Colorado lawmakers in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted against Senate Bill 31, which would have prohibited the sport hunting of mountain lions, lynx, and bobcats in the state. Very vocal opponents to the bill, including many ranchers, hunters, and outfitters, vehemently objected to the measure and flooded lawmakers’ inboxes with comments. The Humane Society and other animal welfare groups were in support of the bill. The hearing lasted three hours due to the huge number of people who testified on both sides. Obviously this is a contentious issue in Colorado, with passionate people on both sides.
Although it is disappointing that mountain lions and other cats will not be afforded the additional protections, the argument has shed a light on some ongoing issues. Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the agency tasked with managing wildlife in the state, receives 75% of their annual revenue from hunting and fishing licenses. People and groups outside of the hunting and fishing communities do not feel like their perspective and opinions on the management of wildlife are being heard. The argument on this bill also highlights that good sound science should be used when making management decisions.