Montana Fur Bearer Conservation Alliance November 2010 Report

Director — Kenneth Cordoza Jr., 150 Lost Coon Tr., Whitefish, MT 59937

Director — Don Bothwell, 110 Cardiff Ave., Kalispell, MT 59901

Director — Rick Hawk, P.O. Box 381, Kalispell, MT 59903

Director — Robert Howard, P.O. Box 164, Martin City, MT 59926

Director — Larry Keyes, 235 Martin Camp Rd., Whitefish, MT 59937, P.O. Box 3481, Kalispell, MT
e-mail address:

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• Sustaining Membership $20 – No Magazine
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• Foundation Membership — $200


Hello from Kalispell,

Not much news to report this time. Prep for hunting and trapping seasons is starting so think about giving a trap to a kid and showing him/her how to use it. Some one probably did that for you and look what happened. Don was kind enough to bail me out this time with the following letter, so here you go.

— Rick Hawk


Guys and Gals,

I just thought I’d add an update from my perspective along with Rick’s comments. First of all I’d like to thank Rick for taking over the update letters. My work often keeps me so engaged that getting updates out slips my mind.

The big news so far this year is that I-160 didn’t make the ballot. That’s good, for now. The animal rights activists have openly acknowledged that they are going to try again next year. That means that this fight is far from over and we can’t rest. My position has been that now is the time to counterattack. We MUST actively work on outreach and education. We must educate as many people as possible to the benefits of fur harvest and to the truth about animal rights extremism. That means that we can’t settle for talking to each other about how responsible we are. We, as fur harvesters, have to reach out to other sportsmen and women and to the general public. We may have to go outside of our comfort zones.

Here’s what I propose each of us should do to the best of our abilities:

1. Get to know other sportsmen/women that are non-trappers and start the trapping dialog. Use the FWP fact sheet about trapping to provide accurate information.

2. Share your experience. Take someone “new” on the line with you. I think that to be really effective this should be over a couple days. The first day let them watch you making some sets. Then on the next day hopefully they can see those sets connect with fur. This experience would be good for anyone young or old.

3. ALWAYS be polite, professional, and as presentable as possible when you put yourself in a position to represent trappers. Short tempers, belligerent attitudes, foul language, and looking or smelling like something the cat drug in is NOT a way to influence people in a positive manner.

I know that many of us feel like FWP let us down on the I-160 battle and didn’t publicly set right all of the lies that the animal rights movement spread. Don’t expect that to change the next time around. I’ve been informed that FWP is prohibited from commenting on a political issue that is pending a ballot, by law. Therefore, we need to mine them for information NOW while there is no initiative pending so that we’ve got the facts ready for the next fight.

I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable summer and are now ready or almost ready for the season to begin. During a trip to visit my family back in Wisconsin I was able to attend the NTA National Convention in Marshfield. “Wow”, doesn’t do it justice. There were more vendors than I’ve ever seen in one place before, I think it was 5 buildings full, and 3 rows of tailgaters that were about 100 yards long. It was really tough keeping my wallet closed.

Our own John Graham was there as a vendor and a demonstrator. The comments I heard in the stands during John’s demo proved once again that he is widely respected and appreciated. More recently I was asked to help an older couple, that lives just out of town, with a coyote “problem”. They lost 3 pets, 2 cats and their Jack Russell Terrier, within a week to coyotes. It turns out that their neighbors have also been losing pets regularly. My son and I set their place and managed to take out one of the pet killers, a young female. Since then the coyotes seem to be avoiding the area, which is just fine for those folks.

An issue that came to light through this experience is the fact that Montana has no “pet loss” reporting system in place. If a person is threatened or livestock is killed the incident is recorded by FWP. If a pet is killed there is currently no one to tell. The folks we were helping called the county Animal Control and were told they only deal with problem domestic animals not wildlife. The only reason I got involved was because they ran into a Game Warden and gave him “an ear full”. He then called me and asked me to help them out. I’m currently trying to convince FWP to set up a reporting system so that people have someone to call if they lose a pet to predation. It seems to me that the emotional loss of a pet is worth recording AND it will also provide a data base for FWP and the public to know about the proximity of predators and the possible dangers.

There are other projects currently in the works to help our cause. Trust me on that. I won’t go into detail about them because I know our enemies read this publication. I don’t want to give them a heads up as to what’s coming their way. I will say to them. It’s our turn now and we will not be beaten down. We will not quit!

Good luck on the line and stay safe.

— Don Bothwell

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