Hunter education on mountain lions OK'd

Summit Daily News
BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

GREELEY – In response to hunters and wildlife advocates, the Colorado Wildlife Commission has mandated hunter education on the not-so-obvious differences between male and female mountain lions.

The goal of Thursday’s action is to prevent hunters from killing female mountain lions with kittens, which would die without their mother to care for them. Training rules kick in Jan. 1, 2007. Details will be considered once the program is developed.

Among the differences – males are larger, have bigger paws and longer strides than females.

The commission received petitions supporting the program from Sinapu, a Boulder-based wildlife advocacy group, the Colorado Outfitters Association and the United Houndsmen.

“I think it’s a huge victory. It’s going to protect the female population,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring, director of Sinapu’s carnivore protection program.

Keefover-Ring said she believed Colorado is the first state to mandate such education for hunters.

Commissioners, which sets policy for the state Division of Wildlife, also lowered the maximum number of mountain lions that can be killed next year to 557 from 567, a slight decrease compared with last year’s drop to 567 from 790. Members also approved a 10-year study of mountain lions on the Uncompahgre Plateau in western Colorado to establish basic data on mountain lions and shape management policy.

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