While the much of the world was marching in support of Earth Day during the weekend, Donald Trump Jr. was hunting down prairie dogs in Montana.
It’s not surprising Don Jr. knows nothing about environment conservation considering his own father, President Donald Trump, forgot to mention climate change in his Earth Day statement.
The president’s eldest son visited Montana to campaign on behalf of businessman Republican Greg Gianforte who is running for Montana's House seat in a special election. The tech entrepreneur is up against Democratic rival Rob Quist in the May 25 election for the seat vacated by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.
Trump, a keen hunter, is looking to get support from Montana after his father won the state by 20 points over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
When news of the planned hunting trip was announced, Gianforte received a lot of backlash for slaughtering animals on Earth Day. However, he was quick to defend himself stating, “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?”
For Trump, nothing, it seems.
Donald Trump, Jr. proves what a manly man he is planning to shoot prairie dogs because, as he said, "It's fun to shoot the little rodents."— chaplinlives (@chaplinlives) April 21, 2017
Utah on vaca & amazed at cute Prairie Dogs. Looked them up & front headline "Donald Trump Jr. Hunts Prairie Dogs". Does it ever end?Really? pic.twitter.com/r7Dqclky69— Hillary Rocks (@hillaryrocks781) April 23, 2017
Last weekend took my boys to the Badlands of South Dakota. They spent hours playing with the prairie dogs. Bizarre cruel behavior by Trump https://t.co/PI2sM9pIx6— RiotWomenn (@riotwomennn) April 23, 2017
@JordanUhl I don't get it - why would anyone 'hunt' Prairie Dogs? They A) live in holes and are easy to find and more so B) are adorable.— Kenton Lane (@TheKentonLane) April 22, 2017
Hunting prairie dogs is perfectly legal in Montana, where they are classified as “agricultural pests” and traditionally hunted to prevent damage to the crops. But, according to the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the rodents are now listed as species of concern after their numbers dwindled due to disease and hunting.
Additionally, April is a particularly bad month for hunting prairie dogs because they nurse their newborn babies during that time.
“For prairie dogs, March through June is peak breeding season, which means pregnant, adult females will also be at risk,” Lindsey Sterling Krank, director of the Humane Society’s Prairie Dog Coalition, said. “People do not hunt these animals for food or any legitimate wildlife management purposes.”
Sterling Krank also said more than 100 species depend on prairie dogs for shelter and food. Some animals even live in the burrows the rodents leave behind.
“I would love to take Donald Trump Jr. out with a spotting scope and shoot the prairie dog with our cameras,” the director told the AP. “Shooting a prairie dog colony [with a gun] is not a good conservation message.”
However, both Trump and Ginaforte remained unperturbed by the backlash.
“Clearly they’ve never shot a prairie dog,” said the Montana Republican. “They don’t know how much fun it is.”