Thanks to everyone who stopped by to visit at the Winter meeting. I have heard some folks say it was slower than some years, but I had a great turn out and signed up/renewed a good number of folks to the NTA.
On the NTA front, there are a number of battles that are grinding along through different stages in different states. Our NTA president, Chris McCalister, recently sent a letter out to members letting folks know what kind of challenges we are facing. He has also appealed for funds to help bolster our defense of trapping efforts. For those of you who are not NTA members, I will give you a summarized version.
NTA is an intervener in five federal cases in Montana, Idaho, Minnesota and two cases in Maine. The basis of these lawsuits, are that trapping in these states is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. The anti trapping movement is using the ESA as a tool to curtail or end trapping. NTA is the ONLY trapping organization representing trappers on these cases in the Nation.
In Montana, the Lynx case resulted in a settlement between the State and the Plaintiffs. NTA nor Montana Trappers Association agreed to the settlement terms, but the Court granted the State and Plaintiff's motion to dismiss the case and approved a stipulated agreement in September. The NTA and MTA have filed an appeal of the dismissal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Also in Montana, a group called "Footloose Montana" is collecting signatures to place initiative I-177 on the 2016 fall ballot. If adopted, this initiative will prohibit the use of traps and snares on any public land in Montana.
The Incidental Take Permit (ITP). ITPs will be issued in MN, MT, ID, WY, NM, and CO related to Lynx in the next 10 years, and additional ITPs will be issued on other species. If vacated by the courts, this will likely impact the trapping restrictions in all future ITPs.
Another lawsuit in Maine. In August, the Center for Biological Diversity (same group that brought the Idaho lawsuit) filed against the USFWS. This is a similar lawsuit brought by the Friends of Animals in Maine.
In D.C., working with our partner Fur Wraps the Hill, we successfully blocked S. 1081, the "Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act" which would have ended trapping in our National Wildlife Refuge System. The sponsor of this bill has stated that he will attach the bill to S.405 the "Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015", which expands access opportunities for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. In other words, he is trying to hold hostage this bill until he gets a hearing for his cause.
Constant attacks require constant defense. Fighting takes manpower and money. Don't forget to write your federal representatives and let them know that our heritage is at risk. Get involved. Sign up for the NTA.
NTA - Minnesota