The bill would allow "Any person holding a valid mountain lion license to take a mountain lion by use of a trap or snare."
Currently, mountain lions may be hunted with all legal firearms and archery equipment, and hound hunting is allowed.
The number of mountain lions killed in Wyoming would certainly increase with trapping as an option, as would the pain and suffering of the big cats.
The number of lions killed in Wyoming has risen steadily over the years. Combined with other pressures such as habitat loss, competition with newly established wolf packs, poisons, being killed on roads, and increasing numbers of people who are intolerant of the big cats, as well as their pets and livestock, it's extremely difficult to understand how the trend can continue without serious repercussions to the populations of mountain lions.
Traps are nonspecific, and may catch lions less than one year old and females with kittens, which are currently prohibited in the hunt. It's uncertain how many mountain lions are currently caught in traps set for other animals in Wyoming.
Mountain lions would be treated differently than other trapped animals under the proposed law. Currently trappers target furbearers such as badger, beaver, bobcat, marten, mink, muskrat and weasel.
Wyoming's wolves, coyotes and fox are classified as predators, and fall under the jurisdiction of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, but no license is required to trap these canine predators, even when they are also trapped for their fur.
The season "harvest quota" for mountain lion hunting is set by the Game and Fish Commission in July.
Despite being listed for 38 years as a game mammal, and decades of publicly funded research, the State of Wyoming refuses to openly announce a population estimate on the number of lions existing within its borders.
Some have opined that this policy stance is an effort to avoid having to justify an ever increasing hunting quota, and wildlife management decisions which enrich a few ranchers and outfitters at the expense of the species.
An Action Alert This Week
We'll be contacting Wyoming legislators and partner organizations, and telling you more about how you can make your opinion clear. Enough is enough! We need to take back our wildlands now!