Colorado legislators introduce S.B. 31, a bill to protect mountain lions, bobcats and Canada lynx from hunting

For immediate release

Date: January 14, 2022

Logan Christian, Region 2 Conservation Advocate, Mountain Lion Foundation
916-442-2666 ext. 108

Colorado legislators introduce S.B. 31, a bill to protect mountain lions, bobcats and Canada lynx from hunting.

Colorado – On Thursday, January 13, Colorado legislators introduced S.B. 31, a bill that would end the hunting and trapping of mountain lions, bobcats and Canada lynx in the state of Colorado. Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis (Boulder County), Sen. Joann Ginal (Fort Collins), Rep. Monica Duran (Wheat Ridge) and Rep. Judy Amabile (Boulder) are championing the legislation.

In Colorado, hundreds of mountain lions and thousands of bobcats are killed each year. Hounds are used to chase and corner lions to be shot by a hunter, while traps are commonly used to capture bobcats and shoot them at close range. The bill would end this recreational hunting and trapping of these two species, while also protecting the Canada lynx in case it loses its protection under the Endangered Species Act in the future.

Polling data from Colorado shows that more than two-thirds of Coloradans oppose the hunting of these wild cat species. The public has long viewed the pursuit of wild cats as ‘trophy hunting,’ where the primary motivation is to capture and kill animals for bragging rights or displaying the carcass, even if the meat is consumed. In addition to public support, a broad coalition of wildlife conservation organizations are supporting S.B. 31, including Mountain Lion Foundation, Humane Society of the United States, Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, Sierra Club Colorado, WildEarth Guardians and Boulder Bear Coalition.

Logan Christian, Region 2 Conservation Advocate for Mountain Lion Foundation, said, “We are proud to support S.B. 31 and applaud the legislators who are taking this bold effort to end the hunting and trapping of Colorado’s wild cats. Hunting disturbs the social structure of mountain lions and other wild cats, often exacerbating conflicts between these species and humans. Colorado’s wild cats already face mounting threats from highways, urban expansion and climate change. Removing hunting as an additional source of mortality will help protect the long-term persistence of these species.”

Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis from Boulder County, one of the legislators who introduced the bill, said, “We know that 72% of Colorado residents believe that our state’s beautiful mountain lions and bobcats should not be hunted as trophies, yet, hunters kill hundreds each year. Mountain lions self-regulate their population sizes and very few livestock are killed by them in Colorado. We do not need to be hunting these gorgeous animals for sport in our state.”

The bill includes exemptions for killing wild cats when necessary to protect livestock, public safety or to euthanize an injured animal.

For updates from Mountain Lion Foundation on how to support this legislation, sign up at

Utah Wildlife Board votes 4-3 to ban trail cameras for most hunting purposes, shortens the seasonal timeframe of the ban to give more opportunity to mountain lion hunters, and removes some protections for collared lions.

For immediate release

Date: January 5, 2022

Logan Christian, Conservation Advocate, Mountain Lion Foundation
916-442-2666 ext. 108

Utah Wildlife Board votes 4-3 to ban trail cameras for most hunting purposes, shortens the seasonal timeframe of the ban to give more opportunity to mountain lion hunters, and removes some protections for collared lions.

Utah – On Tuesday, January 4, the Utah Wildlife Board voted 4-3 to approve a proposed rule change that will ban the use of trail cameras for aiding in the take of wildlife (i.e. for hunting purposes). The new rule will go into effect from July 31 to December 31 of each year, covering most of Utah’s big game hunting seasons. The original proposed timeframe of the ban was July 31 to January 31, but an amendment shortened the timeframe to December 31 to give more opportunity to mountain lion hunters who use trail cameras. This new rule will apply to both internal storage cameras and transmitting trail cameras that display images to users in real time. The rule change also prohibits the use of night-vision devices during any big game hunt, including 48 hours before and after a big game hunt, and prohibits the sale or distribution of images from trail cameras used for aiding the take of wildlife.

Over the past year, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) administered several surveys to inform their proposed rule change. These surveys found that the majority of Utah hunters do not support the use of trail cameras for hunting purposes, mostly due to concerns about fair chase. Utah’s consideration of the trail camera issue comes as many other states limit the use of trail cameras for hunting purposes, including Nevada in 2018 and Arizona in 2021.

Several Board and Regional Advisory Council (RAC) members voiced concerns about enforcement of the new trail camera ban. The RACs only approved the ban by a 3-2 margin, with the two opposing RACs requesting that Utah adopt something similar to Nevada’s ban that applies to all trail cameras instead of those used for hunting, which makes enforcement easier. Board Member Bryce Thurgood motioned to amend the rule change to apply to all trail cameras, but the DWR’s lawyer clarified that the agency does not have authority to limit trail camera use outside of hunting without authorization from the legislature. Utah State Representative Mike Schultz was present and agreed to take up the issue of a more all-encompassing seasonal trail camera ban in the legislature at a future time.

Board Member Wade Heaton also called for a future action item to explore limiting other emerging technologies that reduce fair chase hunting practices, such as scopes for muzzleloaders. The Division’s Big Game Coordinator, Covy Jones, supported this idea, saying the Division will help “look at technologies that impact harvest success, form a committee to address these issues, and then get some public sentiment and decide which ones to address.”

As originally proposed, the trail camera ban would have extended through January 31. Board Member Bryce Thurgood amended the rule during the meeting so that the trail camera ban would only extend through December 31 after some board members expressed a desire to give more opportunity to cougar hunters who use trail cameras. “Give the cougar hunters the month of January,” said Randy Dearth, Vice Chair of the Wildlife Board.

Mountain Lion Foundation supported the ban on trail cameras for hunting purposes, submitting comments in favor of the rule change and encouraging their statewide members to do so as well. However, the Foundation was not in support of the last minute change to give more opportunity to lion hunters who use trail cameras.

“This last minute change to promote mountain lion hunting is disappointing, but not surprising given the DWR’s recent move to allow unlimited lion hunting in over half of Utah’s hunting units,” said Logan Christian, Region 2 Conservation Advocate for Mountain Lion Foundation. “The DWR has the backing of the State Legislature to hunt lions at an unprecedented rate in the name of protecting elk and deer, despite the evidence that declining habitat quality and climate change play a far greater role in the decline of these species compared to predation. Mountain lions are just an easy scape-goat that allows the Division to sell more hunting permits.”

In line with this sentiment against cougars, later in the meeting, the Board voted to remove some limitations on killing cougars with radio collars. In 2021, the Board prohibited killing cougars with collars to help ensure quality data collection for active cougar studies. This rule included a sunset period after 3 years when hunters could resume killing collared cougars. However, on Tuesday, the Board decided to let hunters kill collared cougars as long as they are in a hunting unit that does not have an active study, despite concerns that cougars from active study areas may wander into inactive study areas.

Mountain Lions in an Era of Rapid Climate and Land-use Change

Mountain Lions in an Era of Rapid Climate and Land-use Change

The mountain lion is a widely distributed carnivore, found in tropical and temperate latitudes throughout the western hemisphere. Its habitat requirements are highly generalized, being largely defined by the presence of ungulate prey and stalking cover. The species has demonstrated incredible tenacity in the face of anthropogenic pressures during the past century. Nevertheless, western landscapes are undergoing rapid changes stemming from human population growth, land-use, and climate desiccation, raising questions about the persistence of this iconic species. Dr. David Stoner explores the relationship between mountain lions and the ecological communities that support them in an era of climate change. Dr. Stoner argues that as an obligate carnivore, mountain lions should follow the changes in the distribution of their primary herbivore prey along gradients of habitat connectivity and land-use. However, drying of western ecosystems will make human subsidized landscapes increasingly important to both mountain lions and their prey, with commensurate increases in the potential for human-wildlife conflict.

About Dr. David Stoner

Dr. David Stoner is a Research Assistant Professor and Lecturer in the Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State University. He is a graduate of the University of California and Utah State University. Over the past 25 years he has worked with state wildlife agencies in California, Utah, and Nevada on scientific investigations of mountain lions and their major prey species. He is currently focused on interactions between mule deer, mountain lions, and wild horses in the southern Great Basin.

End Federal Subsidies for States’ War on Carnivores, Move to Disqualify States from Federal Aid for Excessive Killing

For Immediate Release: Monday, September 27, 2021


Debra Chase, CEO, Mountain Lion Foundation
916-442-2666 ext. 103

End Federal Subsidies for States’ War on Carnivores

Move to Disqualify States from Federal Aid for Excessive Killing


Sacramento, CA —State game agencies could lose a substantial portion of their budgets for eradicating populations of mountain lions and other carnivores under a proposal put forward by the a coalition including the Global Indigenous Council (GIC), Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the Center for Biological Diversity, Mountain Lion Foundation, and a coalition of 25 Native American, conservation, and animal welfare organizations. The plan would deny federal wildlife management funding to states that excessively target wolves, cougars, bears, and other carnivores.

“In the midst of the sixth great extinction, we can no longer shut our eyes or run away from the problems our natural world is experiencing,” says Debra Chase, CEO of the Mountain Lion Foundation. “We need decisive action now to modernize the Pittman-Robertson Act and state agencies’ handling of mountain lions and other carnivores. It’s unethical and immoral for states to profit from the exploitation and extinction of our wildlife. If Secretary Haaland acts on our petition, this new rule will hold states accountable to the public they serve and the wildlife they are committed to protect when they ignore sound science and seek to profit by inflating population count and undercounting killings of our carnivores.”

Since the removal of federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves, states across the country have expanded controversial carnivore control programs that have long also been used against mountain lions, including trophy hunting, hunting contests, and trapping, without regard for maintaining sustainable populations or the integrity of ecosystems.

The coalition’s rule-making petition calls on Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland to adopt regulations making states ineligible to receive grants under the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration and Sport Fish Restoration Acts if they allow hunting and trapping at levels that compromise healthy populations of wildlife, including carnivores. That condition is currently required under law but without an enforcement mechanism – a hole this petition would fill.

Under this proposal, Secretary Haaland, following public comment, would decide if a state applying for a federal grant is pursuing wildlife management practices inconsistent with the national goal of naturally diverse wildlife populations and healthy predator-prey dynamics.

This federal aid constitutes a significant portion of state game agency budgets across the country.  This year, approximately $1 billion in federal aid was funneled to state game agency coffers.

The petition is a reaction to recent actions in states such as Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wisconsin to, in essence, declare open season on wolves. In addition, the petition targets practices such as use of dogs to hunt mountain lions and bears, baiting and snaring of bears, “judas” wolf collaring, shooting bears, wolves, and their young in dens, aerial spotting for land-and-shoot removals, and nighttime hunting with artificial lights.

Groups sponsoring the petition are: GIC, PEER, and the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society of the US, The Native Conservancy, The 06 Legacy, Alaskans for Wildlife, Attorneys for Animals, Footloose Montana, Friends of the Clearwater, Global International Council, United Tribes, Mountain Lion Foundation, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Oasis Earth, Predator Defense, Project Coyote, Project Eleven Hundred, Protect Our Wildlife, Sierra Club-Toiyabe Chapter, Southwest Environmental Center, The Endangered Species Coalition, The International Wildlife Coexistence Network,  The Rewilding Institute, Washington Wildlife First, Western Wildlife Outreach, Wildearth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, and Professor Adrian Treves of the University of Wisconsin.


Read the rule-making petition

Sign on to the letter of public support

Note $1 billion federal aid contribution this year to state game agencies$1-billion-sent-to-state-wildlife-agencies-bolstering-conservation-&_ID=36849

Look at state-by-state breakdown of federal aid to game agencies

Founded in 1986, the Mountain Lion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to ensure that America’s lion survives and flourishes in the wild.


Statements from Leaders of Signatory Groups

The 06 Legacy,

“For too long, states in the Northern Rockies have directed dollars meant for conservation to the slaughter of America’s iconic predators. This rule will give us a chance to end the misuse of Pittman-Robertson dollars.” – Karol Miller, President, The 06 Legacy

Attorneys for Animals,

“When states try to unleash trappers and hunters on wolves, this rule will enable us to raise our concerns in Washington and pressure authorities to change course.” – Bee Friedlander, J.D., President, Attorneys for Animals

Center for Biological Diversity,

“Federal officials must stop ignoring the use of conservation funding by anti-wolf states to slaughter ecologically important carnivores. Federal wildlife management funds should only be given to states that can be trusted to conserve their wildlife for all Americans.” – Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation program director at the Center for Biological Diversity.


Endangered Species Coalition,

“Anti-wolf hysteria driven by special interests is threatening gray wolves like never before. This rule will give us a powerful tool to fight back by airing our concerns before states receive their Pittman-Robertson wildlife funding.” – Tara Thornton, Deputy Director, Endangered Species Coalition

Footloose Montana,

“Alarmingly, wildlife management in western states is moving toward colonial-era violence. Profiteers driving the commercialization and privatization of wildlife are outfitters, commercial trappers, trophy hunters and landowners including governors, legislators and fish and wildlife agencies. In this new world of wildlife management, bounties are paid to hunters and trappers by private organizations for each wolf killed, trophy hunters pay enormous sums to kill a wolf, a bear, an elk– the Safari Club International-style–absent any ethics and without concern for the impact on species, the torture by snares and traps or the health of ecosystems.” – Anja Heister, PhD, co-founder and board member of Footloose Montana, a Missoula-based nonprofit organization promoting trap-free public lands for people, pets and wildlife.

Heister adds, “The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which has been a protective shield for ‘sportsmen,’ has shown to be impotent in preventing extremists among them–thrill killers and predator haters–from hijacking state wildlife management, while cutting out the public from decision-making on wild animals.”

Global Indigenous Council, (703) 980-4595

“These wolf extermination bills passed and signed into law by rightwing extremists at the state level demonstrate that they are not only hunting democracy to extinction, they are also conflating Euro-Medieval sadism with so-called wildlife management to the same ends with wolves.” – Rain, Executive Director of the GIC and acclaimed film director.

Oasis Earth,

“Apex predators are vital to the health of ecosystems across America. This proposed rule will require the Interior Secretary to ensure that all state wildlife agencies receiving federal Pittman Robertson wildlife restoration funds fully protect these species.” – Rick Steiner, Director, Oasis Earth

Predator Defense,

“States have been steadily pushing gray wolves back towards extinction since delisting in 2011,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. “With this rule we can keep the federal government from helping states kill wolves with funds specifically meant to help wildlife.”

Project Coyote,

“States have consistently demonstrated that they are beholden to a client service model catering to a declining demographic that focuses on consumptive uses over all other values for wildlife. In the face of climate and biodiversity crises, state wildlife policy needs to align with evidence-based conservation goals and broader public values. These excellent amendments to the Pittman-Robertson Act are a momentous step in the right direction.” – Michelle L. Lute, PhD, National Carnivore Conservation Manager, Project Coyote

Project Eleven Hundred,

“The work of state public land managers has implications for all wildlife — including pollinators. This rule will help ensure that funding decisions are based on science and consider direct and indirect consequences for diverse species.” – Mary O’Brien, PhD, Executive Director, Project Eleven Hundred

Protect Our Wildlife,

“These regulations will ensure that Vermont’s leaders are held accountable for allowing trappers to maim and kill wildlife with weapons that have been banned elsewhere. Protect Our Wildlife urges Secretary Haaland to adopt the proposed rule.” – Brenna Galdenzi, President, Protect Our Wildlife

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility,

“A healthy predator-prey relationship is necessary for healthy wildlife populations as a whole. No state, including Alaska, should receive millions of dollars in federal wildlife restoration aid each year, while they continue ecologically destructive efforts to severely reduce or eliminate populations of wolves, bears, coyotes, and mountain lions.” – Rick Steiner, a PEER Board member, conservation specialist, and retired University of Alaska professor.

Sierra Club, Toiyabe Chapter,

“Predators are integral parts of healthy ecosystems. Nevada and the Eastern Sierra need science-based, participatory wildlife management to maintain predators’ essential roles. This rule will help us secure that management.” – Brian Beffort, Director, Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter

Southwest Environmental Center,

“The taxpayer-funded, state-sanctioned slaughter of predators must end. Under this rule, states will have to consider science and the voices of the vast majority of the public who oppose killing wolves – or risk losing their Pittman-Robertson dollars.” – Kevin Bixby, Executive Director, Southwest Environmental Center

Western Watersheds Project,

“The Biodiversity Crisis is one of the main problems facing our planet, and our own species, yet there are state agencies and legislatures that are pursuing anti-wildlife policies that are making it worse,” said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist and Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project. “If states are going to participate in wildlife-killing programs or push extinction agendas for species like wolves and prairie dogs that they find economically inconvenient, then they should absolutely be denied federal funding.”

Western Wildlife Outreach,

“Western Wildlife Outreach supports the GIC and PEER Petition for Rulemaking. Rulemaking will ensure states receiving Pittman Robertson Wildlife Restoration funds are determined to be eligible through a review of their wildlife management practices and consideration of input from public stakeholders. Responsible state stewardship of wildlife, particularly predators, must be evident.” – Lynn Okita, Board Chair, Western Wildlife Outreach

Wildearth Guardians,

Pittman-Robertson dollars are intended to support wildlife and the ecosystems they call home. The state-led war on carnivores is the antithesis of conservation and should not be fueled by funds earmarked for wildlife preservation. – Lindsay Larris, Wildlife Program Director, WildEarth Guardians

Wyoming Wildlife Advocates,

“Wyoming continues to allow for the killing of nearly half of their wolves each year and only manages for the minimum number of the species, not for healthy or biodiverse ecosystems. For the state to continue to receive federal grants, they need to think more holistically about large carnivore management. One hundred and sixty wolves for 97,000 square miles is not a sustainable population.” – Kristin Combs, Executive Director, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates

Independent Scientist

The global scientific community long ago reached consensus that competing interests hold back the progress of science because special interests pay for research that burnishes their images not for better approximations of reality. To reform the current U.S. system of financing most wildlife research, we should create a firewall between special interests in wildlife, such as the hunting industry, and the funding of wildlife research. That task begins with reform of PR funding mechanisms.” – Prof. Adrian Treves, PhD, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison,