From expanding hunting and trapping to reducing protections for wildlife, Republicans are putting animals at risk.
PUBLISHED: THE HILL: Changing America by Steve Capra and Cyril Christo, Opinion Contributor January 11, 2021
“To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together.” —Barry Lopez
As we enter the new year, Montana is going to full-scale war with nature. The election that was just completed gave Republicans a sweep in our state, allowing for the first time in a generation, for our state to have a Republican Governor, House and Senate. This clean sweep has removed the safeguards for wildlife that have been in place, including preventing the removal of wolves. There are also those pushing to expand trapping. Yes in 2021, trapping of wildlife still occurs in Montana.
Others are pushing to find new ways to allow hunting from across state lines and to begin once again to chase black bears all year long with hounds. Now all of this is part of a radical anti-wildlife agenda being pushed forward in the next few weeks. These actions are a stain on the moral consciousness of our state and they could well become reality.
Our new Governor Greg Gianforte, best known for body slamming a reporter, is radical by any standard, a religious zealot, multi-millionaire who believes woman should be subservient to men, also sees wildlife as something to be killed, trapped or destroyed to make way for livestock, logging, mining, coal development or oil drilling. In a state known for its magnificent wilderness and trout streams, we have elected a man dedicated to selling off our public lands. Republicans in our state are introducing bills at warp speed; many designed to remove protections for sage grouse, to put trappers on our state Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission. They are doing what they can to limit bison and making property owners’ concerns more important than wildlife with every new bill introduced.
But more than anything their sights are on wolves. Bills have been introduced by State Rep. Paul Fielder, a Republican and trapper. His new bills include night hunting of wolves, snaring or choking of wolves with wire strands, increasing the season of hunting wolves and doubling trapping quotas. The new governor will sign them with glee, this in a state that garners most of its wealth from tourism.