Trap-Free Law to be on Montana State Ballot in November
Action Alert from


Montanans for Trap-free Public Lands
June 30, 2016



Montana traps

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.

To support this Initiative, contact

Tim Provow
[email protected]
(406) 360-6332

Connie Poten
[email protected]
(406) 274-4791


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 Generalís 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.

Our Initiative

Our initiative is a firm and legally sound document that restricts all trapping for sport and pleasure to private lands, while still creating reasonable exceptions for public safety, health, and specific cases of livestock depredation.
It does not grant private citizens a right to trap for any of these reasons, but does provide infrastructure for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to do so. Our language was written with one goal in mind: to restrict trapping on public lands in a way that created safe public lands for all users, including animal users.

Why Stop Public-Lands Trapping?

Montanaís public lands are a precious and often threatened resource. All Montanans hold these lands and the animals on them in public trust, and respectful use is a key tenet of that trust.

Trapping is indiscriminate, commercial, cruel and dangerous. It weaponizes public lands, makes them unsafe for pets and non-target wildlife, and encourages disproportionate, for-profit use of a public resource.

Two-Thirds of Montanaís land are private, and our initiative has no bearing on those lands. There are still plenty of opportunities for trappers to trap on lands where others donít recreate and pets are less threatened. Our supporters only feel that trapping is not an appropriate use of public resources.

What about Hunting and Fishing?

This initiativeís purpose is not to threaten Montanaís hunting and fishing culture. We view both as fair chase, designed for individual use, and well regulated. Trapping by contrast is in indiscriminate, excessively cruel, meant to kill en masse, largely de-regulated by national standards, and done either for profit or to protect private interests.

We invite you to read our language, ask questions, and most of all to get involved! We have until next June to collect over 25,000 signatures, so we need active members of our statewide community to step up and help make trap-free public lands a reality in Montana.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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