DENVER – A Colorado woman is hoping to change the hunting laws in Colorado.
Telluride-based veterinarian Christine Capaldo is petitioning Colorado Parks and Wildlife to stop issuing hunting permits for bobcats.
“I was actually shocked to learn that bobcat hunting and trapping is still occurring in this day and age,” Capaldo said.
She says she has been researching bobcat hunting in Colorado for the past two-and-a-half years and in November 2018, she submitted a petition to CPW formally asking for a ban.
“There is no need to kill bobcats. This is not conservation,” Capaldo said. “The citizens of Colorado and tourists coming to Colorado want to see bobcats alive.”
Currently, hunters and trappers can harvest bobcats from December to February with a CPW-issued license.
“Bobcats are no different than any of our other species that we hunt in Colorado,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Lauren Truitt told FOX31. “Bobcat hunters and trappers have to bring every animal into a Colorado Parks and Wildlife location. It is personally inspected by one of our staff members.”
According to CPW, between 1,500 and 1,800 bobcats are harvested per season. A state report indicates those numbers are growing.
“This increasing harvest trend generally follows increases in prices for bobcat pelts,” the 2016-2017 Furbearer Management Report says.
Capaldo says she also wants to institute a bobcat hunting ban to keep Colorado’s bobcat pelts from being sold for profit.
“They’re killing the animals typically by strangulation. This causes immense pain and prolonged suffering,” she said.
The Colorado Trappers and Predator Hunters Association is against the proposal. The association’s website states that the petition “is filled with misleading information and inaccurate data.”
They also worry that restrictions on bobcat hunting could lead to further hunting restrictions in Colorado.
It will now be up to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to decide the fate of bobcats in the state.
On Thursday, May 9, the commission will discuss the petition at its meeting in Grand Junction. The panel could make a final decision at that time or they could wait until a later date.
“The commission will do its due diligence and hear testimony from all sides and really try to make the most informed decision, not only for the social portion of wildlife management but also the biologic components as well,” Truitt said.
If a ban on bobcat hunting is put in place, CPW says Colorado residents should not expect to see an increase in animals or animal encounters.
“Even if you institute a ban or a reduction in hunting opportunities, it doesn’t mean the animals aren’t still being managed. Someone else is just managing them for the state,” Truitt said.
Bobcats typically live in more mountainous areas of Colorado. They are present in the foothills and will often be found in areas with large populations of cottontail rabbits.
“Our populations of bobcats are very stable and in many cases they’re increasing,” Truitt said.