Montana Fish Wildlife and Park's proposed Wolf Stamp hearing on Aug. 14 was well attended. No matter the stamp name, all wildlife will benefit from education, habitat acquisition, increased game wardens and nonlethal measures to address conflicts with livestock and wildlife.
As FWP thinks outside the box for funding pitfalls, the cost of administering Montana's trapping program exceeds the revenue generated. Unlike guns, archery and fishing equipment, there is no excise tax on traps. While FWP proposes increasing the costs of hunting and fishing licenses, a $29 trapping license isn't even required of residents to trap, only to trap certain species.
In Montana, hunting and fishing annually generate $311 million and $226 million, respectively. Less than .06 percent of all Montanans buy a trapping license. However, based predominantly on one-third of those trappers voluntary reporting, FWP estimates an average minimum 50,000 wildlife are trapped and killed annually in Montana, personally profiting the trapper by commercializing upon our publicly owned wildlife.
Trapping is costly to our wildlife, FWP, tourism and the public's safety. In comparison, the non-consumptive users are an untapped credible resource. Wildlife viewing alone generates $401 million annually in Montana. Our great outdoors and incredible wildlife are a major draw to the state. Awarding everyone a chance to purchase $20 wolf stamps, administering funds as intended and providing funding transparency will go a long way to benefit all.
KC York, chairman
Trap Free Montana Public Lands