For Immediate Release
Avon, CO. Reacting to opposition by Sinapu and The Colorado Wildlife Alliance, today the United Houndsmen of Colorado pulled their request to open up the bobcat-hunting season by approximately two weeks.
Sinapu and The Colorado Wildlife Alliance warned the Commission that the Hounsdmen’s proposal and the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s recommendation to open up the season would cause unintended consequences for lynx, potentially hurt bobcat populations, and set a poor precedent for public processes.
At the March 10 hearing of the Wildlife Commission,the United Houndsmen requested that the bobcat-hunting season open simultaneously with the mountain lion season.
“On the same day that the Wildlife Commission adopted a new policy for citizens who bring petitions to the Commission, they immediately bent their own rule and allowed the Houndsmen’s request to move forward without so much as a petition to the Wildlife Commission,” said Dave Jones, President of The Colorado Wildlife Alliance.”
Sinapu in its April 27th letter and in testimony today, requested that the state take steps to protect lynx from the threat of houndsmen and their dogs. Under agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state must ensure that no more than 2 lynx are accidentally killed by bobcat hunters each year, but the effects from lion hunters were never evaluated.
“We still have significant concerns about lynx protections,” said Rob Edward, Director for Sinapu’s Carnivore Restoration Program. “We want the Division of Wildlife to institute measures to ensure that lynx will not be accidentally killed by mountain lion hunters.”
Bobcat pelt prices are at a historic high, commanding over $400 for a top-quality pelt. Forty years of data show that high prices accelerate bobcat hunting and trapping. Yet, the state allows unlimited hunting of bobcats. In 1975, bobcats were listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) because they were so severally trapped out of their range in the U.S. and elsewhere.
“We asked the Commission to limit the total number of bobcats that can be killed each year because there’s historic precedent for overkill,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring. “Right now the state is not moving towards bobcat management using the best available science,” she added. “It’s more like close your eyes and hope for the best. Even though the Houndsmen pulled their request, we think the state should address how it’s managing bobcats.”