Arizona Game and Fish Opposes Proposed Wild Cat Hunting Ban

Dec 6, 2017

A proposed statewide ballot initiative would ban all hunting of wild cats in Arizona. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission has voted to oppose the measure.

According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, between 250 and 350 mountain lions are killed annually by hunters who receive tags year round. The animal's statewide population ranges between 2,000 and 2,700.
Credit Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The commission voted unanimously earlier this week against the proposal to outlaw hunting bobcats, mountain lions and other large cats in Arizona. Members say the initiative would restrict the department’s ability to manage wildlife and isn’t based on science.

The group Arizonans for Wildlife proposed the measure, and says wild cats are trophy hunted for their heads and fur using cruel, but legal, methods like steel-jawed traps and packs of dogs. They say state wildlife managers and lawmakers have failed to adequately protect wild cats in the state.

The group must collect 150,000 signatures by July for the initiative to appear on the 2018 ballot.

According to Game and Fish, hunters kill between 250 and 350 mountain lions every year in the state along with approximately 2,000 bobcats