DENVER (KDVR) — There’s a new push by a group to outlaw the trophy hunting of mountain lions and other large cats in Colorado.
The group, CATs (Cats Aren’t Trophies), is hoping to get this initiative on ballots for voters in Colorado to decide next November.
CATs is a collection of veterinarians, wildlife photographers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The group wants to outlaw this kind of hunting of large cats in the state because of what they say is the inhumane way that it’s done.
“We’re doing what we need to do to protect the wildlife of Colorado and bringing it directly to the voters,” CATs member Mark Surls said.
There is a stark difference between trophy hunting and wildlife management, according to Surls.
“It doesn’t do any public good,” Surls said, “it’s not a public safety issue.”
Where management controls the populations of wildlife, trophy hunting, Surls said, is a business.
“All it does is get trophies on the wall for the hunter that paid $8,000 to hire a professional hunter,” Surls said.
Surls described the process by which many large cats are hunted in the state, using hunting dogs to chase them up trees.
“You see the cat fall down from 30 feet in a tree,” Surls said. “It’s not sporting to hunt an animal that is trapped in a tree.”
Surls called this manner of hunting inhumane, motivating the group’s efforts to ban it. The group also said female mountain lions are often hunted, leading to a bigger problem for the species.
“Over 75% of a female mountain lion’s life, she has dependent young with her,” Surls said.
One hunter’s group “Backcountry Hunters and Anglers” commented on the group’s Facebook page on the issue, saying it “does not endorse advancing policies on wildlife management and decisions by state or federal legislation or voter referendums and ballot initiatives,” adding “we are obligated as an organization committed to hunters and anglers to advance sound stewardship policies that are guided by science over politics, emotion, and conjecture.”
The petition process by CATs will begin in January, they will have six months to collect 125,000 signatures for this measure to be put on a ballot for voters to decide.