I thought I would publish this letter from the Montana Trapper’s Association regarding the effort by Footloose Montana to ban trapping on public land by non-government personnel.
Feedback is welcomed.
Stephen M. Vantassel
Dear Fellow Outdoorsman,
In Montana, for the past two centuries we have had the privilege of enjoying our trapping activities largely unfettered by unnecessary regulation and threat to our pursuit. We are now threatened with the loss of trapping on public land by the threat of Ballot Initiative I-177 which will be voted on this November.
We need your help.
We are now threatened by the most vicious, callous, and ruthless opponent that we have ever seen before. There are Animal Rights Activists, temporarily based in Missoula but funded by out-of-state sources, that are hell bent on taking away our trapping heritage. Their self-stated goal is to go after trapping, then hunting with hounds, then bear hunting, then all hunting, and then fishing. They will wear us down, and if we don’t act NOW our grandchildren will likely never know the joys that we have experienced in the outdoors.
We need to put up a firewall NOW and stop these anti’s in their tracks. If we lose our privilege to trap on public land in Montana then we will certainly lose our ability to trap on ALL land in Montana altogether. And other states will soon follow.
That’s why I am asking you to donate $56 to the Montana Trappers Association to help fight this threat. That’s just $1 for every county in our state.
And I know that some folks will be unable to make a contribution at this time, but if you can help with any donation, whether it be $25, $50, $100 or more, we’d be sincerely grateful for your generous donation. The fact of the matter is, we need the funds right NOW because the election is on November 8th and coming at us fast. We need to get the word out to all of the people who don’t necessarily oppose trapping, but might be easily swayed by the emotional attack ads and information generated by the Animal Rights Extremists. Again, that’s just $56 for a crucial victory on Election Day that will mean everything to our trapping culture.
The President of the Montana Trappers Association tells us that Montanans are facing what may be the most important legal challenge to sportsmen’s rights in the history of our state. In November Montana citizens will be asked to vote whether the long standing tradition of trapping will continue on public lands. As a battle ground state, the outcome of this fight will affect sportsmen across the country and that’s why I’m writing to you.
Trapping has proven to be a necessary part of Montana’s wildlife management practices for decades. It is also a source of income for Montana families and predator control for ranchers and farmers who need it most. But that’s just the beginning.
Time spent with my uncle learning how to hunt and trap on public lands are my earliest childhood memories. Because we trapped and hunted together then I still yearn to be surrounded by nature now. And as I watch that outdoor passion growing in my own grandchildren’s eyes I can only think that all Montana children deserve days like these.
The fact is that Animal Rights activists are pushing their agenda onto Montanans. I-177 is bad for wildlife, costly for cattle and sheep ranchers, bad for taxpayers, and even dangerous for pets and people. With so much public land in Montana it seems unreasonable to think that there isn’t enough room for everybody to share the landscape. There are many reasons to oppose I-177 but here are a few key points to know about I-177:
I-177 would ban one of the most effective and essential methods for controlling wolves, coyotes, and other predators to protect Montana’s elk, moose and deer populations, as well as livestock.
I-177 will cost at least $422,000 in taxpayer money every year for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to do the same things that trappers currently buy a license to do at no cost.
Roughly 40% of all wolves harvested in Montana are taken by regulated trapping with nearly half taken on public lands. Imagine the wolf population without trapping!
I-177 is being pushed by the animal rights and anti-hunting lobby whose real agenda is to ban all trapping and all hunting.
I-177 is opposed by Montana’s major sportsmen’s organizations, cattle and sheep ranchers and wildlife management professionals.
I-177 would not allow any trapping until after damage or even a tragedy has occurred, and even then, not until non-lethal methods have been tried and documented to be unsuccessful for 30 days. Meanwhile, dangerous predator populations will continue to grow unchecked.
As a hunter, trapper and angler in Montana I don’t want to see unnecessary infringements on our outdoor heritage. A real threat to our outdoor legacy is happening and if there was ever a time to stand together, that time is now. The effort will be enormous but we must work together to preserve Montana’s outdoor legacy.
So please, we need you to make an urgent contribution of $56 or more to the Montana Trappers Association or the Montanans for Wildlife and Public Land Access.
Donations can be made through the MTA website: http://montanatrappers.org/
Don’t let it be known that the Great State of Montana lost the battle to preserve our trapping culture against the Animal Rights Extremists!!
Montana Trappers Association, montanatrappers.org
p.s. To those of you who have already contributed to our cause in defeating Ballot Initiative I-177, please don’t disregard this message. Instead, please forward this message on to all the folks in your email address book who are sympathetic to this cause. This includes bowhunters, houndsmen, fishermen, boaters and any other outdoors person you can think of. We have to stop the anti’s at the Montana border before it gets to YOUR state!!! I know some of you have extensive email address lists that would be beneficial to our cause, please circulate this!! And THANK YOU in advance!