I-177 Driven by Anti-Hunting Groups

Today’s anti-trapping groups use emotion only

By Mike Shepard

November 8 is a very crucial voting date. Not only do we choose a new president, governor and local government folks, but we also have a very emotional vote regarding trapping on our state lands. Personally, I have not trapped since my early youth in the late ‘50s, when I was an accomplished muskrat trapper. I did make some money, but not much, and made the landowner happy.

Today’s anti-trapping groups use emotion only in their screaming about the inhumaneness as it relates to the trapped animals and their loose roaming dogs that get only infrequently caught. Most of these claims are hard to document, but if you have ever seen an outbreak of distemper, you would allow that trapping is an effective tool.

In my opinion, this I-177 on the ballot is being driven by the anti-hunting and trapping groups regarding wolves. They do not want them hunted, trapped or culled when needed, and would push for their total domination at the expense of all of our game animals. Even now Eureka is having a huge outbreak in skunk numbers, both hard on dogs, cats and kids, and not to mention over-population, which may lead to various diseases.

Way too many of our kids do not have their pets even inoculated for basic diseases, and we have seen all sorts of sick dogs and cats. Imagine what an unbridled outbreak of distemper would look like. As long as the Trappers’ Association traps ethically and legally, based on our professionals at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks being involved for limits on furbearers, I am satisfied, and will vote against it. Professional input outweighs emotions in my book. I realize writing this letter opens all the haters of those of us who are consumptive users of the outdoors to attack me, but we are all entitled to our views. Maybe it is time for our elected officials to pass that trapper education bill, and join the hunter and bowhunter group in teaching the how-tos, ethics and responsibilities. Your vote will tell the tale.

Mike Shepard
Columbia Falls

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