Hunting tag for rare puma is only $14.50.

     I like Daniel Patterson’s blog. He is a bit liberal but I enjoy reading his stories about Arizona wildlife and agree that quads and other off highway vehicles can do a lot of damage to the environment.

     I have been following his coverage of the Kofa Wildlife Refuge and was surprised to read that mountain lions are rare. Are all mountain lions rare or is there a special Kofa sub-species? Daniel will certainly want to alert Arizona Game and Fish because they are selling over the counter mountain lion hunting tags for only $14.50 and the season is from September 2007 to May 2008. I guess that is better than when there used to be a $50 bounty for each mountain lion that you could kill.

     Are these the same rare mountain lions seen wandering around Tucson? Here is a map or lion sightings around the Old Pueblo.


Comments

  1. Tree Hugger says

    Not killing or removing the lions is a good idea, if you want to eliminate deer and bighorn sheep from the Kofa Wildlife Refuge. What do you think they eat? It ain’t illegal aliens.

  2. Pumas on the Kofa inhabit a rare low desert area, and are seen by some people as a distinct population, the Yuma Puma, which is largely related to the lower CO River, not just mountains. It is an isolated lion population that needs special management.

    Pumas eat mostly mule deer, but may also take bighorn, especially old, young or sick. But the bighorn population on Kofa NWR is going up with the lions there.

    Lions and bighorn have always lived together, and the predator-prey relationship is good for a healthy bighorn herd.

    The Kofa is a national wildlife refuge, not a state game farm for bighorn and mule deer. It needs ecosystem management, not single species management. Using GPS collars to track and kill rare pumas, as AGFD was doing, is just plain unethical, most reasonable people will agree.

    I’m a hunter, and anyone who knows me or has followed my record knows I have done a lot for bighorn (and puma) survival and recovery all over the southwest. I and most support fair lion management, but not extermination.

  3. So, if you found one of these “rare” Yuma Puma’s on some state trust land along the lower Colorado or Yuma rivers you could shoot it if you had a $14.50 tag?

    I was not arguing in support of the Kofa management plan. My point is that if the Yuma Puma is indeed rare then there is a problem way beyond the Kofa range. The whole notion of an inexpensive, over the counter tag for that part of the state then becomes an issue.

  4. Ron Kearns says

    There are valid scientific questions regarding the status of the Yuma Puma subspecies. Biologists and taxonomists often disagree regarding the validity of textbook sub-speciation. “Lumpers and splitters” will forever debate taxa structuring regarding subspecies/varieties, etc. and therefore ensure those taxonomists’ job existence. Recent mitochondrial DNA research “suggests” the Yuma Puma subspecies is nonexistent and/or never has existed. The AGFD and Kofa National Wildlife Refuge biologists must be collecting blood samples from all of the cougars captured because this is SOP for field research involving captured wildlife. Therefore, the sample size for future DNA investigations into the status of the Yuma Puma subspecies has increased by samples from at least 3 Kofa cougars.

    Regardless of the Yuma Puma question, and pursuant to US Fish and Wildlife Service policy, Service biologists and managers must manage for biodiversity on National Wildlife Refuges and cougars are an important component of Kofa NWR biodiversity. The NEPA process will help determine the best science-based methods to properly and ethically manage the 2 or 3 top-level predators that might remain on Kofa NWR.

    Kofa collared cougars are research animals and they must not be fair game open to hunter harvest when they leave the refuge, as part of their range movements, into adjacent areas where mountain lion hunting is allowed. I have made a request of the Southwest Arizona NWR Complex Manager Ellis for the details of the new cougar plan that will guide all procedures during the moratorium on Kofa lion control to ensure that everyone, especially the AGFD staff, understands the rules.

    Filling a $14.50 tag by harvesting a collared cougar wastes many months of expensive fieldwork needed to capture, collar, and track cougars and negates the rare opportunity to gather valuable research needed to manage Kofa NWR apex predators. This research is required to employ the sound principles of wildlife science instead of illogical political decision-making based on old and ingrained anti-predator biases held and perpetuated by the unethical actions of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

    Ron Kearns
    Retired Kofa NWR Wildlife Biologist, USFWS
    Former Federal Collateral Duty Refuge Law Enforcement Officer, USFWS
    Viet Nam Era Veteran, US Army

  5. I’m learning more everyday reading your blog. Thanks for all the hard work. I’m looking forward to more reading here!

  6. Just found your site through yahoo. Glad I found it I’ve learned a lot.

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