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A Bold Approach

by Stephen Capra, Executive Director, Bold Visions Conservation




We are living in a time of broken politics and a divided nation. We are also living in a time where violence and threats are commonplace. That division is often rendered in rural vs. urban tensions on social and wildlife issues. Our Republican-controlled legislature is focused on that rural constituency and the urban conservative voting bloc.

 

The divide is clear with every bill that comes forward. When I meet with legislators on the Republican side, they are cocky with power and eager to do more harm to wildlife, to expand trapping, and they are in complete control of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The commission is made up of large contributors to Governor Gianforte and is all part of organizations dedicated to trophy hunting and a radical trapping ideal.

 

Recent actions by the Commission, likely with a push from Gianforte, have now allowed trapping on our state lands and to merge regulations for stage-managed lands. So rather than cut back on trapping, the state continues to give them free rein.



To date, more than 80% of wolves killed in the first week were at the hands of trappers, or what we call slob hunters. We can be angry, and we all are, or we can be proactive. The next Montana legislature is just one year away, and we know the trappers will come loaded for dominance.

 

Now is the time to start talking with legislators, ask for a meeting, send them letters, and ask for action to protect wolves and grizzlies and to stop the destruction of our public lands by trapping.

 

Here is a list of legislators to contact. They are all Republicans who could be swayed by public pressure and reasonable facts. Please make them a priority. Clicking on their names will take you to the representative’s email page:

 

Brad Barker, Red Lodge, (406) 426-1034

David Bedey, Hamilton, (406) 381-2059

Marta Bertoglio, Clancy, (406) 438-1772

Larry Brewster, Billings, (406) 670-0929

Sherry Essmann, Billings, (406) 876-0490

Gregory Frazer, Deer Lodge, (406) 560-4707

Paul Green, Hardin, (406) 901-5148

Mike Hopkins, East Missoula, (406) 531-1775

Senator Brad Molnar, Laurel, (406) 794-5982

George Kikolakakos, Great Falls

Senator Jason Small, Busby, (406) 690-0923

Courteney Sprunger, Kaispell, (406) 407-1151

Tom Welch, Dillon, (406) 660-2988

Mike Yakawich, Billings, (406) 647-6391

 

Calling and writing to these members should be a bi-weekly or monthly event as we move toward the 2025 legislature.

 

Talking points:

 

— There should never be legislation that makes trapping part of the state constitution.

 

— The time has come to restrict trapping, especially in urban areas where family pets can be harmed.

 

— We do not need the delisting of grizzly bears for trophy hunting.

 

— We need more legislation that is positive for wildlife.

 

— We need a science- based approach for wildlife, not a radical agenda based on trophy hunters and trappers’ desires.

 

— We need legislation to ban wildlife killing contests.

 

— Wolves must not be slaughtered in our state and trapping and killing of wolves should be banned in unit 313.

 

— Wolves are an economic engine for our state, trapping adds nothing to our economy.

 

— Never support any effort for the state to pay bounties on wolves.

 

These legislators will be key in next years legislature. Trappers are meeting with them now. We must continue to be a strong voice for wildlife!!

 

Any questions, feel free to call me.


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