The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission considered a petition today that would “prohibit recreational and commercial trapping of bobcats in Colorado”. The commission voted unanimously to deny it. “I come down strongly on the side that we must manage all wildlife,” said Commissioner Robert Bray.
Commissioner Marie Haskett said they have recieved hundreds of letters since December. “Most of the letters in support were forwarded from a mass email. They were based on emotion with no research on the history or science,” Haskett said. “Most of the letters in opposition of the petition were written from life experiences. They talk about family traditions, preserving their heritage, management, conservation, stewardship, and trusting the science.”
Christine Capaldo, a veterinarian from Telluride Colorado, petitioned CPW last November. The Petition states that bobcat trapping is a threat to lynxes. It also points to public opinion of trapping as a reason to do away with it. It wraps up by saying bobcat trapping does not bring any money into the state and requires too many of CPW’s resources. The petition can be read in its entirety here.
Groups like Prarie Protection Colorado as well as other private citizens came out in support of the petition. Many of them spoke against strangulation as a method of dispatch, saying it is barbaric and inhumane.
Bobcat trapping supporters also made an impressive turnout. Men, women, and even children joined groups like Big Game Forever and Colorado Bowhunters Association, to voice their disapproval. “Hunting and live traping are highly sanctioned and regulated,” Said Dan Gates, President of the Colorado Trappers and Predator Hunters Association. “Hunting, trapping, and fishing are a part of Colorado’s history and culture and continue to be an important way of life.”
Commissioner James Vigil addressed the claims that lynx were being mistakenly taken as bobcat. Barret, a teenager from Mesa, spoke against the petition. Vigil referred back to his testimony and said, “If a 14-year-old young bright student can tell the difference, then any trapper can tell the difference”.
Commissioners Charles Garcia and Bray did acknowledge the strangulation portion of the petition. Garcia said, “That’s definitely something we certainly need to look at, but that doesn’t change my feeling on the petition itself.”
The commission requested that the method of dispatch be looked at more closely. Further discussion on that topic will be held at the July meeting in Telluride. To be involved in that decision, you can show up in person to speak or email the commission.