It’s a weird, rough time out there. On the one hand, we’ve got politicians trying to sell off our public lands to the highest bidder. And now, in Montana, we’ve got a group of activists trying to categorically lock a whole class of sustainable users out of our public lands. If passed, initiative I-177 will ban trapping on public lands in Montana. If you love to hunt and fish, you need to vote NO on this initiative in order to make a stand against the bogus animal rights utopian vision in which wildlife becomes an untouchable relic of the past to be observed only through the windshield of a car. Proponents of this initiative will tell you again and again that it has nothing to do with hunting. They are bullshitting you. Our rights to hunt and fish will be lost just like this — incrementally, one initiative at a time.

Just take a look at deeply compromised states such as California if you want to see how this plays out. Animal rights folks target whatever measure they think they can pursue at the moment, and then they move on to the next issue. First it’s trapping. Then it’s lion hunting with dogs. Then it’s bear hunting with dogs. Then it’s lion hunting without dogs. Then they move on to not allowing hunting with dogs at all. Meanwhile, government wildlife agents “cull” pretty much the same number of lions that hunters were killing in the first place, but apparently that’s okay because wildlife agents don’t enjoy the hunt and the carcasses all go to waste. And trust me, archery hunting will be on the chopping block in California during your lifetime because there won’t be enough archers to defend themselves and other users are doing a lousy job of sticking up for their allies.

That’s why you need to defend traditional use patterns such as trapping. American trappers have been working these lands for hundreds and hundreds of years, and their methods have evolved appropriately over the decades. It’s sustainable and it’s tightly regulated. If you’re willing to slam the door on trappers now, then go home and take a look in your own freezer. If there’s some public land meat in there, you need to realize your vulnerability. Get out and vote.