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LETTER: Trapping on Public Lands Causes Regulation and Costs Jobs

By Beacon Staff

Four out of 10 fur-bearing species currently being trapped recreationally on public land in Montana are on the endangered, threatened, or species of concern lists. Some can’t be trapped intentionally but have no penalty if caught by mistake. The four are fisher, wolverine, Lynx and swift fox.

These animals were almost completely trapped out by the year 1841 when the famous trapper Russell Osborne wrote: “The trappers often remarked to each other as they rode over these lonely plains that it was time for the white man to leave the mountains as beaver and game had nearly disappeared.”

With the founding of our Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks in 1901, fur-bearer populations have been regulated and have increased. Fisher, swift fox and other species have been re-introduced. Their populations, however, are a fraction of what was normal.

Government agencies are required to study, regulate, and stop activities detrimental to listed species. This affects my business, mining, which creates jobs and high tax revenues.

Trapping on public lands is a primary cause of low fur-bearer populations. It is a legacy industry with slight economic value. We should end it.

The proposed Initiative I-160, by Montanans For Trap Free Public Lands responsibly limits trapping on public land to wildlife management, property protection and disease control.

Please help avoid government regulation. Sign the initiative and help circulate petitions.

Tom Gignoux, Geologist
Missoula

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