SB22-031 Prohibit Hunting Bobcat, Lynx and Mountain Lion in Colorado – Dave Shaffer
So, it looks like the Anti’s are at it again here in Colorado.
Bill SB22-031 has been introduced into the Colorado General Assembly which would prohibit hunting bobcat, lynx (already protected) and mountain lions here in Colorado. It provides exceptions such as: unless immediately necessary to protect an individual from bodily harm, protecting livestock, etc. Violation is punishable by a fine of $500-$2,000 or up to one year in jail and suspending the person’s hunting license for up to 5 years, among other things. Here’s the link: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb22-031
You may recall that back in 1992, the Colorado Black Bear Hunting Restriction Initiative (Initiative 10), was approved prohibiting black bear hunting using bait or dogs and between March 1 and September 1.
Then in 2020, Proposition 114, a ballot initiative was passed directing the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to develop a plan to introduce gray wolves into Colorado, getting “paws on the ground” by 2023. And just last month according to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) news release, https://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/News-Release-Details.aspx?NewsID=8030 CPW wildlife officers confirmed a wolf depredation incident has occurred on a domestic calf in North Park, near Walden Colorado.
What does all of this have in common? Mountain lions, black bears, and wolves are all predators which can and do have an impact on Colorado’s elk and deer populations. I’ve been speaking with Colorado Parks & Wildlife Managers and Biologists across the state, and they report that combined with drought, predation is already negatively affecting elk and deer populations in some areas. The primary issue is the impact of these predators on calf/fawn recruitment (surviving and integrating with the population). These negative effects will only intensify if/when we stop hunting lions and wolf introduction begins. And what about grizzlies which may (eventually will) move south into Colorado and take their place as Apex predators as well?
All of this will eventually reduce herd sizes in Colorado which will result in fewer licenses being issued. And perhaps replacing hunters with “natural” predators to balance the herds is the Anti’s intent. Whether or not you agree with that approach is up to you. But what happens when unchecked (unhunted & unafraid of human) mountain lions, wolves and grizzlies begin attacking those same Anti’s when they’re out for a Saturday afternoon hike in the mountains. What then?
Please contact Colorado’s legislators and voice a dissenting opinion on this one before it’s too late!