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Dangerous Ballot Initiative, I-160, Threatens Wildlife Management and Montana’s Hunting Future!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Know what you are asked to sign and educate your fellow Montanans! 

I-160 proposes to eliminate trapping on public land in Montana, which would devastate the scientific wildlife management strategies implemented by State wildlife biologists and detrimentally impact hunting.  Without trapping used to control predator populations, they will take an unacceptably high toll on the game species we hunt, such as waterfowl, upland birds, deer, and antelope.  Make no mistake, the radical animal "rights" activists who want to ban trapping today will seek to ban hunting tomorrow.  All sportsmen must stand in opposition to this extremist agenda.

Initiatives pertaining to hunting and trapping laws, by their very nature, politicize the state’s wildlife management policies.  This is contrary to the North American Model of Wildlife Management that has made Montana’s wildlife populations and rich ecosystems the envy of the world.  Laws related to hunting and wildlife management strategies should be firmly rooted in science, not driven by a wealthy few who can produce the most emotionally-appealing 30-second television commercial during an initiative campaign.  For this reason, NRA has always opposed “ballot box” wildlife management.

Petition circulators are currently out aggressively pursuing signatures to qualify for the ballot.  They mention what might sound politically popular, but do not discuss the potential costs associated with a trapping ban and its important place in wildlife management.  Getting the full story is a part of the deliberative processes of our representative form of government.  This is why the state legislature and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks hold public hearings when determining laws and regulations.  No similar forum is allowed with regard to initiatives and this is one of the primary things that make them so dangerous.

It is up to NRA members to inform your friends, families, co-workers and fellow hunters about the folly of signing the I-160 ballot initiative!  Your voice and efforts today will make a tremendous difference.  Make no mistake, the anti-hunting radicals are watching.  If I-160 succeeds, they will learn that the ballot process is the accepted method when it comes to circumventing the standard policy-making system and public processes that have stymied them through the years.  They will instead resort to using deceptive 30-second sound bites to advance their radical agenda.

I-160 proponents need to be put on notice that Montana is not Massachusetts.  The animal “rights” zealots there successfully banned trapping in 1996 through a similar ballot initiative.  The result has been tragic with millions of dollars of damage to property and infrastructure done by exploding beaver populations.  Hunters are being stripped of traditional hunting opportunities by overpopulated predator species.  Without trapping as a tool, state wildlife biologists cannot return a balance to the state’s ecosystem. 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.