Letter to the Editor - APR should make sportsmen nervous

 

 

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to Deb Hill’s second-page article on the American Prairie Reserve in the Oct. 14, issue of the Lewistown News-Argus. Earlier this month American Prairie Reserve had a meeting with sportsmen in Lewistown. Not inviting farmers and ranchers was probably just an oversight. Farmers and ranchers, who make their living off the land, should hate APR. If APR wants to be supported by some group of people around CMR, sportsmen are probably their only option. Fish, Wildlife and Parks says, “it can help bridge the gap” between “hunter groups” and APR. Anybody else think it is strange that part of our Montana government is helping APR put farmers and ranchers out of business?

In my opinion, APR is misleading hunters because hunting on APR won’t be any better than hunting on the former owners of APR lands. APR’s 100,000 deeded acres can be controlled through APR’s trespass regulations. APR’s 300,000 acres of government ground has the same access it did before APR. APR can control hunting and access on only 25 percent of its lands.

APR removing their lands from block management should make sportsmen nervous. APR limiting sportsmen to the use of short-range weapons should make sportsmen nervous. APR managing species to meet their own objectives should make sportsmen nervous. APR wanting sportsmen to do APR’s projects should make sportsmen nervous. If APR’s donors don’t like watching sportsmen gut out (field dress) wildlife, who is APR going to throw under the bus – donors or sportsmen? If hunters cost APR millions in donations, hunters will be gone.

Wolves are scattering around Montana. Grizzlies are heading east toward CMR. Anybody think this is a coincidence? There is no evidence that the wolves introduced by the feds in 1995 were ever native to Montana. Why would APR want a non-native species on their lands? Where wolves become established, wildlife diminishes -- another reason for sportsmen to be nervous.

Some sportsmen should explain what APR means by “collaborators” and “wildlife corridors.” One proposed wildlife corridor went from the Canadian border to Yellowstone Park. Another proposed corridor went from Alaska to Mexico. I hope these aren’t APR’s “wildlife corridors.” When APR gets to 3.5 million acres, why would they stop?

APR wants to have elk and bison. In Yellowstone National Park the bison are a major contributor of Bang’s disease. The recent Bangs cases in cattle have been caused by elk. How is it that APR wants to raise the two species that can transmit Bangs to cattle and put ranchers out of business? Another coincidence?

Steve Hale

Mosby, Montana

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