I-177 a common-sense solution to cruel trapping on our public lands

Editor:

One gorgeous fall morning my sister, her husband, their toddler, and their dog decided to go cross-country skiing on a public trail near Bozeman. Minutes later, just out of sight of the parking lot, they heard a snap and a yelp — and found their puppy dying in a steel trap. She did not survive.

This happens too often — Montanans out for a walk suddenly find themselves in the horrifying situation of trying to free their dying dog from a trap — and this is why I-177 has support from public land users including hunters, anglers, hikers and wildlife watchers.

Consider the differences between trapping and hunting.  Hunters wear orange to warn others they are in the area, they treat their weapons with respect, they pay for licenses, and they follow regulations from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks that are specific for the species and sex of the animal hunted. Hunters also shoot to kill — they don’t purposely shoot the leg off an animal and let them suffer.

Trappers on the other hand, pay $29 a year to leave dangerous unmarked traps that do not discriminate between species, age, or sex. Traps do not involve a quick death, and they are loaded weapons for anyone tempted by the bait- including our companion animals, hunting dogs, and endangered species.

The Montana Trappers Association receives a majority of its donations from out of state interest groups. They have been running dishonest commercials on radio and television that do not even mention trapping! They are using scare tactics stating that Montana will have to use poison in our playgrounds and schools if this initiative passes because they will be overrun by wildlife. This is not only a lie, but it is illegal to use poison for wildlife control in public places.

I-177 will keep Montana safer for all to enjoy and is a common-sense solution to the outdated, indiscriminate and cruel practice of trapping on our valued public land. I hope that everyone who truly cares about wildlife will join me in voting yes for I-177.

Bonnie Goodman
Livingston

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