Friday, 16 November, 2018

Trump Jr.'s prairie dog hunt in Montana prompts backlash

Trump Jr.'s prairie dog hunt in Montana prompts backlash Trump Jr.'s prairie dog hunt in Montana prompts backlash
Ellis Copeland | 25 April, 2017, 13:57

"I would love to take Donald Trump Jr. out with a spotting scope and shoot the prairie dog with our cameras", said Humane Society spokesperson Sterling Krank, according to the Independent. "They don't know how much fun it is". The period between March through June is prairie dog breeding season and numerous animals shot could be pregnant, the Humane Society notes.

Trump Jr.is stumping in Montana on behalf of U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte, a Bozeman businessman who lost in the governor's race last fall to incumbent Democrat Steve Bullock.

Trump is lending Gianforte some star power to fuel his campaign after Republican congressional candidates had close calls in special elections in Kansas and Georgia.

Trump, a keen hunter, is looking to get support from Montana after his father won the state by 20 percentage points over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. When the planned hunting trip was announced earlier in the week, Gianforte received a considerable deal of backlash, enough at least that he felt the need to defend himself the day before the hunt took place.

"As good Montanans, we want to show good hospitality to people". "What can be more fun than to spend an afternoon shooting the little rodents".

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For Trump, nothing, it seems. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks lists prairie dogs as a species of concern, noting that their numbers are declining rapidly due to several factors, including hunting and encroachment of their natural habitats due to human development and agricultural activity.

As a non-game species, there are no hunting limits on prairie dogs, and killing them is reportedly a popular pastime for many Montana residents.

But animal protection charity The Humane Society has condemned the excursion, which is scheduled during the prairie dogs's peak breeding season, meaning some of Mr Trump Jnr's targets could be pregnant. "People do not hunt these animals for food or any legitimate wildlife management purposes".

Lindsey Sterling Krank is the group's Prairie Dog Coalition director and says female prairie dogs are now nursing offspring. In 2011, their tour company, Hunting Legends, posted images of the pair smiling with their trophies: a leopard, bull, waterbuck, crocodile, and even one holding an amputated elephant's tail next to the animal's body.

For ranchers in Montana, shooting prairie dogs is more recreational target practice than a real hunt.

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