Don’t Punish Predators – The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission recently held an online meeting to discuss raising kill quotas on black bears and mountain lions. While some hunters and outfitters raised concerns over how predation from black bears and mountain lions might affect big game herds. This was a main concern because of the devastating winterkill. Others that were present warned against overhunting large carnivores.

Joe Kondelis, president of the American Bear Foundation, said that sustainable populations of black bears and mountain lions should be maintained to avoid hurting their populations too much. He argued their populations can take a long time to recover. Cindy Campbell agreed, stating that research has shown that killing more predators does not solve issues in big game herds.

Arguments On Predator Hunting

However, hunter Lane Wayment disagreed, arguing that abundant populations of predators in the Wyoming backcountry would not be affected by raising kill quotas on black bears and mountain lions. He believes that having some quality deer hunting is the real struggle.

The Game and Fish Commission voted to continue gathering data and taking public comment over the summer, and perhaps recommend changing mountain lion and black bear quotas and hunting seasons in January 2024.

The number of mountain lions or black bears that hunters may kill is set according to a mortality quota. This is particularly true for female animals. Once the mortality quota is reached, hunting is shut down in that area.

The three-year evaluation system has worked well, and Game and Fish has an excellent large carnivore division. So, it would be best to stick with the findings of large carnivore biologists and not raise quotas simply in response to one bad winter for big game animals. – Jess Johnson, spokeswoman for the Wyoming Wildlife Federation.

Bear hunter Dick Pedersen warned against overzealous predator hunting that could damage Wyoming’s reputation. Likewise, it could open the state up to more lawsuits from anti-hunting activists.  John Masterson stressed that this is not a knee-jerk reaction and that updating proven management techniques is worth considering.

You can read more about why some hunters are saying don’t punish predators by clicking here. Likewise, you can read more Wyoming hunting news by clicking here.

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