Donald Trump Jr. plans to go on a prairie dog hunting trip to campaign for a Republican candidate in Montana special election, and many people are upset about the shedding of innocent prairie dog life.
Trump is in Montana this weekend to campaign for Greg Gianforte, who is running to fill newly-confirmed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s vacant seat in the House of Representatives. Gianforte plans to take Trump to a field to snipe the black-tailed prairie dog, a nuisance to farmers and ranchers and reportedly great fun to shoot.
“As good Montanans, we want to show good hospitality to people,” Gianforte told the Associated Press Friday. “What can be more fun than to spend an afternoon shooting the little rodents?”
Samantha Bee, host of Full Frontal on TBS, went on a tweet storm to make fun of Trump’s prairie dog hunting trip, saying that he would be “gunning them down just for shits and giggles.”
.@DonaldJTrumpJr Dude, have you heard of golf? (Your dad has.) Golfing is more fun than killing inedible, pregnant prairie dogs.
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) April 21, 2017
Others were nearly brought to tears reading about how prairie dogs use different calls and yips to warn each other about various predators.
The thing about the prairie dogs’ social behavior and protecting ea other almost made me cry. https://t.co/RZBvyBD6yU
— Amy Guth (@amyguth) April 22, 2017
Farmers and ranchers routinely control prairie dog populations through hunting, to prevent the small animals from burrowing under fields and digging deep holes that can wreck farm equipment and injure livestock. The Montana Department of Agriculture classifies black-tailed prairie dogs as “Vertebrate Pests,” but notes that the animal’s declining population makes it a “Species of Concern.”
The Humane Society of the United States condemned Trump and Gianforte for their hunting trip, and suggested that they take pictures of the creatures rather than shoot them. The period between March through June is prairie dog breeding season and many of the animals shot could be pregnant, the Humane Society notes.
— Humane Society (@HumaneSociety) April 20, 2017
“I would love to take Donald Trump Jr. out with a spotting scope and shoot the prairie dog with our cameras,” Humane Society spokesman Sterling Krank told the AP. “Shooting a prairie dog colony is not a good conservation message.”
Gianforte did not share the Humane Society’s concerns. “Clearly they’ve never shot a prairie dog,” he said. “They don’t know how much fun it is.”
Gianforte has campaigned on promises to combat “Washington, D.C.’s war on the West,” to advocate for gun rights, and “defend our right to hunt, fish, and recreate on public lands.”
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect that Samantha Bee’s show Full Frontal is on TBS, not Comedy Central.
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