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This November we have the opportunity to vote on some very important issues that will impact Montana and its residents. One issue concerns the safety and exploitation of our public lands.

I am writing to you today in support of Trap Free Public Lands ballot initiative I-177. Lately I have seen pro-trapper groups use scare tactics to make people believe that this initiative will go after hunting next. This is absolutely not true and is a diversionary tactic used to misdirect voters to the truth. The truth is as follows:

A license costs $29 and a trapper can set up to 50,000 unmarked traps on our public lands. When a trap is set it does not discriminate between species, age or sex. These traps do not involve a quick death and are an unmarked, loaded weapon for our companion animals and struggling species, such as the wolverine, pine martin and otter. The guidelines for trapping in Montana suggest checking these traps every couple of days, but is by no means mandatory. Using a trapper’s term, some animals “twist off” to escape — which means they either chew their leg off or twist until it is free of the trap. Trappers who find animals alive in their traps often times stomp on them repeatedly until they are dead so that the pelt is not damaged by gunshot or knife.

This is not Montana's legacy. Keep Montana safe and diverse for all to enjoy

Vote yes on I-177.

Jeff Blatnick

Billings

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