This week, we are working on a few bills that directly impact our native wildlife. We’ll oppose a bill that would legalize pet foxes and will continue supporting one to fund Sage-grouse conservation efforts. Also, we are joining Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and our conservation partners in opposing a bill calling for an amendment to the Montana Constitution guaranteeing the right to hunt, fish, and trap. (While this might sound like a good idea in theory, the way the bill is written could significantly undermine wildlife management in our state.) Please read more below, and then send a message to your elected officials!
House Bill 157, sponsored by Rep. Forrest Mandeville (R-Columbus), seeks to make it legal for anyone to possess a pet fox as long as it was born in captivity. There are many reasons why foxes belong in the wild, not in cages or living rooms. This bill does not specify which species of fox could be allowed as pets, opening the door to a new trade in exotic fox species in Montana and placing our native fox species at risk. Also, many veterinarians have spoken in opposition to this bill because currently there is no rabies vaccine approved for foxes, and they are a primary vector species for rabies.
There will likely be a vote on this bill as soon as Tuesday of this week: this is our best chance at stopping this bill, so please send a message to the committee today! You can send a message to the entire committee here, or send an email to committee members listed below. We need to pick up at least two Republican votes to defeat this bill. Tell them to Vote NO on House Bill 157!
Senate Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation Committee Members:
House Bill 228 (Sage grouse funding) has a hearing today, March 13th, in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. This is the most important bill of the session for Greater Sage-grouse conservation, and will provide $2 million annually for voluntary conservation of sagebrush habitat and operating funds for the Montana Sage-grouse Oversight Team program staffing needs. We are hopeful this bill has enough momentum to make it to the Governor’s desk, but it will certainly help to express your support for Sage-grouse conservation to the committee.
You can send a message to the entire committee by clicking here. Be sure to select “Senate Natural Resources Committee”, “House Bill 228”, and “VOTE FOR”. You can also include a personal message about the importance of Sage grouse conservation in Montana.
Along with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) and our conservation partners, we are opposing Senate Bill 236, introduced by Senator Fielder (R-Thompson Falls). The reason for our opposition to this bill stems from the fact that it is badly written and, according to FWP, threatens to undermine wildlife management in Montana. This bill would make harvest of species a fundamental right under the law, equivalent to Montanans’ right to clean air and water, and give those activities primacy over other wildlife management objectives. That’s why organizations like the National Wildlife Federation, Montana Wildlife Federation, and Montana Trout Unlimited joined us in opposition to this bill.
This bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Please send a personal message to committee members urging them to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 236 because it is a poorly-conceived attempt to protect rights that already exist, and will undermine wildlife management objectives in our state. You can also contact individual committee members here.
Thanks for your support!
Go, Fly, Win!