On Thursday (October 1st), the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission will decide whether or not to make changes to mountain lion hunting policies in the state. Specifically, they are considering lowering the quota — which would be a step in the right direction, but still not enough. However, they are also considering allowing out of state visitors to hunt lions, and at a fraction of what it normally costs for nonresidents to kill cats in neighboring states. Time is almost up. Please contact the commission today and urge them to vote for the lower quotas, and against nonresident hunts and hound hunting.
Last year the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission authorized that state's first ever sport hunting season on mountain lions. Starting with an estimated population of only 22 animals, at least 16 of these rare cats had been killed by the end of the year. Help keep what few lions remain in Nebraska safe by signing the petition and supporting the efforts of State Senator Ernie Chambers to remove the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's authority to allow recreational lion hunting in Nebraska.
When the California Department of Fish and Wildlife stopped enforcing the state's mountain lion protection laws, MLF sued. The courts decided the agency technically has the discretion to pick and choose when and which laws to enforce. That's not good enough for us, or our cats. So we need your help to take this matter to the Governor's desk. Please contact California Governor Jerry Brown and ask him to make CDFW do its job!
The New Mexico Game and Fish Department (NMGFD) opened it's cougar hunting regulations for amendments. This only happens once ever four years. On August 27, 2015 the NMGFD Commission adopted a proposal to allow the use of snares and traps to kill lions, as well as making it easier for deer and elk hunters to kill any lions they randomly come across. Trapping is a cruel and indiscriminate practice that injures and kills millions of wildlife and pets annually. The Commission ignored the voice of the public and the science. We lost this round but the fight is far from over.
A bill passed in 2013 (AB 1213, the Bobcat Protection Act) gave the California Fish and Game Commission the option to either draft regulations for bobcat trapping seasons, or to completely ban the fur trapping of bobcats statewide. Thanks to the tens of thousands of people who sent letters, signed petitions and spoke at the hearings, at their August 5th meeting the Commission decided on a statewide ban! Thank you for joining with us to protect California's bobcats.
Introduced by Representative Zachary J. Cook, House Bill 586 would have removed cougars from the list of game animals, making it legal for New Mexico residents to kill an unlimited number of cougars, any time, any where. House Bill 586 served no purpose other than to encourage residents to eradicate cougars and reduce funding to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Thanks to overwhelming opposition, the bill did not make it past the House Regulatory & Public Affairs Committee, and is officially dead!
The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission approved a petition to allow dogs to be used to hunt mountain lions year round in all areas of the state located outside of the Black Hills Fire Protection District. Hounding is a cruel, outdated blood sport that unfortunately will now be allowed to further decimate South Dakota's small, fragile mountain lion population.
Assembly Member Bloom authored AB 2657 to prohibit the use of rodenticides or products containing certain second-generation anticoagulants in environmentally sensitive areas, such as state parks. These harsh chemicals, intended to curb the rodent population, are working their way up the food chain and killing hundreds of wild animals — particularly those that would control the rodent population naturally.
Introduced by Senator Linda Holmes, SB 3049 will amend the Illinois Wildlife Code to add the Gray wolf, American black bear, and Cougar to the list of protected species. These animals are currently very rare or nonexistent in the state. Proactive Senate Bill 3049 will become law on January 1, 2015 to help protect immigrants of these species to pave the way for their recovery in Illinois.
In 2012, SB 1221 banned the use of hounds when hunting bears or bobcats in California. No longer could hunters release packs of unsupervised dogs into wilderness areas to chase bears or bobcats — often for hours and over miles of terrain — so a hunter could arrive at his leisure, take aim and shoot the exhausted animal out of a tree. A handful of frustrated hunters wanting to use their dogs again introduced Assembly Bill 2205 to undercut the recent ban. Thankfully, this bill failed to pass the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and is officially dead!
In 2012, the Nebraska legislature passed Legislative Bill 928 allowing a mountain lion hunting season. Senator Leroy Louden of Ellsworth introduced the bill in response to increased sightings of the cats. Outraged by the supposed need to lethally control the state's estimated 22 mountain lions, Senator Ernie Chambers introduced LB 671 to repeal Louden's legislation. LB 671 made it all the way to the Governor's desk, but unfortunately was vetoed. Senator Chambers has made it clear this is not the end of his fight to stop the hunt.
Washington state Senators Brian Dansel and Don Benton coauthored a bill as part of the latest attempt to force the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to allow trophy hunters to use hounds to kill cougars for fun. The bill failed to make it out of the Senate by the February 18th deadline and was effectively killed. Thank you to everyone who helped stopped this bad bill.
The killing of two mountain lion kittens in Half Moon Bay, California, sparked legislation to change how the California Department of Fish and Wildlife handles mountain lion public safety situations. Senate Bill 132, introduced by Senator Jerry Hill, requires less-than-lethal force to be used in potential public safety situations and allows qualified individuals and organizations to partner with the Department. The bill was signed by Governor Brown in September and will become California state law January 1, 2014.
Early in the morning commute a male mountain lion was struck and killed by a car on Highway 101 near the town of Buellton, California. This is a common form of death for lions in Southern California. What makes this instance unique is that a motorist stopped, sawed off the animal's paws and genitals for possible sale on the black market, then tossed the carcass into a nearby gully in an effort to hide the evidence.
Claiming that an attempt to capture two house cat-sized mountain lion kittens would be too dangerous, on December 1st the California Department of Fish & Game chose to shoot them instead. MLF, the public, and wildlife rescue groups throughout California called out the Department, saying their actions were unjustified and unacceptable treatment of a state protected mammal. As a result, Department policies and procedures are being revised. MLF is also working with Senator Jerry Hill on SB 132 to make nonlethal options mandatory.
South Dakota's Game, Fish & Parks Commission approved a hunting season for the 2012-2013 that would kill between 70 and 100 lions in the Black Hills alone. Despite MLF's best efforts to prevent the killing with sound science and support from the majority of South Dakotans, and the devastating slaughter kicked off the day after Christmas. Because lion hunting is unlimited in the rest of the state (outside the Black Hills region), a total of 110 to 140 mountain lions are likely to be killed in 2013, not counting orphaned kittens. The population may already be lower than that.
Although, HR 4089, the so-called "Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012," passed the U. S. House of Representatives in 2012, it died a quiet death in the Senate as the legislative session came to a close. HR 4089 was a highly controversial bill that combined several hunting proposals into one package claiming hunting is a beneficial activity which can occur on Federal public lands (including wilderness areas and wildlife refuges) without "adverse effects on other uses or users." We are glad to see this bill die.
Just one week after assuming the presidency of the California Department of Fish and Game Commission, Dan Richards' photo appeared in an outdoors hunting blog, holding up a freshly killed mountain lion trophy. Mountain lions are a specially protected mammal in California. Not so in Idaho, where Richards accepted a free lion hunt from a trophy hunting ranch. The gift was determined by California to be a breach of ethics. Richards was removed from the presidency by his fellow commissioners and he was not reappointed after his term expired in January 2013.
Unfortunately, California Fish and Game Commissioner Jim Kellogg was reconfirmed for another six-year term by the Senate Rules Committee on January 9, 2013 by a vote of 4:1. This unfortunate re-appointment was likely a "done deal" from the get-go. It seemed apparent that none of the senators had read any of the many letters of opposition from more than twenty environmental/animal organizations.
On Friday, July 13th, California Assembly Bill 1784 — authorizing scientific research on mountain lions in California — was signed by Governor Jerry Brown, making the bill a law. AB 1784, introduced by Assembly Member Bill Monning, is the culmination of work that occurred over more than a year by the Mountain Lion Foundation and other concerned parties to restore lion research after the California Department of Fish and Game suddenly decided at the beginning of 2011 that there was no legal statute allowing them to authorize research on mountain lions.
Although they dropped the term "unlimited," the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) has drastically increased quotas and finalized plans that will effectively eradicate lions in their portion of the Black Hills to enrich a few greedy ranchers. Within the two already over-harvested hunting zones (HA 1 and HA 30), combined with the newly created Hunt Area 32, WGFD has authorized the death of approximately half the lions in the region so that local ranchers can carry on lucrative mountain lion hunts long after the Black Hills lion harvest quota has been reached on public lands.
On Friday, May 18, 2012 mountain lion advocates cheered as Missouri Senate Bill 738 officially died in committee. Mountain lions can now rest a little easier in the show me state. SB 738 would have declared open season on lions, allowing anyone to kill a lion at any time, for any reason, and in effect encouraged the extermination of this rare animal.