Fighting to stop trophy hunting of lions in the West

https://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/11/fighting-stop-trophy-hunting-lions-west.html

by Wayne Pacelle

Trophy hunting organizations and state fish and wildlife agencies are in cahoots in the Southwest in executing ruthless mountain lion killing programs, typically involving radio telemetry equipment, packs of hounds, and rifles and bows they use to shoot lions they’ve driven into trees to kill at point-blank range. The trophy hunters are motivated by bragging rights and taxidermy (they are head hunters, and don’t eat the lions). And the states, in addition to catering to that small subset of hunters and enabling their unsporting methods of killing, view the lions as competitors with human hunters for deer and elk. In their economic calculus, every deer or elk lost to a lion is one less hunting license fee paid to the states, to paraphrase an observation from the esteemed outdoor writer Ted Williams.

But The HSUS and other wildlife protection groups are fighting back, and taking a stand for lions—in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. Last week, after legal maneuvers by WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Western Environmental Law Center, state and federal authorities temporarily halted a massive mountain lion “control” program in Colorado ostensibly designed to inflate mule deer populations, pending further environmental review.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife had entered into an agreement with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to kill hundreds of mountain lions and dozens of black bears on two study sites to determine if these massive predator-control projects could revive the Centennial State’s flagging mule deer population.

These sorts of programs are a fool’s errand. Across the Western U.S., mule deer struggle because of habitat destruction and corridor loss. In Colorado, this has been exacerbated by rampant oil and gas drilling in western Colorado with its spider web of roads and drill pads that have degraded tremendous amounts of former mule deer habitat and migration routes.

And in New Mexico, a federal judge recently rejected the State’s second attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by The HSUS and Animal Protection of New Mexico challenging the state’s Department of Game and Fish’s 2016 decision to open a cougar trapping season on public lands—for the first time in almost 50 years. Even though hounding is bad enough, it’s all the more outrageous to allow trapping and snaring programs for lions, since the lions suffer in the traps and the traps catch whatever creature is unlucky enough to trigger the device.

The Commission’s 2016 Cougar Rule radically expands cougar trapping on more than nine million acres of public trust land, including key Mexican wolf habitat, as well as expanding opportunities for trapping on private land. The risk of a cougar trap injuring or killing a Mexican wolf is high due to the similarity in size and habitat preference between the species.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, we are in full battle mode, as we conduct the signature-gathering campaign to qualify a ballot measure to halt any trophy hunting of lions in the state. The measure would also forbid trophy hunting of bobcats, jaguars, ocelots, and lynx, in a state with the richest diversity of wild cat species in the United States.

Despite Western states’ claim of using science, their arguments amount to no more than fake news and faux science. When trophy hunters kill an adult male lion, his females and kittens are susceptible to mortality from incoming males, as many other studies from Utah, Montana, and Washington have shown. Killing one male lion results in the death of numerous other lions, particularly dependent kittens, who are cannibalized by incoming males. And if a trophy hunter kills an adult female, any kittens under 12 months of age will likely die from starvation, predation, or exposure.

Two summers ago, Americans reacted with outrage in seeing an American trophy hunter grinning over an African lion he killed in Zimbabwe. He conducted that hunt for no other reasons than bragging rights and the trophy. The people who kill mountain lions here in the Southwest are motivated by the same purposes.

Lions strengthen population of deer and elk. They are needed apex predators in intact ecosystems. The states have no idea how many lions they have, and their programs are a relic of antiquated attitudes towards predators.

It’s one thing to kill animals for meat. It’s another to do it just for the heads. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, it’s the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.

P.S. Using cutting-edge, remote-camera technologies, Panthera discovered that mountain lions are far more social than biologists ever realized—despite 60 years’ research. Females share their kills with other females and their kittens and even with the adult territorial male. In return, the adult males protect the females and all of his kittens from immigrating males. If left undisturbed, mountain lions have a stable social society where reciprocity between individuals is shared. A revolutionary finding.

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Outrage as trophy hunter shoots rare snow leopard and publishes ‘vile’ picture where he’s smiling ear-to-ear

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/outrage-trophy-hunter-shoots-rare-11470652
“Hossein ‘Soudy’ Golabchi stands smiling with the dead white and black
animal draped across his shoulders in what protesters have called a
‘disgusting example of outright murder'”

“A US trophy hunter is facing global criticism on social media after
he shot a rare snow leopard and published this grinning picture
online.
“In the image, Hossein Golabchi – also known by the nickname Soudy –
stands smiling from ear-to-ear with the stunning white and black
animal draped across his shoulders.”

Make animal traps illegal in Toronto: Toronto Wildlife Centre
http://torontosun.com/news/local-news/make-animal-traps-illegal-in-toronto-toronto-wildlife-centre
“The head of the Toronto Wildlife Centre is calling for bylaws that
would to make it illegal for people to use animal traps within city
limits.
“The push comes after a skunk and a raccoon — which each suffered
serious injuries when trapped — had to be euthanized after they were
brought into the wildlife centre last week.
“Both badly hurt in leg-hold traps, a distressed skunk transported
from Oakville backyard and a Toronto raccoon were captured in
residential neighbourhoods. And in the raccoon’s case, it was found in
the Pape-Danforth Aves. area.”

ALMOST 50 PERCENT OF LOBSTER TRAPS LOST, MISPLACED DURING IRMA

[…no mention of the fact that the lost traps will keep catching lobsters until they’re stuffed full…]

http://www.flkeysnews.com/news/local/article182028936.html

NOVEMBER 01, 2017 9:30 AM

Urgent Update: Town of Southbridge, Mass., Reportedly Voted to Kill Beavers!

https://support.peta.org/page/3409/action/1

Despite hearing from countless concerned citizens, the town of Southbridge, Massachusetts, reportedly voted to hire a contractor to trap and kill beavers along Guelphwood Road with the intent of reducing flooding concerns. But killing these animals will backfire, because survivors will simply breed at accelerated rates, while inevitable newcomers will arrive to take advantage of the still-available resources. And the devices most commonly used to kill beavers—Conibear traps—cause animals to suffer immensely as they’re slowly crushed or drowned (which, for beavers, can take more than 15 agonizing minutes), while those caught by their limbs eventually succumb to dehydration, starvation, or shock. Such traps are also indiscriminate, posing risks to “nontarget” victims, including companion animals and protected wildlife. Trapping may begin as early as September 25, so your voice is urgently needed!

beaver

Using the contact form below, please immediately urge officials to opt for humane and effective long-term solutions, such as fence and pipe devices (aka “beaver deceivers”), to resolve issues with flooding. Then, forward this alert to everyone you know!

 https://support.peta.org/page/3409/action/1

Help beavers!

Fields with an asterisk(*) are required. 

First Name

Last Name

E-Mail Address

Become a PETA First Responder (optional and available only to mobile users in the United States)

Mobile Phone

I agree to texting T&Cs. Message and data rates may apply.
SEND MESSAGE

DEC revising permit requirement for bobcat hunting, trapping

http://www.pressrepublican.com/sports/outdoors/dec-revising-permit-requirement-for-bobcat-hunting-trapping/article_477122d4-fa01-5a3e-a07f-cbe927dd59d9.html

DATA: New York hunters and trappers no longer required to obtain special permit

RAY BROOK — Having collected enough data on bobcat populations, a special permit will no longer be necessary for hunting and trapping bobcats in certain parts of western New York.

But hunters and trappers who pursue bobcats in designated Harvest Expansion Areas (HEAs) are still required to have a hunting or trapping license and to have the animal pelt sealed, according to a press release.

REGULATION HISTORY

Upon completion of the Bobcat Management Plan in 2012, regulations were adopted to establish a hunting and trapping season in select Wildlife Management Units in central and western New York, referred to as the “Harvest Expansion Area.”

In areas open to bobcat hunting and trapping, individuals are required to have a license and to have the animal “pelt sealed” — have a plastic tag affixed by DEC staff — after harvest.

However, to hunt or trap bobcats in the HEA, licensed hunters and trappers were also required to obtain a free special permit from their regional wildlife office.

SUFFICIENT DATA

This requirement allowed biologists to collect information on participation, harvest, harvest pressure — number of days afield, number of traps set, etc. — through a diary or “log,” and to collect biological samples.

This robust data set allows biologists to assess the status of the bobcat population and evaluate harvest.

After three seasons of data collection, sufficient information on harvest pressure and take has been collected and the special permit is no longer needed.

Bobcat hunting and trapping regulations can be viewed on DEC’s website at on.ny.gov/2tS2sNO for hunting and on.ny.gov/2tORSbO for trapping.

The Notice of Adoption for the revised regulation can be viewed in the New York State Register at on.ny.gov/2ulcpVZ.

The right to hunt and fish is called barbaric

http://georgesoutdoornews.bangordailynews.com/2017/04/27/environmental-issues/the-right-to-hunt-and-fish-is-called-barbaric/

April 27, 2017

A proposed Constitutional amendment to “Establish the Right to Hunt and Fish” drew angry testimony from the anti-hunting and anti-trapping crowd.

“This bill is barbaric,” testified John Glowa of China, who called LD 11 “the worst piece of legislation I have seen in more than twenty years of coming before this committee, and I have seen some bad ones.” Glowa also called the bill “the poison fruit of the paranoia seed planted by the out-of-state gun lobby and by radical extremist consumptive users.”

And yes, that was way over the top. Katie Hansberry of the Humane Society of the United States, who is always well-prepared and courteous in her work at the legislature, testified “The Humane Society of the United States has worked with wildlife management agencies across the U.S. to combat poaching. And in recent years, we joined sportsmen and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to crack down on poaching by helping Maine become the first state in New England to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

“We are concerned that putting a right to hunt in our constitution could amount to an open invitation for poachers to exploit it to their advantage, and could subject longstanding conservation laws to legal challenge from those arguing that this constitutional right exempts them from existing restrictions like bag limits or prohibitions on spotlight or road hunting. Unnecessarily putting this existing right into our constitution could invite lawsuits from individuals who want to argue that conservation laws on quotas, season closures, or land area closures could infringe upon their constitutional right to hunt and fish,” said Katie.

Karen Coker of WildWatch Maine joined in the criticism of the bill, testifying that, “It’s intent… is to silence Maine citizens concerned about unethical practices and to prevent citizens from initiating ballot initiatives on wildlife issues.” She said “This proposal’s vague terms open the door to inhumane, unethical trapping and hunting practices,” and called the bill “a legal nightmare.” She also insisted that “hunting and trapping and fishing are not fundamental rights.”

She might have a disagreement with Katie Hansberry on that, because Katie testified that “Mainers already have the right to hunt and fish.”

DIF&W’s Testimony

Tim Peabody, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, surprised some supporters by testifying “neither for nor against” the bill. He called hunting and fishing “significant privileges” here in Maine.

Tim also noted that last year the legislature amended the Department’s mission statement to include the direction to “use regulated hunting, fishing and trapping as the basis for the management of these resources whenever feasible.” That was a significant victory for hunting, trappers, and anglers.

Tim questioned “How would this bill, and the resulting constitutional rights affect existing hunting laws, landowner’s rights, or the Department of Health and Human Services ability to enforce child support obligations by suspending licenses? The precise answer to these and many more unanticipated questions likely will not be supplied until these issues are tested in court. In the face of the unknown, I hope the Committee and the Legislature as a whole proceeds with caution.”

He summed up his testimony with this statement: “We urge careful consideration of the possible impacts of the current privilege enjoyed by all law abiding sportsmen and women. There is a distinct difference between a privilege and a right,” he said.

Supporters

Supporters of LD 11 including the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, National Rifle Association, and Maine Professional Guides Association.

Rep. Steve Wood, a member of the IFW Committee, sponsored and spoke for the bill, testifying “I’ve proposed this bill as an attempt to join 21 other states around the country which guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions; most recently Kansas and Indiana.”  Steve distributed a fact sheet about state constitutional amendments and the right to hunt and fish.

Dave Trahan emphasized that LD 11 is a SAM bill, not an NRA bill as some opponents charged. He took the committee through a bit of history of wildlife management in this country, noting that “conservationists and sportsmen of conscience” supported the Pitman-Robertson Act which established an excise tax on outdoor gear, a tax that has directed $3 billion to wildlife management agencies including Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.

“Hunting, trapping and fishing regulations have existed for less than half the life of this country,” testified Dave. “They were not put in place by the courts or a constitutional ruling and certainly not established to give governments the sovereignty over wild creatures; to the contrary, sportsmen and conservationists willfully placed these limits on wildlife consumption because they recognized the value in our natural world and wanted to insure that they would be around for future generations.

“This Constitutional Proposition is before you because animal rights organizations are trying to change that narrative and history… They believe hunting and fishing are cruel and inhumane, but readily accept the slow, vicious and terrifying death of wild animals through starvation, disease or to be torn apart by wild predators.” Said Dave.

Rep. Karl Ward testified for the bill, reporting that, “As of today, twenty two states now guarantee the People’s Right to Hunt and Fish in their State Constitutions. Vermont enacted this in 1777. The other seventeen – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have passed amendment to their Constitutions since 1996. Indiana and Kansas passed this amendment last year. Texas and Nevada the year before.”

What’s Next?

It will take a 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate to place this Constitutional amendment on the ballot, and the people will make the deciding decision.

I am concerned about the amount of money that will need to be raised to win this ballot fight, but there’s a long way to go before we have to be concerned about that.

Referendum to make hunting, fishing, trapping a constitutional right garners support from 30 senators

A majority of Montana’s state senators backed a measure to ask voters to decide whether hunting, fishing and trapping should become constitutional rights in the 2018 general election.

Senate Bill 236, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, would create a ballot initiative to put in Montana’s constitution the right for Montana citizens to hunt, fish and trap. Measures that ask for a ballot initiative require 100 votes total between the Senate and the House and don’t need the governor’s signature.

In an initial vote on Monday, 30 Senators supported the bill. It faces a final Senate vote on Tuesday — the vote that will actually count toward the 100 necessary.

 Fielder said the bill will strengthen the state constitution’s protections for these activities.

“The language in the existing Montana constitution is unclear,” Fielder said.

She also said strengthening the language will help fight off future attempts to limit hunting or trapping in the state, such as the ballot measure voters rejected in November to ban trapping on public lands.

But opponents of the bill said the protections within the constitution are strong enough and that the failure of the trapping initiative last fall shows that the activity isn’t in serious danger.

“We don’t need to change something that already works,” said Sen. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman.

In a February committee hearing, the bill garnered support from the Montana Trappers Association and the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, among others. A number of conservation groups and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks opposed it.

The bill was amended slightly before being sent out of the Senate Fish and Game committee on a 6-5 vote. The amendment turned some opposition into support — namely, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation — but it didn’t eliminate all opposition.

Nick Gevock, the conservation director for the Montana Wildlife Federation, said his group still opposes the measure because they believe changing the constitution requires more careful consideration than can be found in the “hurried emotion of a 90-day legislative session.”

On the Senate floor Monday, Fielder said the bill is similar to laws passed in 14 other states, including Idaho. In a post on its website, the National Conference of State Legislatures says {a style=”font-size: 12px;” href=”http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/state-constitutional-right-to-hunt-and-fish.aspx#5” target=”_blank”}21 states{/a} across the country guarantee the right to hunt and fish, including Montana.

Montana’s current law guarantees the “opportunity” to hunt, and Fielder’s bill would change that word to “right,” which she said has a more clear legal definition.

“It’s time for Montana to step up,” she said.

But some worry that the change could upend wildlife management within the state. An internal memo from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks provided to the Chronicle said the bill would endanger the state’s ability to charge residents and nonresidents different prices for hunting and fishing licenses. The memo says the change would likely draw a legal challenge and that a court might find that the state is discriminating against non-residents by charging them higher license fees.

Phillips mentioned this on the Senate floor Monday, saying the change could result in the state “giving the deal of the century to nonresidents” by lowering out-of-state license fees.

“If you feel lucky in court, vote for 236,” he said.

Sen. Jeff Welborn, R-Dillon, and Sen. Terry Gauthier, R-Helena, joined the Senate’s 18 Democrats in voting against the bill. The measure will need 70 votes in the House to pass, which means that even if all Republicans support it, they will need at least 11 votes from Democrats. Two House Democrats are listed as sponsors of the bill — Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder and Rep. Brad Hamlett of Cascade.

 

Trapping Ban Will Appear On November Ballot In Montana

http://mtpr.org/post/trapping-ban-will-appear-november-ballot-montana#stream/0
By EDWARD O’BRIEN • JUL 1, 2016

Voters this November will decide the future of traps and snares on Montana’s public lands. A proposal to end commercial and recreational trapping on Montana’s public lands will appear on November’s ballot.
Voters this November will decide the future of traps and snares on Montana’s public lands. A proposal to end commercial and recreational trapping on Montana’s public lands will appear on November’s ballot.

Listen Listening…1:09 Trapping Ban Will Appear On November Ballot In Montana

Voters this November will decide the future of traps and snares on Montana’s public lands. A proposal to end commercial and recreational trapping on Montana’s public lands will appear on November’s ballot.

Supporters of I-177 say they were notified Thursday that they had collected more than enough valid signatures.

A similar measure failed to qualify in 2010.

Connie Poten of Montana Trap-Free Public Lands says a lot has changed since then.

“Most people then didn’t even know trapping existed. There was a lot of education we had to do and we’ve been doing it over the past six years, so many more people are aware of trapping and how unnecessary it is and how cruel it is.”

Representatives of the Montana Trappers Association could not be immediately reached for comment today.

I-177 supporters say trapping would be allowed to protect livestock, property, health and safety when non-lethal methods have failed.

http://mtpr.org/post/trapping-ban-will-appear-november-ballot-montana#stream/0

For once the NRB listened to the citizens. There is a first time for everything.

Petition: NO TRAPPING IN SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The U.S. Forest Service is revising its plan for the Santa Fe National Forest. The Mountain Lion Foundation and our partners in New Mexico want to take this opportunity to request that the Forest Service prohibit trapping in the Caja del Rio and other areas of Santa Fe National Forest that are used by recreationalists.

http://mountainlion.org/ActionAlerts/080516FStraps/080516FStraps.asp?utm_source=NM+Letter+to+USFS+Individual+Invite&utm_campaign=Eastern+Cougar+Letter+Invite+07%2F26%2F2016&utm_medium=email

No matter where you live, America’s lion needs your voice.

Anyone, anywhere in the world can sign.

Montana Furbearer Comments tallied

http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/?u=f22932e4382726211444c9d0c&id=b27e45702d&e=34cb4196ed

…In response, FWP moves to establish 4 trapping units with a quota of five and a female subquota of one in the Bitterroot Unit, one in the Cabinet, and zero in the Yaak and Continental Divide Units.

Bobcat quota increasing 180 to 200 for Region 2 (Western Montana) was nearly equally supported and opposed. Although fur prices have plummeted, bobcat remains one of the most lucrative species to trap and kill. We are NOT being overrun with bobcat. The whitetail deer population is not taking a hit from predation on fawns by bobcats. This is about selfish greed!

This is about whether Commissioners will address the fact Regions 1, 2, 3 alone killed 187 OVER quota for bobcat from a min 8330 killed in Montana in just the last 5 years!

FWP responded to all of our attacks on this mockery of “quotas” with, “It was clear that many do not understand that quotas are set as a general and conservative target rather than a precise number that will result in population decline if exceeded. It was also clear that many do not understand that closing the season and hitting the target quota exactly is virtually impossible. Trapping closures happen on a 48-hour notice and FWP tries to be conservative and often initiates closures before the actual quota number is reached.”

FWP annually attends Montana Trappers Association meeting in the spring. “If you all based wildlife management off of science instead of whining emotion and came to an actual meeting you would know that a bobcat quota is set with an expected overage”. Jason Maxwell, Montana Trappers Association vice president

Trappers take full advantage of this flawed and failed system designed to favor them not the wildlife by knowing they can trap over quota and keep the fur just as long as the liberal closing has not occurred.
What would happen if a hunter had the same mindset?

“Additional comments not specific to the proposals included several suggestions to manage beaver with quotas, and several suggestions that decisions be based on data instead of emotion”.  Montana FWP

The proposals for Grizzly bear and for changing quotas for wolves outside of Yellowstone will also be decided at the hearing. Recent changes re these wolf quotas………. your voice is needed!  bit.ly/29CBP9g

FWP made no mention of all our comments insisting on 24 hour trap checks. This is not going away, friends!

Despite all the comments opposing increasing quotas, “FWP moves to approve” the proposals. Now it will be up to the FWP Commissioners on Wed, July 13th! 

For meeting agenda:
http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/meetings/agenda.html?meetingId=38170999

To attend: Montana WILD – 2668 Broadwater Avenue – Helena, MT or one of the district FWP offices.
To listen in to the audio recording on Wed go to: http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/audio.html

Thank you to all that submitted comments, spoke up, and those that WILL look these commissioners in the eyes in Helena during their voting on these proposals and their future crucial decisions effecting our wildlife! Lets hope they make us proud!

We would love to hear if you are planning to attend!

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands