On Monday, February 25th a bill was introduced to the Nevada Senate that would require one member of the Nevada Wildlife Commission to hold a four-year degree in environmental science and have expertise concerning threatened and endangered wildlife.
Commissioners serving on the nine-member panel are appointed by the governor.
Under current state law, one member must have experience advocating for conservation issues, one engaged in farming, one engaged in ranching, one representing the general public, and five who hunt or fish.
Senate Bill 184 would replace one of the hunters/fishermen with an environmental scientist.
Conservation and science would still be strongly out numbered by hunters, but SB 184 is a step in the right direction.
The Commission has not requested any input from the state's mountain lion biologists in more than a decade when setting the annual lion sport hunt quota. And despite all logic, they have continued to raise the mountain lion quota, even after more than twenty years of hunters not being able to find and kill enough cats to reach the current quota levels.
The Nevada Wildlife Commission has even approved special programs to eradicate mountain lions from specific regions (Project-22), and in one case, to pay a rancher $1,800 for each lion he kills (Jersey Valley Cattle Company).
Commission reform is long overdue. Senate Bill 184 is a good start.