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I’m deeply saddened to report the trapping community has lost one our very best. Oregon trapper and longtime NTA Director Bob Gilman lost his battle to pancreatic cancer. Bob was a tireless advocate for trapping and sound wildlife management. He was a huge contributor to protecting trapping in Oregon. I’m frankly not sure where trapping would be in Oregon today if not for Bob’s tremendous influence and dedication. I’m very proud to say I knew him and he will be sorely missed. My sincerest sympathies to Bob’s family and friends.
The animal-welfare group Arizonans for Wildlife has filed the paperwork to collect signatures for a ballot initiative that would outlaw the hunting or trapping of wild cats. The group says it wants to stop trophy hunting, in which cats are killed only for their head or fur. Kellye Pinkleton, campaign director for Arizonans for Wildlife, said hunters are cruelly killing wild cats for sport, not for their meat. She said the initiative also would end the use of steel-jawed traps, dog packs, and other hunting methods.
To get the issue on the November 2018 ballot, the group must collect at least 150,642 valid signatures by July 5.
We have received notice that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied our Appeal of the Montana lynx settlement. At this point it appears we have reached an end to possible remedies through the courts. There are regulatory changes that could be pursued within the Montana Fish and Game.
As I have reported previously, The Center for Biological Diversity has also filed suit in Montana over the CITES tagging issue. Their claims are essentially the same as the case filed by Wildearth Guardians, which is the case that both Montana Trappers Association and NTA have already intervened. The effort in these cases is to stop the CIES tagging of wolf, otter, bobcat, and lynx, in addition to brown bear, so the animal or parts thereof, including fur, cannot be exported. All parties and the court have agreed to consolidate the two cases. This will be most efficient. Consolidation will simply cause the cases to track together and be resolved together.
We also have a new partner in the CITES lawsuit in Montana. Fur Information Council of American (FICA) is now a full intervenor and is working closely with the NTA legal counsel.
As this magazine goes to the press, licensed wolf hunting has resumed in Wyoming for the first time since 2013. The season opens October 1 and runs through December 31 in 12 trophy game hunt areas in the northwest part of the state. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has set a limit of 44 wolves for the hunt.
I hope each of you read my report in the previous issue of this magazine. If not, you should make it a point to do so. It’s impossible to overstate the critical importance of the ISO issue to trapping and the fur market in this country. As stated previously: “Make no mistake. The quickest way to stop fur trapping as we know it is to block our furs from international trade. The two ISO trap testing standards enable us to protect our all-important free trade agreements, and fur trapping in America as we know it.”
Regardless if it’s the various ESA lawsuits, the ISO, or anti-trapping legislation at the state level, it’s only through your support that the NTA can be engaged in these critical issues.
Trapping season is here. I hope each of you will spend some time on the trapline this fall. While fur prices are depressed on most species, time spent in the woods has rewards far beyond the size of the fur check. I hope you all have a safe and rewarding season.