Re: HSUS Initiative to Ban the Hunting of Wildcats in Arizona
Bobcat and mountain lion populations are carefully managed by the Arizona Game & Fish Department and populations are either stable or in some cases expanding. Hunting is a legal and regulated management tool, yet the Humane Society of the United States, operating locally as Arizonans for Wildlife, has launched a petition campaign and it’s another step towards outlawing all hunting throughout the United States.
Three wildcats included in the ballot initiative are already Federally or State protected in Arizona.
Sales of mountain lion hunting tags generate over $200,000 each year, paying for research and dedicated lion and other carnivore management activities. If this initiative were to pass it would end this source of revenues.
In California, where mountain lion hunting is banned, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has reported a marked increase in depredation by lions on pets and domestic livestock. Depredation permits and subsequent “take” has resulted in the loss of over 100 lions each year and the numbers have steadily increased. In addition, lion/auto accidents kill over three times the numbers of lions as they acclimate to more urban settings with less natural fear of humans.
Do not be fooled by this misguided, out-of-state initiative. This is not about protecting wildcats in our State. Hunting is carefully regulated and legal in Arizona. If this initiative were to become law it will have much broader implications for hunting in Arizona.