Beneath the hype of the presidential elections there were some key issues on ballots in other states that affect us as trappers.
Montana has defeated Initiative 177, which would prohibit trapping on public land. To us in Nebraska, when we think public land, we think pheasant grass and duck marshes on 160 acre plots. In Montana, public land consists of 1/3rd the state, over 30 million acres! Initiative 177 was defeated soundly in Montana by a 64% to 36% vote. The defeat of I-177 will allow Montana trappers to continue to utilize public ground for trapping.
I got in touch with Toby Walrath, president of the Montana Trapper’s Association. He had this to say about the victory: “Montana Trappers have won a major victory in protecting our rights to trap on public lands. The Montana Trappers Association is grateful for the outpouring of time and money spent by individuals and organizations from all over the country in supporting our efforts to defeat an initiative that threatened our way of life.”
Indiana and Kansas both had ballot issues which would make hunting, fishing, and trapping a constitutional right. This would make it harder for the antis to get a foothold, as once it is amended to a state’s constitution as a right, it is harder to take away a citizen’s right to do something. Both of these issues were soundly passed with Kansas voting 81% and Indiana voting 78% in favor.
Playing “what if” is pure speculation. But it stands to reason that without the financial help of the Sportsman’s Alliance, National Trappers Association, the Furtakers of America, and numerous state trapping associations (including Nebraska) and the many individual contributions, to Montana, the Montana initiative would have passed.
Your membership dollars were put to good use, to preserve our way of life. Remember to join your local state trappers association, the NTA, FTA, and Sportsmans Alliance.
— Mark Hajny, Clay Center, Nebraska