October 15, 2015 8:00 am •
A proposed ballot initiative to restrict and criminalize trapping on Montana’s public lands has passed its first hurdle.
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch’s office approved the gathering of signatures for the November 2016 general election on Oct. 6. Proponents have set out to gather 24,175 qualified signatures from at least 34 house districts by June 17.
The numbers represent 5 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election and one-third of Montana’s house districts.
It’s the third time in six years an anti-trapping initiative has reached the signature-gathering stage. Efforts in 2010 and last year failed to garner the required number of signatures.
Initiative 177 would prohibit most commercial and recreational trapping and snaring for animals on public lands and establish misdemeanor criminal penalties for violations.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks could still use certain traps if nonlethal…
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