Why Vote YES for I-177?

Watch this short video and learn the Truth about Trapping

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“Think of the relief for tens of thousands of animals every year if this passes.”

– Stewart Brandborg, last surviving architect of the Wilderness Act, former executive director of the Wilderness Society.

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“The days of trapping are over. Now it’s time to preserve the animals.”

– Charles Jonkel, wildlife biologist and former trapper

Eight States restrict or ban trapping.  Help Montana be Number Nine.

CA, CO, AZ, WA, MA, FL, RI, NJ all have banned or severely restricted trapping because it takes an indiscriminate, unnecessary toll on our wildlife, and traps, like landmines, hold our public lands hostage.  If I-177 wins in Montana in November, it will strengthen the chances for victory in many other states.

We have the unique opportunity to end the unlimited recreational and commercial trapping of publicly owned wildlife on Montana’s public lands.  Montana is the last refuge for rare and sensitive species.  Yet trapping is driving these animals to extinction as they struggle to survive climate change and habitat destruction. We can change this in November.  I-177 will make a bigger difference for our wildlife than a century of conservation.

HERE’S WHY I-177 MATTERS

•  Traps ENDANGER the Public on our Public Lands
Hundreds of thousands of concealed traps and snares cause fear, trauma, injury and death for scores of family pets each year.  People suffer too—heart attack, broken bones, amputated toes.

•  Trapping Takes a Terrible TOLL
Each year, trappers report taking more than 52,000 animals in Montana.  But the true number is many times higher: only one-third of furbearer trappers return surveys.  Trappers targeting coyotes, foxes, weasels, raccoons, badgers, civet cats and skunks do not need licenses and do not report.  Their take is unlimited.

For every target animal caught an average of two are discarded. Our public lands are silent; people throng to Glacier and Yellowstone to see animals.

•  Trapping is NOT Wildlife Management
Trapping is managed solely as recreation because traps are indiscriminate.  Traps do not control disease: in fact the opposite occurs.  Traps take out the healthy animals that eat the rodents carrying disease. Too few predators mean high numbers of elk that carry brucellosis and chronic wasting disease. Traps do not control wildlife populations: predator populations stabilize on their own. Non-selective traps undermine wildlife management.  Trapping continues in lynx and wolverine territory even though lynx are listed threatened and fewer than 150 wolverines survive in Montana.  Research is destroyed when collared animals are trapped; traps ring Glacier and Yellowstone Parks, impeding chances of survival for grizzlies and other at-risk species trying to recover populations.  Trappers do not give scientific, unbiased information.

•  Trapping is NOT Hunting; I-177 Upholds Fair Chase Hunting
Trapping goes against the Fair Chase ethics of hunting. Trappers do not know their target—they aren’t there.  Traps are not quick, efficient kills.  Traps do not treat animals with respect; they torture animals.  Traps cause wanton waste.  Traps kill animals during reproduction and nurturing times, thus killing offspring as well.  The numbers of animals killed are unknown.

•  Traps Kill Endangered Species.  Traps cause Species’ EXTINCTION.
Lynx, wolverine, fisher, swift fox and pine marten have been driven to the brink of extinction by traps. Beaver, fisher, pine marten and swift fox have been reintroduced several times at taxpayers’ expense; not all reintroductions are successful.  Yet commercial and recreational trapping continues.

•  Trapping Increases Drought and Forest Fire DESTRUCTION
Unlimited trapping of beaver has drained our wetlands, run creeks dray, lowered water tables and dried up habitat for livestock and wildlife.  Allowed to survive, beavers will restore millions acre-feet of water along the 60,000 miles of creeks for towns, ranches, farms fish and wildlife.  This can happen at No Cost to taxpayers just by ending trapping on public lands.

•  Trapping is INHUMANE
“It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the suffering thus endured from fear, from acute pain, maddened by thirst, and by vain attempts to escape.” -Charles Darwin, “Trapping Agony,” 1863.

Animals can suffer in traps for days, enduring panic, hunger, exposure to extreme temperatures.  Trapped animals dislocate joints, one in four chews off his foot in pain and panic and twist whole limbs off to escape—so common trappers call this a “wring-off.”

Trappers strangle, club and stomp to death animals in traps so as not to damage the fur.

“We trappers do cause pain and suffering and we apologize to no one!” –Dennis “Foothold” Schutz, Montana trapper, 2009.

•  TAXPAYERS Spend Millions for Habitat and then let trappers take out the animals with unlimited traps.  This is a double standard.  No one else may endanger public safety, health and welfare on public lands as well as commercialize wildlife and eradicate species.  It’s time to end recreational and commercial trapping.

•  TRAPPERS are Lucky to Break Even, They Say
The days of Jim Bridger are long gone.  Trappers today use all-terrain vehicles and buy trucks and trailers to transport them.  In a good year for pelt prices this sport may cover the cost of gas.  But the cost to wildlife, to habitat and to society is tremendous.

“The leg-hold trap … is probably the most cruel device ever invented by man and is a direct cause of inexcusable destruction and waste of our wildlife,” wrote Dick Randall, a former federal trapper, in a statement to Congress in 1975.

“Even though I was an experienced, professional trapper, my trap victims often included non-target species such as bald and golden eagles, a variety of hawks and other birds, rabbits, sage grouse, pet dogs, deer and antelope, badger, porcupine, sheep and calves.”

“My trapping records show that for each target animal I trapped, about two unwanted individuals were caught,” Randall wrote. “Because injuries, these non-target species usually had to be destroyed.”

•  I-177 RESPECTS All Users of Public Lands
Important exceptions for health and safety, for protection of livestock and property, and for scientific and wildlife management, such as reintroductions, are included in I-177.

“ I-177 allows the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to use certain traps on public land when necessary if nonlethal methods have been tried and found ineffective. I-177 allows trapping by public employees and their agents to protect public health and safety, protect livestock and property, or conduct specified scientific and wildlife management activities. I-177, if passed by the electorate, will become effective immediately.”  –From the Attorney General’s summary of the purpose of I-177.

250px-logo_of_billings_gazetteThe Billing Gazette posted a final endorsement for I-77 today!

“On Initiative 177, we suggest that voters approve this ban on sport and commercial trapping on public lands. Initiative 177 will still allow trapping on all private land, and authorizes trapping on public lands to protect public health and safety and livestock. Present law lets trappers set unlimited numbers of traps and snares on public lands, resulting every year in death and injury to many “nontarget” animals, including pets. Veterinarians and wildlife biologists are among supporters of I-177.”

Please Go VOTE!

I-177 is truly a grassroots, common sense, widely-supported, Montana-driven initiative…but we are up against Well Funded, Out-of-State Opponents.

We need EVERY possible vote we can get.

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