Arizona's Kofa Wildlife Refuge
Photo of landsacape.


Help close "open hunting" in which an unlimited number of mountain lions can be killed during hunting season.

Mountain Lions in Arizona are losing their habitat to human development resulting in increased stress, competition, and human/lion contact. Arizona allows an unlimited number of hunting tags for mountain lions and every hunter is allowed one mountain lion take per year. On top of this the Arizona Game and Fish Department has killed at least seven mountain lions for instinctually preying on big horn sheep being reintroduced into the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson.

  • Return to the portal page for Arizona.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Arizona.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Arizona.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Arizona.

  • Cougar science and research in Arizona.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

More About What's Going on In Arizona:

The Arizona Fish and Game Department estimates that annual lion harvests range somewhere between 250 and 350 animals per year, with 12 percent attributed to predator control efforts. Hunting methods permitted in Arizona are nearly unrestricted. The use of artificial light (spotlighting) is permitted, and dogs may be used to corner or tree lions to aid in the success of the hunt. Depredation law in Arizona allows landowner or lessee to take any depredating lion using leg hold traps without teeth, leg snares, firearms, and "other legal hunting weapons and devices."

Furthermore, according to Arizona’s predator management policy the AZGFD may design lion take limits for hunters, trappers, and department personnel to promote larger ungulate (deer, elk, bighorn sheep, etc.) populations for hunting.

Here's what you can do:

Immediate Steps:

  1. Build a coalition to learn from and educate people on how to peacefully coexist with the mountain lion population.
  2. Contribute a positive voice. Write a letter to your local newspaper expressing your excitement about local mountain lions and your views on the importance of protecting them.
  3. Distribute educational information on how residents can protect their pets and livestock. Consider animal shelters, veterinary clinics, 4H clubs, Scouting organizations, FFA, shooting clubs, and any other pertinent public locations as potential outlets.
  4. Email and suggest local officials friendly to mountain lion conservation in Arizona.

Interim Steps:

  1. Become familiar with Arizona hunting and wildlife policies. Reach out to MLF and wildlife experts. Then attend relevant town, commission and council meetings and ask them to:
    1. Develop a Mountain Lion Management Plan that will protect mountain lion habitat
    2. Call for a habitat impact assessment to be conducted prior to expanding human development
    3. Demand an economic analysis of taxpayer costs involved in state mountain lion kills
  2. Do you know of a state official that may understand the importance of protecting mountain lions in Arizona? Write to them:
    1. Request to shorten the mountain lion hunting season
    2. Request the removal of mountain lions from game species classification
    3. Ask them to ensure non-lethal steps are required to remove or deter mountain lions from damaging property before considering lethal action.
    4. Demand a stop to the use of hounds and artificial light when hunting lions.
  3. Long term Steps:

    1. Request to meet with your state legislators to talk about developing a liability initiative to incentivize or require owners be take certain measures to protect their pets or livestock from mountain lions.
    2. Write to state officials and challenge the morality and effectiveness of the state predator management policy especially as it pertains to the Catalina bighorn sheep reintroduction

ON AIR: Phil Carter - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

03/19/13 An Audio Interview with Julie West, MLF Broadcaster

In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews mountain lion program manager Phil Carter of Animal Protection of Arizona. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the Arizona Department of Game and Fish will go to to disregard the public, bury scientific research, and ignore all common sense. Trying to protect mountain lions in Arizona and incorporate the best science into management has turned into a game of one step forward, two steps back.

Click here to view our Activist Guide...

Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

Arizona Game and Fish Department

Commonly abbreviated as: AZGFD

Ty Gray, Director

Main Office:
5000 W. Carefree Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85086
(602) 942-3000

Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in Arizona.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.