Initiative to Ban Animal Trapping on Public Lands Appears Heading for Failure
Although the Ballot Initiative I-177 to end trapping on public land appears not to pass, public awareness of the devastating effects of indiscriminate trapping have reached every corner of the state, and nationwide.
We applaud Montanans for Trap-Free Public Lands for the courage of their convictions and the resulting strong campaign indicating the growing fundamental shift in social and political attitudes not only toward wildlife, but also toward the role of wildlife managers. The shift is now!
MISSOULA — A ballot initiative that would have banned the trapping of animals on public lands in Montana appeared headed for failure in early returns Tuesday night.
A total of 133,169 “no votes” on Initiative I-177 had been counted as of 10 p.m., compared to 89,962 yes votes. However, those numbers were from only 33 percent of registered voters in the state.
A group called Montanans for Trap-Free Public Lands gathered enough signatures to get I-177 on the ballot this year. It was opposed by the Montana Trapping Association, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Roughly a dozen trapping organizations from all over the U.S. contributed large sums of money to oppose the measure. For example, an organization called Big Game Forever in Utah contributed $50,000 for media time for an anti-I-177 campaign.
Photo: Tommy Martino for the Independent Record