We are a Montana citizen driven, volunteer, grassroots ballot initiative committee that was formed at the end of 2013. We represent a vast array of people who value ethical and responsible treatment of wildlife and safe use of our treasured, yet, minimal public lands in Montana. Our initiative is based on past experiences, what other states attempted and achieved, review of concerns, objections, modifications and credible knowledgeable and legal advice. Our goal is to empower the public through the democratic process giving all Montanans a vote in the significant and increasing problematic matter of trapping on our Montana public lands.
Time was our most limiting factor in our 2014 attempt in obtaining the required 24,175 signatures from a minimum of 34 legislative house districts in Montana. Our initiative picked up where Footloose Montana left off leaving us in the end only 4 months instead of 12 to qualify for the Nov. ballot. Although we were a far cry from what we needed, the enthusiastic responses we received and the help that generated was impressive. Of all the 2014 ballot initiatives, we obtained the highest number of verifiable registered Montana voters signatures. The number one reason our signatures did not wind up counting was the signer was not registered to vote. However, in our short amount of time, predominantly volunteers and most with other full-time jobs, on a shoe string budget, from predominately Montanan's financial donations, we qualified all of Ravalli county, 1 district in Missoula, 1 in Lewis and Clarke, 1 in Lake county and came close in several more.
Our Montana outdoor lifestyle and presence of public lands is a major draw for residents, small businesses and the visitors who come primarily to view wildlife. Our public lands comprise roughly only 1/3 of Montana. Contrarily, and unknown to many, lies the hidden indiscriminate destruction from legal year round trapping resulting in a reported average minimum of 45,000 wild animals are trapped and killed and an average of 50 dogs are trapped annually in Montana.
1. Trapping takes an enormous toll on riparian ecology by especially targeting beaver. This means less water and less riparian habitat for all species (humans, songbirds, ungulates, fish, etc.)
Q: Is this initiative a total ban of trapping?
A: This initiative prohibits recreational trapping only on one-third of the state, Montana’s public lands, while trapping on private land, two-thirds of the state, can continue. Also this initiative allows trapping on public lands for science, health and safety, and falconry.
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