A Victory for Montana Trappers!

Great news for trappers in Montana and across the country!

An anti-trapping group in Montana has failed to get enough signatures to put an anti-trapping initiative up for a vote in the November election. The initiative proposed a ban on all trapping on public land. According to a Billings Gazette story, the intiative was “about 4,000 signatures short and
missed qualifying in two House districts.”

Montanans for Effective Wildlife Management along with the Montana Trappers Association, the National Trappers Association, Fur Takers of America, the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance and other groups fought against the initiative, which was proposed by a group called Footloose Montana.

Jim Buell, the recording secretary of the Montana Trappers Association, sent out an e-mail following the news breaking:

To All;

I 160, the anti trapping ballot initiative, failed to qualify for the November 2010 ballot.

The
MEWM Steering Committee, Pac/West, the hundreds of organizations,
businesses & individuals who contributed monetarily, as well as the
many individuals who have actively dispelled the inaccurate statements
of the antis through press releases, letters to the editor and personal
appearances; you deserve thanks and praise. It was through your
donations and efforts that a sufficient number of signatures to qualify
I 160 were not obtained.

How close was it? Speaking with a
local clerk at the county courthouse, there were 34,586 signatures
turned in statewide at the county level, but only 20,318 were accepted
and sent to the Secretary of State. The AR’s failed in their voluntary
efforts and began paying signature gatherers; according to their
financial data filed to date, signature gatherers were paid a little
over $12,000.00 in this campaign. These same documents reveal that Anja
Heister (Footloose Exec Dir) was paid $10,768.04 for her efforts and a
cell phone bill; also $915.00 was paid to Footloose Montana by the
MTFPL Committee for rental of Footloose’s RV. Perhaps we also owe Anja
& Footloose a thank you for siphoning off the $11,683.19; rather
than hiring additional signature gatherers.

I will be obtaining
information as to which legislative districts qualified the initiative
and how many signatures were gathered in each legislative district; we
will then know where to direct our efforts in the future.

The
battle is not over, as Connie Poten (Footloose Montana) said, “If we
didn’t make it, it’s just practice because we’ll be doing it again”.
Any funds left over from the campaign, as well as additional monies
will be put into efforts to seek a legislative solution to end or slow
down the management of Montana’s wildlife through the ballot initiative
process. A skirmish has been won, now we move to the legislative
battlefield.

Once again – Thank You and forward to those whom you feel would be interested.

Take Care

Jim Buell
Montana Trappers Association

As Jim said in his e-mail, this is not over. In fact, the group’s executive director said as much in the Billings Gazette story:

“With our limited budget, I think it’s a huge success, and we’ll
be back in 2012,” said Anja Heister, executive director of Footloose
Montana. “We are Montana grassroots without any out-of-state
funding.”

They came close this time so it’s important that we’re ready to fight them off again when they regroup. Please make sure to continue supporting your state trapping association, the NTA, the FTA and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.

To keep up with the news from your state association and on the national level, make sure to subscribe to Trapper & Predator Caller. Save 52% off the cover price by subscribing today.

 

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