Montana Senate Race Features Talking Stuffed Animals

So, the dead duck said to the deer's head …

Here's a TV ad from Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who is fighting for his political life in Montana.

The ad doesn't feature the polar bear carcasses stuck in Canada that are very much at issue in Tester's bid for re-election (and Democrats' efforts to retain control of the U.S. Senate), but we'll get to that in a moment.

What the Tester ad does feature is a talking duck, two deer and a growling gray wolf rug.

Quack, Quack!

The ad uses the mounted stuffed animals to make the point that Tester has acted in the interest of hunters and fishermen and even "took on the Obama administration over gray wolves," according to the dead duck.

At this point, the gray wolf rug growls menacingly. And the confused and bearded cabin owner looks in from another room to see what all the commotion is about.

The interests of hunters seem to be big deal in the Montana race. Tester is running against Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Republican.

They're opponents on the November ballot, but both have sponsored the "Sportsmen's Bill," to benefit hunters, in Congress.

Rehberg's version passed through the Republican-controlled House. But Tester only got a procedural test vote in the Senate. Republicans argued that was a political favor to the Montana senator. The Humane Society has launched a lobbying campaign against the Sportsmen's Bill because of the polar bear hides, which are in cold storage in Canada.

"The so-called 'Sportsmen's Act of 2012' seeks to indulge a small group of wealthy trophy hunters who want to import sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada just to have a head or hide of this threatened animal in their living room," according to the animal rights group's website.

Here's how the AP described the rest of the Sportsmen's Bill:

"In addition to dealing with the polar bear hides, it would allow more hunting and fishing on federal lands, let bow hunters cross federal land where hunting isn't allowed, encourage federal land agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain shooting ranges, exclude ammunition and tackle from federal environmental laws that regulate lead, boost fish populations and protect animal habitat."

Read the entire AP report here .

While the two agree on the Sportsmen's Bill, Tester has gone on the offensive against Rehberg on another piece of legislation that would open millions of acres of federally protected Montana back country to the building of roads, arguing it would hurt habitats on which elk hunters depend. The NRA argues the roads would open the land to more hunting.

What to do about Montana's land and resources is a more important issue in the campaign. Tester's top-single contributor is the League of Conservation Voters, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The top industry contributing to Rehberg is oil and gas.

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