Idaho Fish & Game Commission Adopts Heinous Department Recommendations for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 Hunting Seasons:
At their most recent meeting on Thursday, March 18, 2021, the Idaho Fish & Game Commission voted to support the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (Department)’s recommendation to remove hunting quotas and allow for the use of electronic calls to hunt mountain lions statewide. This means that mountain lions can now be lured to their death by the use of electronic calls with no limit throughout the state.
This decision was clearly in favor of the special interests of hunters and not in favor of mountain lions, which the Commission is supposed to preserve and protect. The Department used the usual justification of reducing predation on deer and elk and reducing human conflicts and livestock depredations to back their recommendations.
We fear, however, that the opposite will occur. Numerous studies have found that human-lion conflicts increase in heavily hunted populations. Ignoring the science will only exacerbate the problem. Catering to hunters, citing “increased opportunity” for the justification for the removal of hunt quotas and the use of electronic calls is not only unsustainable, it is unethical.
In February 2021, we submitted comments to the Commissioners urging them not to adopt the Department’s recommendations and reminding them of their responsibility under I.C. § 36-103 to preserve, protect, perpetuate and manage all wildlife in Idaho, including mountain lions. We voiced our concern that the the current mountain lion management plan is outdated by over 10 years and that the proposals, if approved, would not preserve, protect, or perpetuate mountain lions in Idaho. We pointed out that a call to remove quotas for mountain lion hunting statewide is unsustainable and that requesting approval for the use of electronic calls “to provide additional opportunity” is unethical and does not constitute fair chase. We urged the Commission to:
- Begin the process of drafting a new mountain lion management plan based on up-to-date science and current mountain lion data for the state of Idaho;
- Set sustainable hunting quotas statewide based on the best estimate of the current population;
- Uphold female quotas and move to remove female harvest altogether, as females contribute disproportionately to the population;
- Not to approve the use of electronic calls for mountain lion hunting in any region, as this is unethical and does not constitute fair chase.
It seems the Commission did not hear us and we have some more work to do in Idaho.
If you would like to voice your concerns with this recent decision to the Commissioners yourself, you can contact the Idaho Fish & Game Commission here.
Photo Credit: Dan Potter