A mountain lion cub rests in its mothers arms in their den one winter morning on the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyo. (Photo by Thomas D. Mangelsen. Courtesy Thomas D. Mangelsen and www.cougarfund.org)

House Bill 12, filed by Rep. Jim Allen (R–Lander) would require the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to allow trapping and snaring of mountain lions, supplanting the authority of Wyoming’s professional wildlife managers and independent Game and Fish Commission who do not currently allow lion trapping.

Allen, a hunting guide and outfitter, has reportedly described the bill as a mechanism to increase mule deer numbers by reducing predation.

Opponents say that there is no scientific evidence that lion trapping would boost deer populations, that the indiscriminate method would disproportionately kill mothers with cubs, and that game management decisions should be made by professionals, not politicians.

The bill, which as a non-budget measure needs two-thirds majority support to be considered in this year’s budget session, could be debated as early as Feb. 9.

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  1. Allowing cowboy politicians to influence or, worse, dictate wildlife management is as utterly ridicuous as allowing oil and gas CEOs write environmental laws. Oh… Right! This IS how it works in Wyoming. Shameful. Backward. So last century.

  2. The best available science has shown that cougars do not reduce ungulate populations to the extent that the lay person actually believes. Due to pressures from human hunting targeting adults, and wolves and other natural factors killing kittens, pressures from both sides are already significantly reducing mountain lion numbers.

    It would be wiser instead to take a hard look at other causes of mule deer and other ungulate decline. Research has shown that habitat loss and fragmentation has had significant impacts on may species, mule deer in Wyoming included.

    Targeting mountain lions, which are already in decline and have not been shown to be impacting deer to the extent believed, is the equivalent of not being willing to objectively look at the scientific evidence that shows that there are human induced factors leading to wildlife losses in the region. While it may feel as though hunters and trappers are doing something beneficial for mule deer, they’re actually doing the exact opposite.

  3. Yes. Relying upon the expertise of hunters and trappers has worked so well in the past. THAT is why we still have abundant natural resources, including wild animals, to pass on to the next generations.

    Oh, wait. Because we have relied on advice from coal, oil, and gas companies, there won’t be any future generations. So, who cares? Kill ALL the cougars. Kill everything.

    Death! That’s our hallmark.

    Jim Bishop

    1. This reply is meant for the comment by Tim Hebb, two spaces below:
      So, let me get this straight: We should kill more mountain lions so there are more deer for people to kill? Hmmmm…..Sure, why not?
      By the way, I simply do not believe that an animal–any animal–could be caught in a trap and be released whole and healthy. First of all, the only way a trap can fulfill it’s purpose of restraining a wild animal is to hold it so tightly that it cannot escape–that has to do some damage; then, surely a wild animal is going to struggle to free itself, meaning it will do damage to its skin and tendons and muscles that will probably lead to it’s death, directly or indirectly, even if it is released. Dogs caught in traps go straight to the vet–is that because the trap did no damage?? There aren’t any vets wandering the wilderness, waiting for your random wrong-target to be released.
      Everything on the planet is NOT ours to dispose of any way that pleases us.

  4. Indiscriminately take females and cubs. Would it not be the goal to lower the lion population down so mule deer populations can increase ?
    If you only harvest males the goal would never be reached.
    If you trap cougars with foot hold traps-non target genders (ie females and cubs) could be released therefore taking the argument away that females and cubs will be harvested.
    It amazes me in this modern world that uninformed people still think that when any animal is in a trap that it is a death sentence. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Trappers let species of all kinds loose on a daily basis AND actually cougars are caught and released often and game and fish is involved.
    The released animals are let loose UNHARMED ! If you doubt what I say ask a trapper to demonstrate it by putting his hand in a set trap. We trappers demonstrate this all the time with no harm done to our hands or fingers.
    I hope this goes into effect as the goals could be reached with the help of trappers.
    Also for the uninformed the cat population will not be reduced by hunting as it seems the in thing to NEVER harvest females and this is not what we need. Cubs are protected currently so that is a non-issue but some females must be taken to equal the balance of predator vs prey as in the case of the mule deer.