is indiscriminate and kills far more creatures than the ones targeted for profit. In addition, Montana FWP has no real knowledge of what this carnage entails or its extent.

The trapping lobby will throw up numerous smokescreens about "animal rights" groups, "emotional" people opposing trapping and how the demise of trapping will result in a biological apocalypse. This is all nonsense and scare tactics, as there are many states that have already prohibited trapping without issue, such as Colorado, Arizona and Washington. Concerning farmers and ranchers, I-177 will not prohibit trapping on private land, so they can invite trappers onto their property as they see fit.

With FWP unwilling to act, it's up to Montana voters to take our public lands back for the enjoyment and safety of the vast majority of citizens. Please vote yes on I-177.

Mike Koeppen


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