Letter: CPW needs to end mountain lion hunts
Of all the outdoor adventures I have experienced in more than four decades traversing Colorado, my solo encounter with a mountain lion last year on a trail a few miles south of Hot Sulphur Springs ranks at the top of the list.
The big cat and I locked eyes and exchanged pleasantries for several seconds before he (or she) graciously stepped off the trail and trotted nobly into the scrub. It was an exhilarating few moments with a rarely seen cougar, the proverbial “phantom of the forest.”
Unfortunately, my fond memory has since been overshadowed by the fear that the glorious wild animal that I encountered may well have been shot to death by now for no better reason than the gratification of a trophy hunter. Sadly, Colorado Parks and Wildlife allows annual cougar “harvests” even though surveys clearly show that most Coloradans oppose trophy hunting of mountain lions as well as other wild cats.
Trophy hunting of cougars serves no legitimate wildlife management purpose. Indeed, scientific studies show clearly that killing of cougars threatens not only the big cats but also has a negative trickle-down effect on non-targeted species in the wildlife chain.
Trophy killing usually entails unleashing dogs to chase down and tree an exhausted and terrified cat before shooting it to death. Whether such an action can be called “hunting” is doubtful, but there is no doubt that it cannot be called “sporting.” For this reason, surveys have shown, most legitimate hunters in Colorado oppose trophy hunting as well as trapping of wild cats.
In the next round of hunting review CPW should follow the science as well as ethical behavior and eliminate the senseless and destructive policy of allowing trophy killing of cougars. Indiscriminate killing has no place in any legitimate “management plan” of wild cat populations in Colorado and throughout the American West.
— Walter Lawrence Hixson, Akron, Ohio