Petition: NO TRAPPING IN SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The U.S. Forest Service is revising its plan for the Santa Fe National Forest. The Mountain Lion Foundation and our partners in New Mexico want to take this opportunity to request that the Forest Service prohibit trapping in the Caja del Rio and other areas of Santa Fe National Forest that are used by recreationalists.

http://mountainlion.org/ActionAlerts/080516FStraps/080516FStraps.asp?utm_source=NM+Letter+to+USFS+Individual+Invite&utm_campaign=Eastern+Cougar+Letter+Invite+07%2F26%2F2016&utm_medium=email

No matter where you live, America’s lion needs your voice.

Anyone, anywhere in the world can sign.

Montana Furbearer Comments tallied

http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/?u=f22932e4382726211444c9d0c&id=b27e45702d&e=34cb4196ed

…In response, FWP moves to establish 4 trapping units with a quota of five and a female subquota of one in the Bitterroot Unit, one in the Cabinet, and zero in the Yaak and Continental Divide Units.

Bobcat quota increasing 180 to 200 for Region 2 (Western Montana) was nearly equally supported and opposed. Although fur prices have plummeted, bobcat remains one of the most lucrative species to trap and kill. We are NOT being overrun with bobcat. The whitetail deer population is not taking a hit from predation on fawns by bobcats. This is about selfish greed!

This is about whether Commissioners will address the fact Regions 1, 2, 3 alone killed 187 OVER quota for bobcat from a min 8330 killed in Montana in just the last 5 years!

FWP responded to all of our attacks on this mockery of “quotas” with, “It was clear that many do not understand that quotas are set as a general and conservative target rather than a precise number that will result in population decline if exceeded. It was also clear that many do not understand that closing the season and hitting the target quota exactly is virtually impossible. Trapping closures happen on a 48-hour notice and FWP tries to be conservative and often initiates closures before the actual quota number is reached.”

FWP annually attends Montana Trappers Association meeting in the spring. “If you all based wildlife management off of science instead of whining emotion and came to an actual meeting you would know that a bobcat quota is set with an expected overage”. Jason Maxwell, Montana Trappers Association vice president

Trappers take full advantage of this flawed and failed system designed to favor them not the wildlife by knowing they can trap over quota and keep the fur just as long as the liberal closing has not occurred.
What would happen if a hunter had the same mindset?

“Additional comments not specific to the proposals included several suggestions to manage beaver with quotas, and several suggestions that decisions be based on data instead of emotion”.  Montana FWP

The proposals for Grizzly bear and for changing quotas for wolves outside of Yellowstone will also be decided at the hearing. Recent changes re these wolf quotas………. your voice is needed!  bit.ly/29CBP9g

FWP made no mention of all our comments insisting on 24 hour trap checks. This is not going away, friends!

Despite all the comments opposing increasing quotas, “FWP moves to approve” the proposals. Now it will be up to the FWP Commissioners on Wed, July 13th! 

For meeting agenda:
http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/meetings/agenda.html?meetingId=38170999

To attend: Montana WILD – 2668 Broadwater Avenue – Helena, MT or one of the district FWP offices.
To listen in to the audio recording on Wed go to: http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/audio.html

Thank you to all that submitted comments, spoke up, and those that WILL look these commissioners in the eyes in Helena during their voting on these proposals and their future crucial decisions effecting our wildlife! Lets hope they make us proud!

We would love to hear if you are planning to attend!

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

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

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE….June 30, 2016

CONTACT

TIM PROVOW,tprovow@gmail.com;406-360-6332

CONNIE POTEN,406-274-4791,rattlefarm@gmail.com

 The Montana Trap-Free Public Lands Initiative, I-177, has qualified for the November 8, 2016 ballot.  Montana Trap-Free Public Lands is a ballot initiative committee based in Missoula and supported by volunteer coordinators statewide. Volunteer and hired signature gatherers gathered more than 24,175 qualified signatures required for the ballot.

Members of Footloose Montana, a non-profit corporation supporting trap-free public lands, formed the ballot initiative committee.

Montana Trap-Free Public Lands missed qualifying a similar initiative in 2010 by about 1,500 signatures.   I-177 will end commercial and recreational trapping on public lands.  People, pets and wildlife will be free of indiscriminate, hidden and baited traps.

Trapping to protect livestock and property, for health and safety will continue if non-lethal methods have tried and failed.   Trapping for wildlife management such as reintroduction and medical needs are allowed in I-177.

The Attorney General’s summary of I-177:

I-177 generally prohibits 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 allows the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to use certain traps on public land when necessary if nonlethal methods have been tried and found ineffective. I-177 allows trapping by public employees and their agents to protect public health and safety, protect livestock and property, or conduct specified scientific and wildlife management activities. I-177, if passed by the electorate, will become effective immediately.

Animal rights activists file suit against State Game Commission over cougar traps

http://www.taosnews.com/news/article_23810c2e-3e0f-11e6-b957-2fef0a8f45d0.html

  • By Phaedra Haywood, The Santa Fe New Mexican
  • Updated Jun 29, 2016

The lawsuit says “deadly leg-hold traps” set for cougars could snare wolves and jaguars, both protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, as well as female cougars with kittens, which are protected under state law.

There are an estimated 97 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico, officials have said, despite a federal program to recover the species. Jaguars — the largest cat species native to the Western Hemisphere — are far more rare in the U.S., after being driven to the brink of extinction by “human-caused factors like poaching and trapping,” the lawsuit says. It also names the state Game and Fish Department as a defendant.

Humane Society attorney Nicholas Arrivo, in a phone interview Tuesday, said the trapping program presents “a pretty unjustifiable risk to nontarget animals.”

Mexican wolves, jaguars and cougars share overlapping territory in New Mexico, Arrivo said. “Traps that are set for cougars are not intelligent. They are indiscriminate machines that will snap shut on any animal unfortunate enough to cross its path,” he said. He likened traps to land mines, saying both are “brutal, unnecessary and indiscriminate as to what they take.”

The State Game Commission could not be reached for comment on the case.

Lance Cherry, a spokesman for the state Game and Fish Department, said in an emailed statement Tuesday that the suit “is only a distraction; the rule was crafted after nearly a yearlong process of public and scientific scrutiny, including consideration of potential impacts on endangered species. The Department will vigorously defend the rule, which is part of a world-class effort to manage New Mexico’s wildlife.”

The State Game Commission reviews the rules for hunting and trapping bears and cougars every four years. In 2015, the panel held five public meetings on the topic before approving changes in August that cleared the way for “sport harvest” trapping of cougars on private and state trust lands between Nov. 1 and March 31 without a special permit. The new rule also doubled the number of cougars a hunter or trapper can take in some areas, increasing the kill limit in those lands to four from two.

Representatives of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides, the New Mexico Trappers Association and the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association spoke in favor of the proposed changes at a hearing in August.

But numerous other residents spoke in opposition, including Animal Protection of New Mexico’s wildlife campaign manager, Phil Carter. He cited a 2015 poll of 1,000 New Mexico voters, saying that “across the board” those surveyed opposed the changes — and trapping in general — by a 3-to-1 margin.

“That is consistent across every congressional district in the state and every political party,” Carter said at the hearing.

Retired elementary school teacher Jean Ossorio and her husband, Peter Ossorio of Las Cruces, have signed on to the suit as plaintiffs. They’ve been Mexican wolf advocates for more than 20 years and have volunteered for many federal wolf recovery efforts, along with outreach and education activities.

According to the complaint, Jean Ossorio has attended “virtually every state and federal public meeting pertaining to Mexico wolf recovery” since 1998.

The couple could not be reached for comment.

Carter, at the August hearing, accused the State Game Commission of using outdated data to draw its conclusions about cougar populations.

“This is not about sportsmanship,” he said. “This is about killing.”

Trapping, the barbaric “sport”

Wolf Advocates Warn U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of Coming Lawsuit
When the Montana FWPs is offering five tags to every wolf hunter and Idaho Fish and Game is putting sharpshooters in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and funding aerial gunning in the Lolo Zone, we feel renewing protection is needed
**Extra Links Included** ‪#‎SaveWolves‬
Animals (tags: endangered, Wolves, Idaho, Trappers, Bantraps, SaveWolves, wildlife, slaughter, killing, law, cruelty, animals, AnimalWelfare, abuse, habitat, environment, protection, humans, investigation, conservation, crime, death, sadness, society, suffering, wildanimals )
http://www.care2.com/news/member/123562948/3964602

Wolf advocates warn U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of coming lawsuit

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
Wolves from the Welcome Creek pack prowl the Sapphire Mountains south of Missoula in this Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks photo from 2011. Research over the past 10 years shows that non-lethal techniques and aggressive early response to livestock killings can effectively manage wolves.

A coalition of wolf advocates has warned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that they plan to sue if the agency doesn’t extend its supervision of wolf populations in Montana and Idaho another five years.

“When the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is offering five tags to every wolf hunter and Idaho Fish and Game is putting sharpshooters in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and funding aerial gunning in the Lolo Zone, we feel renewing another five years of federal monitoring is warranted,” said Matthew Koehler of Missoula-based Wild West Institute, one of five groups putting FWS on notice. “Given the situation on the ground and the ways state policy is changing, we think the prudent thing to do is keep monitoring wolf populations so they’re not hunted and trapped back to the brink of extinction.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Friends of the Clearwater and Cascadia Wildlands joined Wild West Institute in the notice. By law, groups objecting to a federal agency must give it 60 days advance warning to offer time to craft a solution before going to court.

Gray wolves were extirpated from the continental U.S. in early 20th century. The Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves in remote areas of Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1994 and 1995. The wolves were protected under the federal Endangered Species Act until 2011, when Congress passed a provision removing their listed status in Idaho and Montana. However, FWS personnel were required to monitor wolf populations for five years after giving state wildlife agencies local control of the species.

Wolves remain a federally protected species in Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and the Great Lakes region. Congress is considering several provisions to change or remove those protections this year.

In early January, Idaho Department of Fish and Game workers improperly collared two wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness along the Montana border while carrying out a helicopter-assisted elk-collaring project. The agency reported the incident to the U.S. Forest Service, which suspended Idaho’s permission for further helicopter work in the wilderness pending a review of the state’s practices.

Idaho has also maintained a state-sponsored wolf-removal program in addition to a public wolf hunting season.

In Montana, resident hunters may buy up to five wolf licenses a season for $19 each. The state removed its annual quotas on wolf seasons in 2012.
https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/…/wolf-advocates-…/

56cf4cdeb817c.image
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Trapping, the barbaric “sport”
By George Wuerthner

Years ago I was backpacking in Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness with my friend, Rod, and his Malamute, Jake. Like most dogs, Jake was happily running ahead of us investigating this and that. Suddenly Jake let out a sharp cry and began yipping from someplace up ahead in the brush. We rushed to him to find with his leg snared in a giant leg-hold bear trap set by a deer carcass. This trap was the size of a car tire. We desperately tried to free him from the trap, but even with the two of us trying to open the contraption, the springs were just too stiff and we couldn’t get Jake’s leg out. So Rod and I took turns carrying 100 pound Jake on our shoulders, along with the heavy trap plus our backpacks, to our car so we could rush him to a vet.

The vet had to get a special trap opener to compress the springs so we could open the jaws enough to remove Jake’s leg. Jake was lucky. Because the trap’s teeth were so large, Jake’s leg was caught wedged between the teeth instead of having it go through his leg. He fully recovered from the experience. But most pets and nearly all wildlife are not so lucky.

There was no sign indicating the presence of the trap, nor any other effort to warn people of the lurking danger. Had either one of us stepped into the track, we might have suffered serious damage. Unfortunately the trapping of wild animals is a legal activity in all of the United States. In fact, I am not aware of a single state “wildlife” agency that doesn’t promote trapping, instead of questioning its legitimacy. It’s amazing to me that in this day and age we still allow this barbaric activity to be justified in the name of “sport”. Leg-hold traps and snares are particularly treacherous devices. Animals caught in such traps suffer pain, exposure to weather, dehydration and often a long painful death. Snares are even more gruesome with animals slowly strangling to death as the wire noose tightens. How is it that cock and dogfights are now illegal and yet we permit state wildlife agencies to sanction an equally cruel activity?

The statistics are astounding. More than 4 million animals are trapped for “fun” each year, many enduring immense suffering in the process. Millions more are trapped as “nuisances” or die as “non-target” animals. For example more than 700 black bear are snagged each year in Oregon as “nuisance” animals by timber companies (because in the spring bears eat the inner cambium layer of trees).

Only a few states have banned the use of leg-hold traps for sport trapping and then usually only through citizen initiative process. Yet 90 countries around the world have banned these traps and the entire European Union has banned these contraptions. Most trapping targets “fur bearer” animals like lynx, musk rat, beaver, marten, fisher, river otter, weasel, mink, bobcat, red fox, coyote, and bears, and in some states like Idaho and Alaska, trappers also take wolves. Most of these animals are important predators in their own right, and help to promote healthier ecosystems in many, many ways from the way that wolves reduce the negative impact of large herbivores like elk to reduction of rodent populations by coyotes. Thus indiscriminate trapping disrupts natural ecological processes, often in ways we don’t appreciate.

And while most trappers might scoff at the idea, their “enjoyment” of trapping comes at the expense of the pleasure of other wildlife lovers who might rather see a red fox scampering across a field, a river otter swimming in a stream or hear a coyote howling in the night than see it’s skinned and fur used for frivolous purposes like clothing—we have other alternatives to fur.

The major arguments used by trappers to defend the legitimacy of their “sport” can largely be refuted. One argument is that trapping promotes family time, learning about nature and gets people outdoors. However, there are many other ways to spend time together as a family, learn about nature or to get outdoors that does not involve traumatizing animals.

Another argument is that if we don’t kill the animals, they will overpopulate and die of starvation and/or disease. If you believe this line of self-justification, trappers are really acting out of a sense of mission, responsibility and kindness by killing animals to save them from a greater misery. Beyond the obvious rationalization of such assertions, a problem with this logic that not all animals, or animals in all places are in jeopardy of overpopulation. And trapping doesn’t necessarily remove the animals that are most likely to die from these natural events.

A third justification often heard in trapping circles and from state wildlife agencies, is trapping helps to remove “problem” animals—beaver that clog up culverts or coyotes preying on livestock. There are numerous issues with this line of reasoning. The first is that trapping, as practiced by most “sport” trappers, is indiscriminate. They are not taking the specific animals that may be “problematic”. Most trapping is random, killing any animal unfortunate enough to wander into a trap.

Beyond that, because agencies like to promote trapping (some like Wildlife Services entire existence is dependent upon having “problem” animals to kill) there is little incentive to educate or even regulate the public so that conflicts are not created in the first place. In many cases, the “problem” is “problem humans”. So livestock producers who fail to adequately monitor their animals and utilize guard animals along with lambing/calving sheds, have more issues with coyotes. Honey producers who do not use electric fences around their beehives have issues with bears. And so on.

Not every instance can be alleviated by some creative action by humans, but in most case we don’t even try because neither the government wildlife agencies nor the trappers want solutions other than trapping and the broader excuse for trapping that they believe these so called “problems” justify. In those instances, where changing human behavior fails to reduce conflicts, we may have no choice but to rely upon the surgical removal of “specific” animals, not the wholesale killing of any animal that happens to have a fur coat. And such removal should be done in the most humane way possible.

http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/trapping-the-barbari…/
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Idaho must alter lynx trapping, court says

TUESDAY, JAN. 12, 2016, 1:10 P.M.

By Rich Landers

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2016/jan/12/idaho-must-alter-lynx-trapping-court-says/

Canada lynx. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Canada lynx. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

WILDLIFE — In a lawsuit filed by animal protection groups, a federal judge has ruled that Idaho’s regulations for trapping furbearers in North Idaho violate the Endangered Species Act by allowing the inadvertent capture of federally protected Canada lynx.

Here are details from the Associated Press:

The 26-page decision made public Monday in U.S. District Court requires Idaho to propose a plan within 90 days that protects lynx in the Panhandle and Clearwater regions.

“We hope Idaho will now recognize that these rare and beautiful animals need more protection than the state has been willing to grant them,” Andrea Santarsiere, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

The Center, the Western Watersheds Project, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians filed the lawsuit in June 2014 asking that lethal body-crushing traps and snares be made illegal. The groups also want to limit the size of foothold traps in lynx habitat and require daily checks of traps.

Named in the lawsuit are Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore, and members of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

Fish and Game spokesman Mike Keckler said Monday the agency is reviewing the decision and couldn’t comment.

The Idaho Trappers Association intervened on behalf of the state.

“I believe the judge made a mistake,” said the group’s president, Patrick Carney. He said if all the limits the conservations groups want on trapping are put in place, it would greatly limit trapping in the regions.

“If they implement all that, wolf trapping is over, and so is all of the other trapping,” he said.

Besides wolves, other animals legal to trap in Idaho include coyotes, bobcats, otters, beavers, foxes, marten and mink.

The conservation groups in the lawsuit said trapping in Idaho has increased from about 650 licenses issued in the 2001-2002 season to more than 2,300 in recent years. Officials say that at least four lynx have been trapped in Idaho since 2012. One was killed after a trapper mistook it for a bobcat.

Judge B. Lynn Winmill in his ruling found that trappers likely would capture additional lynx in the Panhandle and Clearwater regions through inadvertent trapping.

The conservation groups sought to limit trapping based on potential lynx encounters in other parts of the state as well. But Winmill rejected that argument, noting that the record didn’t support inadvertent trapping of lynx in those areas.

Canada lynx weigh about 20 pounds and have large paws that give them an advantage in both pursuing prey and eluding predators when traveling across snow. They feed primarily on snowshoe hares and are believed to number in the hundreds in the continental U.S. It’s unclear how many are in Idaho.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed lynx in the continental U.S. as threatened with extinction in 2000.

UPDATES IN THE WORLD OF FOOTLOOSE MONTANA!

 

2/29/2016 

http://www.footloosemontana.org/

https://www.gofundme.com/dyqky7ng

 

 

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Greetings friends of Footloose Montana! Spring is just around the corner, so it’s a perfect occasion to talk about the group that works everyday to protect your pets and public lands, Footloose Montana!

First off we’d like to say thank you to everyone who donated to us over the holiday season. You are true heroes to the people, pets and wildlife of Montana. We couldn’t continue to educate the public about the dangers of trapping without your generous support.

Second, we’re excited to announce that we’ve finally found the time to completely overhaul our website! Every page has been updated, and there is TONS of great information and resources on there… so check it out after you read the letter here!

We’ve been oh so hard at work already in 2016. With close to 10 workshops already this year, it’s safe to say that 2016 is going to be the biggest year ever for Footloose. We’ve been in Billings, Bozeman, Whitefish, Red Lodge, Livingston, and Missoula already this year, and we’re coming to Bigfork on March 8th and Helena March 10th! Make sure to email

info@footloosemontana.org if you’d like to set up a workshop in your area! We also have a Footloose Film and Dance night coming up at the Roxy Theater in May, so keep your eye on the website and Facebook for more information!

 

On a more somber note, we know that fur trapping has been going on in full force around Montana. Some species have been trapped over quota, and we’ve already seen over 10 dogs and 2 cats trapped

just since January 1st. There was also a close call with children finding foothold traps set near some apartments in Missoula. We must continue to educate the public about this environmentally atrocious and barbarically cruel practice. So let us know where we need to be. We’re looking for opportunities for Spring 2016. Is there an area near you that could use some help with beaver fencing? Do you know an area where traps are causing trouble for pets and recreating humans? Does your hometown need a trap-release workshop? Maybe you are hosting an event and you’d like to have Footloose there with a table…just let us know!

 

Thank you again so much for your continued support, we couldn’t do it without you. We are here to serve the good people, pets and wildlife of Montana, so please feel free to contact us anytime.

Keep reading for more news from around Montana!

-Best Regards, Chris and Footloose Montana

 

 

 

BALLOT INITIATIVE UPDATE

 

We still get questions about Initiative I-177, the ballot initiative written by Footloose members that would ban commercial and recreational fur-trapping on Montana’s public lands. They are actively gathering signatures and raising funds, but are their own entity. If you are looking for information, you must contact that separate committee. Thanks!

Email: montanatrapfree@gmail.com

Website: www.montanatrapfree.org

Gofundme Donations Page:https://www.gofundme.com/dyqky7ng

 

Service Spotlight: Crush!

Crush lost his leg in trap near Great Falls on Christmas Eve, and then had to undergo a high amputation. But the folks at Pet Paw-See in Great Falls took care of him for over two months, and he was just adopted yesterday by a member of the Footloose family! Welcome home, Crush!

U.S. House of Representatives Approves Bill Slashing Wildlife Protections

copyrighted wolf in water

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2016/sportsmens-act-02-26-2016.html

 ‘Sportsmen’s Heritage Act’ Threatens Wolves, Elephants, Polar Bears, Birds, People

WASHINGTON— In a partisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” that would end federal protection for gray wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes. The bill includes a grab bag of additional special-interest provisions that primarily benefit the livestock industry, National Rifle Association and those who peddle elephant ivory. More than 60 conservation organizations signed an open letter opposing the Sportsmen’s Act.

“There’s nothing sporting about wolf slaughter, elephant poaching or lead poisoning,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “In the Sportsmen’s Bill, House Republicans have once again ignored science and protected special interests instead of wildlife.”

One of the many bad provisions of the bill not only strips protection from wolves but forbids court challenges. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally stripped federal protections from gray wolves in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota in 2011 and in Wyoming in 2012. Federal judges overturned both decisions for failing to follow the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, failing to follow the best available science and for prematurely turning management over to state fish and game agencies that are openly hostile to wolves. A provision in today’s bill would preempt those court decisions, stop the current appeal process, and permanently end federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes.

A separate provision of the Sportsmen’s Act would stop a proposed regulation from the Fish and Wildlife Service designed to curtail the ivory trade inside the United States, which is the second-largest market in the world for ivory, after China. Elephant populations across Africa have plummeted due to the ongoing poaching epidemic, with forest elephants declining by 60 percent over the last decade. The illegal trade in elephant ivory funnels millions of dollars to the black market, fueling corruption and funding conflict in African nations.

“If this misguided legislation is enacted into law, elephants are likely to go extinct in our lifetime,” said Hartl. “Republicans are sacrificing one of the most magnificent animals ever to walk the Earth to protect the ability of a few rich collectors to keep their ivory trinkets.”

Similarly, the bill creates a dangerous loophole that allows trophy-hunted polar bears to be imported. Two-thirds of polar bears are expected to be wiped out by 2050 due to climate change, and the species is predicted to near extinction by the end of the century.

Another provision of the Sportsmen’s Bill would permanently exempt lead fishing tackle from any regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Lead is an extremely toxic substance that is dangerous to people and wildlife at almost all levels. Animals are poisoned when they eat lost fishing weights, mistaking them for food or grit; some die a painful, rapid death from lead poisoning, while others suffer for years from its slowly debilitating effects.

“There is no safe level of lead in the environment. This provision will result in more poisoned wildlife — hardly what any real sportsmen would want,” said Hartl. “We phased lead out of waterfowl ammunition, paint, gasoline and toys. It’s time for Congress to stop catering to industry and start looking out for the health of the American people and our wildlife.”

Since the Republicans took control of the House in 2011 there have been hundreds of legislative attacks on the environment, including more than 177 on endangered species and the Endangered Species Act. In 2015 more than 70 bills targeted endangered species. Republicans also introduced legislation designed to limit the ability of citizens to go to court in defense of species. Earlier this year the Center released a report documenting a 600 percent increase in these legislative attacks since the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United ruling allowing special interests to make virtually unlimited campaign contributions.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Commission of Evil

by Stephen Capra

The Commission of Evil
Stephen Capra

In a crowded room at the Santa Fe Community College last Thursday, we were witness to the latest failure of a commission designed to support and enhance wildlife in our state. The question before them was the continued use of Ted Turner’s ranch as a staging area for the release of the Mexican wolf.

This commission was clearly wary, after an earlier meeting in November on this subject; they found themselves shouted down by citizens, who were disgusted by the commission’s actions, and their determination to slaughter all wolves in our state. This time they took great strides to state that wolves were here to stay, that really the issue here was a technicality; one that their arcane system sadly could not support, but, hey, we can find a way forward at a later date.

Translation: we will defuse the situation now, and continue to obfuscate wolf recovery in every way possible. Our newest commissioner, Elizabeth Atkinson Ryan, an oil and gas attorney from Roswell and a member of the Safari Club ( a group that kills wildlife internationally for trophies,) made a long and grating explanation of why they could not change the Chairman’s decision to deny permit renewal for Turner’s Ladder Ranch. At times, other commissioners chimed in with their message that they supported wolves but “unfortunately” they could not support Turner, well because, they just could not break ranks with the Chairman, but hey, “we support wolves.”

This was met with ‘sardonic’ laughter from the audience, many of whom have witnessed the complete slaughter of wildlife at the hands of these seven republican cowards. Several minute later, they voted 7-0 to end the release program at Turner’s Ranch, while loudly inviting them to reapply and “meet this commission half way.”

The real question in all of this is clear: how much longer must we allow this commission to exist? How much longer can we allow the indiscriminate killing of wildlife to continue?

Aldo Leopold fought our Governors at the turn of the last century to allow the choice of the Game Warden to be controlled by sportsmen. After a bruising battle, he lost and the Governor continued to select Wardens; usually a perk to a major donor. Little has changed in the past century, only now we have a commission of seven people, none of whom have a real concept of biodiversity.

It is biodiversity that must be at the core of every decision; that is why the concept of a commission has long ago grown “archaic,” in Chairman Kienzle’s own words. We do not need a commission controlled by sportsmen, ranchers or oil and gas interests. We need an agency run by a director, that is given a clear mission: every action we take must be taken to enhance biodiversity.

Wolves in our state face one clear future if commissions such as this remain; there will be a hunting season and that is a disaster for wolves in the wild. There will be a trapping season on wolves and that is a moral outrage. There will be a continued spreading of ignorance and fear about an animal that is perfectly designed to enhance biodiversity and improve the natural balance of wildlife, while improving the land.

At Bold Visions Conservation, our mission for the past several years has been to disband this commission. Their actions and appointments are slaughtering wolves, bears, mountain lions and coyotes. They are not here to enhance wildlife, but to cater to special interests in the livestock, oil and gas and fringe farming communities. They speak of hunting as though it was a 365 day a year enterprise. They want our children to learn to kill, to trap and to carry the same disregard for animals that they display every meeting.

The saying goes you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. This commission represents nothing but pure evil. They are a group of political insiders that relish their role in the slaughter of innocent wildlife. There is no redemption, no reason to hope things will change, and we must simply end their reign of terror.

We must also work to change the charter of the State Game and Fish Department which currently is a rambling statement of support for off-road vehicles, shooting wild game, support trapping, etc. This mission needs to focus like a laser on one thing: enhancing biodiversity!

Disbandment and Game & Fish Department reform will not happen overnight, but if we are to truly help wildlife and improve our lands and waters, we cannot accept the status quo. We must create this change for the next generation; it is our gift and our moral imperative for our children and the generations to come: a gift and action of respect, to the animals that so enhance our lives.

MT Trapping Updates

FUR PRICES DOWN!!!
“That’s right – low, low fur prices.  Bottom of the barrel.  In most cases, fur will sell for far less than what you’ll spend to trap it.”
Why are fur prices going to be so low?  Two words.  China and Russia.  Those two countries basically control the modern world market for wild fur because their citizens purchase the vast majority of the garments produced with the fur we trap.” Prices for dead Coyote, Beaver, Pine Marten, Bobcat, Wolves and Fisher are expected to hold. Trappers are claiming they are simply stockpiling the rest.
Trapping Today’s 2015-2016 Fur Market Update


Photo courtesy Montana Trappers Association, “fur auction, small”.
Reproduced for educational purposes.

TRAPPING DISTRICT CLOSURES
Hopefully  our  monitoring the quota harvest reports  for Montana furbearers have helped spare more unnecessary trapping deaths for Otter and Bobcat.

Bobcat is now closed in Districts 1, 2, 3, i.e. Northwestern, Western and Southwestern Montana. District 3 closed 8 over quota. Historically, over half of the 7 districts, including these three have gone over quota. In 2013/14, i.e. 62 extra bobcats were reported killed in the Districts 1,2,3,5. We especially appreciate FWP taking a proactive stance and closing District 2. In 6 years, from the 2008 through the 2013/14 bobcat trapping season a minimum of 11,062 bobcats were killed in Montana.


It might not seem much to save even one, but it is everything to that one. We don’t know how many might have gotten killed over the quota. Thanks for making those calls and being the voice for Otters, too!

ANOTHER KILLING CONTEST
A repeat of last January predator trapping and hunting killing contest, sponsored by groups such as Montana Trapper’s Association (MTA), but this time instead of for a weekend, it ran from Jan 8 to Jan 17th. We did not accept the MTA request  that we post the flyer fearing it would only draw more attention, more participation to their killing contest. That does not mean we are not following up on  this. Note they do not call it a killing contest but that does not make it less so! More to come.

EXPOSURE OF CRUEL UGLY TRAPPING
The much awaited article,  America’s trapping boom relies on cruel and grisly tool,  by award winner journalist, Tom Knudson, sheds more light on what becomes of millions of animals, annually, and in particular Bobcat, here out West, in the disturbing significant world of trapping. “Every year, 150,000 trappers here capture and kill up to 7 million wild animals, more than any nation on earth. In all, more than 20 species are targeted for their fur, from foxes to raccoons, coyotes to river otters. But it is the spotted, marble-white fur of one animal that has sparked a Wild West-like trapping boom in recent years.” We were honored to help with Tom’s informative investigation and trust exposure and increased awareness will lead to an end of trapping. Be sure to check out the link to the video of the a leghold trap snapping shut on various items.


Credit: Max Whittaker for Reveal

EFFORTS TO PROTECT FISHER
The rare fisher is getting closer to federal protections under the ESA. Legally trapped still in Montana, other Fishers, too, here have fallen victim as “incidental” “non-targets”. In December of 2014, a Fisher was killed in a conibear trap set for Pine Marten in the Bitterroots. More info to come on how you can help. Click to read  “Northern Rockies Fishers One Step Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection.

PETS CONTINUE TO GET TRAPPED IN MONTANA
An Akita was recently caught for days in a leghold trap set for wolves near Alberton, Montana. The dog was reportedly missing for six days!  Solid ice had to be chipped away from the trap to free the dog. The trapper was cited for not checking his wolf traps for the required 48 hours but will he have to pay the vet bills? The dog will most likely lose its leg.

Searching for the perfect Christmas tree, Petty Creek, near Alberton, a Chihuahua,  Dutley, was caught in a leghold trap, and luckily was released quickly apparently uninjured.

A dog was caught in a snare while accompanied fortunately close by its owner. Ghost town in Drummond.

Trap reports for Bracket Creek area north of Bozeman, Flathead national forest, Pleasant Valley……..

For updates see Trap Alerts  on our website.
Pets have us to look out for them but what of the average 60,000 reported wildlife annually trapped and killed in Montana that legally cannot be rescued and helped?

ANIMAL PLANET DOCUMENTARY FOR TRAPPERS?
Just in, Montana Trappers Association says because “of your relentless attacks on trapping” they have signed to do a trapping documentary with Animal Planet.  Imagine what kind of planet animals would succumb to if trappers had their way. It’s incompatible for a show that features the wonderous animals we share this planet with and their sponsors to promote such cruelty and trapping myths.  More to come on what you can do.

DAILY HAPPENINGS
Like, follow us, and invite friends on Facebook and be sure to check out our website www.trapfreemt.org for ongoing educational information, updates and our online store to purchase, i.e. “Ranger” story of a wolf, t-shirts.

Please lend a hand, be our eyes and ears, promote TFMPL, collaborate with us and let us know you how you are willing to do more for wildlife! 

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

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