This November voters will decide if trapping should be restricted to private property or be allowed to continue on public lands with Citizen’s Initiative I-177. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation spokesman Mark Holyoak is urging the public to vote against the initiative and says that ending trapping on public land will hurt elk populations.

"Trapping and hunting are the main ways that our wildlife managers keep track of, monitor, and the balance wildlife population," Holyoak said. "Trappers over the last four years every year have taken approximately 40 percent of wolves off of the landscape, of the overall quota that has been taken.  If you remove trapping immediately you will have 15 percent more wolves on the landscape. They have a definitive impact on elk, deer, and moose herds across the state."

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation hopes that the public will consider the broader implications to a ban on trapping.

"It comes down to the public safety  and health," Holyoak said. "It's important people understand this is not just a singular issue of a pet that  may end up in a trap or something along those lines. "This has wide ranging effects and could have and would have wide ranging effects on the health wildlife populations across Montana."

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation calculates that the passage of I-177 would cost the state of Montana nearly half a million dollars annually because the state would have to find a new way to control animal populations in lieu of trapping.