A Letter to the Editor in the Lincoln Journal Star calls for an end to mountain lion hunting and support for Senator Ernie Chambers’ Legislative Bill 127. Click here to read the letter.
Many cried foul, but it seems MTFWP did due diligence in analyzing the tragic discovery of a severed mountain lion paw in a trap last April. The naysayers who accused cougar advocate Cal Ruark of faking the discovery owe him an apology. We all KNOW that non target trapping happens, more so since the large sadistic predator traps aimed at wolves now dot the landscape.
We are discouraged by FWP’s inability or reluctance to follow up judiciously on thisafter-season incident. Culpability needs to have consequences, and consequences need to be directed at the best possible for outcome for wildlife. There is room in the new mountain lion management plan to address the issue of non-target trapping. We think Montana has the courage to be first in rewarding conscientious sportsmen for ethical behavior, by accounting for the meaningless loss of animals to poorly located or primitive equipment and non-compliant trap checking.
There are sixteen states that have mountain lions and in every state except Texas (where they are vermin), they are ‘managed’. In California and Florida mountain lions are not hunted but steps are taken to protect people, pets, and livestock if a lion has become a credible threat (not just a random sighting).
It is a misnomer that trophy hunting of mountain lions is a form of management. It is actually the provision of a recreational opportunity for those who like to kill lions and an attempt to assure supply for those who like to kill the natural prey that the lions eat.
This is hunter management not wildlife management.
The science that goes into season setting, basically identifies a ‘surplus’ of lions that is expendable for the fulfillment of hunter demands. Young male lions face survival challenges without hunting, and as withmost species, they are considered ‘redundant’. This is why killing for sport is not necessary to manage populations-the competitive nature of lions means that they are largely self regulating as far as maintaining numbers that can be supported by available habitat and food sources. However, it is not the young males that the hunters want…they want the trophy. Killing the big Tom is the accomplishment sought by many in the field. This reduces the age demographic and destabilizes the dominant-male equilibrium of populations
Our best case scenario for mountain lions is that they are no longer killed for pleasure, but thoughtfully managed to prevent conflict as in California and Florida. However, we want to thank the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission for making life better for 5 female cougars. They removed them from the quota proposal that had its final hearing yesterday.
In our politically influenced lives, it is a brave agency that stands up for the truth. We must not let our mostprecious public resources be affected by political pressure from special interests.
Ancient Rome: men proved their strength by fighting large carnivores to the death with appropriately primitive weaponry. In the 21st century, recreational killing of animals for other than food is still a social affirmation of sorts among the protagonists who derive pleasure from killing. Today the killing is often aided by sophisticated technologicalenhancers such as GPS, webcam, mechanized transportation in the backcountry and of course, the best guns or high powered bows available today.
We are not the same people today as the people of ancient Rome, yet this one area of recreational fulfillment still persists in what should be a kinder, gentler world.