With regard to the current petitions now being circulated, aimed at outlawing the legal hunting of mountain lions & bobcats by Arizona citizens. They are being circulated by an anti-hunting group calling themselves Arizonans for Wildlife. In reality this is the work of the money focused Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Their goal with this action is to get Arizona voters to reject a century of sound scientific wildlife management from our Arizona Game & Fish Department biologists. The HSUS would prefer to manage wildlife with the ballot box. Their campaign will be based on emotion and will contain very little science.
What are the real goals of HSUS? Fundraising first and foremost and ultimately, they want to eliminate all hunting in the United States of America.
They are adept at raising large amounts of money off the backs of unsuspecting donors, and Humane Watch has exposed many of their tactics. You can read about it at https://www.humanewatch.org/
The CEO and President of the HSUS, Wayne Pacelle was quoted in the spring of 2004 with this:
"We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States...We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state."
It is important to understand that the hunting of lions and all predators has its place in wildlife management in all westerns states. Each of the state's wildlife management divisions have developed regulations for predator hunting after years of research and science to properly manage within local ecosystems.
Arizona has a relatively small population of elk, mule deer and an even smaller population of Coues whitetail deer. Arizona's desert bighorn sheep numbers are even smaller! The number one threat to these animals, as fawns, calves, kids, adult deer, elk, and wild sheep are lions.
That being said, taking away the legal right for citizens to hunt lions (and bobcats) will not stop the hunting of lions. The responsibility of managing these animals will then be left 100% in the hands of government agencies, who will employ hired government sharpshooters using collared hounds to track down and kill those wild cats (mountain lions) that become active threats to society.
This WILL happen, all you have to do is look at what has happened in neighboring California. In 1990, California voters turned their mountain lion management over to the ballot box. The result...California taxpayers now pay to kill depredating mountain lions. The California Fish and Game Department annually issues a large number of depredation tags to kill (manage) mountain lions.
In summary, outlawing the legal hunting of mountain lions and bobcats in Arizona will take a large amount of revenue away from our states wildlife management agencies, increase government spending and increase the mortality rates of deer and elk. Lions are very territorial and as their numbers increase and they move closer to urban areas, conflicts with humans will become more frequent.
Humans continue to alter the dynamics of North America's outdoors as society's numbers grow. We simply cannot give over the future of Arizona's natural world to the whims of the ballot box. Let's have our thoughtful brains, not our emotional hearts, make decisions beneficial to all of Arizona's wildlife! That includes the continued legal hunting of wild cats in Arizona.
Let’s allow Arizona Game and Fish to continue to manage ALL the wildlife in Arizona as it has done for almost 100 years. AZGFD has the science and data to continue providing management that balances all wildlife here in Arizona.
For More Info about this issue and the HSUS please visit;
Here are some facts:
Arizona voters deserve to know the truth about this issue and the following are FACTS:
- There is NO SUCH THING AS TROPHY hunting of mountain lions in our state, so no hunting ban is needed to stop it.
- Jaguars, ocelots and Canadian lynx (the latter of which doesn't exist here) are already federally protected so no hunting ban is needed to protect them.
- Data from our wildlife agency shows healthy populations of mountain lions and bobcats given their sustainable habitat. Their numbers are not and never will be in danger due to managed hunting. A ban on hunting is not needed to protect their numbers.
- Habitat loss due to increased human population and activity is the primary reason for population decreases of many species in recent history. A hunting ban does nothing to solve the problem of habitat loss and can potentially do harm when unmanaged populations exceed available habitat. Our state wildlife agency is trained to react to changes in habitat and has successfully managed over 800+ species through these changes for nearly 100 years.
- Arizonans for Wildlife (aka Humane Society of the United States) has not provided data, specific to Arizona, showing expected mountain lion growth following a hunting ban and the effect of more cats in a finite habitat.
The voters deserve to see the environmental impact study the HSUS conducted in Arizona regarding the ban on hunting wild cats.