President's Message 
September/October 2016
American Trapper Magazine

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NTA Reports & Documents

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The Montana Trap-Free Public Lands Initiative, I-177, has qualified for the November 8, 2016, ballot.

I-177 would prohibit the use of traps and snares for animals on any public lands within Montana and establishes misdemeanor criminal penalties for violations of the trapping prohibitions. I-177 if passed by the electorate, will become effective immediately.

A coalition of several organizations and interest groups has been organized to lead this battle.

This is a very straight forward issue. We must get our message out to educate the voters. Failing this we will lose trapping on public lands in Montana. To accomplish this will require considerable funds to purchase media time in the major markets. It will require a large grass roots effort to raise the necessary funds. I would ask anyone, everyone, reading this to send a donation to the Montana Trappers Association, P.O. Box 133, Gildford, MT 59525.

Please don’t put this off. We have a very tight window to raise the funds, purchase the media slots and get our message out. Arizona, Colorado. Cali-fornia, Washington .... When will this pattern end? Let’s stop it in Montana! Here is a chance for every trapper in every state to stand up and say enough!
An update on the C.I.T.E.S. case filed against USFWS seeking to stop the export of bobcat, otter, wolf, and all other Appendix II species until NEPA environmental reviews are conducted.

NTA legal counsel has finalized the necessary briefs and motions and we plan to file with the court this week. Intervention is far more consuming than a simple letter to the court. This particular motion required over 150 pages of supporting information.

We have received calls from legal counsel representing various state DNRs. These attorneys agree that this suit represents a serious threat to the states and is far more reaching than just the few furbearer species listed in the complaint. We are hopeful that a group of state DNRs will intervene alongside us.

I’ve been asked if other national groups are joining with the NTA to fight this suit. I can’t speak to what other groups intentions are. The sole reason NTA intervenes in these cases is to ensure that trappers interest and concerns are properly represented and protected.

The USFWS will argue their interest and perspective. Other large national
groups may intervene and protect their interest. I will say flat out, and I make no apology for it, I don’t trust ANY other organization or alliance to protect trapping interest. They all have good intention, but they also have the interest of a diverse membership containing many user groups to consider – groups with far more people, money and influence than trappers. Are you willing for trappers to be used as a sacrament to protect the larger special interest? I’m certainly not.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns feel free to call me at 605-
830-1009. On a positive note, I attended the Fur Takers convention in Lawrence, Kansas, July 6-9. I participated in both the board meeting and
general membership meeting. It was nice to see some old friends and make some new ones. As this report is being written the national convention in Kalamazoo is just two weeks away. The Michigan trappers always do a great job and I am looking forward to an excellent show.