Constitutional amendment protecting sportsmen could shackle FWP

Sportsmen’s groups came out in force Thursday to testify on a bill that would add more harvest-heritage language to the Montana Constitution, but they weren’t all on the same side.

Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, presented Senate Bill 236 as a means to thwart the national “anti-hunting lobby” by creating a constitutional amendment that would further strengthen sections dealing with fish and wildlife harvest. Although some speakers were concerned about the future of hunting, the majority of the discussion showed the bill was the result of recent challenges to trapping.

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Lawsuit results in smaller bobcat traps to avoid capturing lynx

To avoid an extended lawsuit, the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission has approved more stringent bobcat-trapping rules to avoid accidental capture of endangered Canada lynx. But it wasn’t a unanimous or easy vote.

During Thursday’s discussion of furbearer quotas, the FWP commission debated whether to accept trap specifications outlined in a February court settlement between FWP and three environmental groups.

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