Rugged mountains at sunrise.
 
Opinion
Text: The editorial voice of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

6/21/2010

Wyoming Makes Mountain Lions the Scapegoats Again!

Tomorrow (June 22nd) is the final day the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is accepting written comments on their proposed 2010-11 Mountain Lion Hunting Regulations. Unfortunately, the new regulations are a misguided attempt to placate a small, but vocal, special interest group (deer hunters), and have no chance of achieving their attended goal.

It appears that, like in most of the western states, Wyoming's mule deer herd was significantly larger twenty years ago. Human obstruction in historic migratory deer routes, a severe multi-year drought, radical changes to deer habitat vegetation, and excessive periods of over-hunting have all done their part in reducing many of the regional mule deer populations to half of what they were in 1992.

Now, despite the Department's own scientists stating that "predator reduction" efforts (killing off mountain lions, wolves, and bears) will have no significant effect on helping the mule deer population rebound, Wyoming's 2010-11 Mountain Lion Hunting Regulations have been designed to make that attempt.

The 2010-11 Mountain Lion Hunting Regulations have been specifically designed to suppress Wyoming's mountain lion population. Female mountain lion mortality restrictions have been removed, "harvest" quotas have been increased or removed all together, and 45 percent of the state has been declared as special hunt zones where for a reduced price, lion hunters can receive a second mountain lion hunting tag.

What makes this terrible situation even more of a travesty is the fact that WGFD has no idea how many mountain lions even reside in the state, so their actions could very easily over-stress Wyoming's resident mountain lion population and nobody would even know it!

Please! Take the time to tell WGFD and the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to reject the proposed changes to their 2010-11 Mountain Lion Hunting Regulations, and instead authorize WGFD to conduct extensive research to establish the true status--number as well as health--of Wyoming's mountain lion population beyond that which is discernible from harvest data alone.

Also, request that the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission reduce the overall mountain lion hunting quota for the 2010-11 hunting season, especially in the Black Hills Hunting Area, and reestablish female mountain lion mortality limits in an effort to reduce excessive kitten mortalities.

Comments can be sent to:

Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Wildlife Division
Attn: Regulations
3030 Energy Lane
Casper, WY 82604
(307) 473-3400
(307) 473-3433 FAX

To review MLF's submitted comments as well as for more information on Wyoming's mountain lion hunting harvests and regulations go to the Wyoming State Information Page at www.mountainlion.org