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Humane Society drops proposed Arizona trophy hunt ban


Arizona mountain lion
Photo credit: Dreamstime

In an interesting change of events, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has dropped its proposal to ban “trophy hunting” in Arizona. The measure, which would have appeared on the November 2018 ballot, would have made it “illegal to pursue, shoot, snare, net or capture any ‘wild cat,’” and specifically targeted bobcats and mountain lions, the Camp Verde Bugle reports.

Kitty Block, acting president of HSUS, says that the reason they pulled the proposal is that the state requires stricter compliance with its election laws. This would have made collecting signatures for their petition more difficult and costly. In a prepared statement, Block added that “she still believes that Arizonans would support the initiative.”

However, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission are strongly against this idea.

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According to commission member Kurt Davis, the roughly 360 mountain lions killed each year helps manage the population, which is about 2,500 strong. It also keeps bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope herds from being wiped out due to too many predators. He fears that if HSUS was able to gain voter approval, it would be a step towards banning hunting completely, which would have serious ramifications on wildlife management within the state.

Davis says that HSUS’s proposal as it stands “ignores that hunting is ‘a tool used by our state’s biologists…to manage our state’s wildlife’.”

The way the proposal was drafted, it would also ban hunting jaguars, lynx and ocelot, which are already protected as endangered species, according to the Camp Verde Bugle.


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RANDY M. - posted 1 year ago on 04-12-2018 10:02:11 am

The real goal of HSUS "Ban Hunting" Maybe they should stick to saving Chained up pitbulls, Lap Snoodles and puss eyed kittens in their NON Exsistant shelters. They spend millions on commercials making people thinf they are all about puppies and kittens. But, the real truth is they are an anti hunting lobby!

Zach B. - posted 1 year ago on 04-10-2018 09:13:14 am

I'm not sure I get that. How many apex predators do you want in AZ? If you're suggesting the lion pop is grossly low and would like to really see them prosper, surely you'd be suggesting the deer, elk and antelope populations are too high? Fortunately the state looks at more criteria than the human pop when they determine healthy animal populations.

Monica B. - posted 1 year ago on 04-10-2018 12:25:16 am

I find it extremely disappointing this was not completed and brought to a vote of the people. And extremely disappointed in the Humane Society. I'd bet the vote would support a ban. Lion population: 2,500. Human population in AZ: 7 million. You do the math.

Monica B. - posted 1 year ago on 04-10-2018 12:11:06 am

Re: Crais S. view that this is some sort of individual rights issue, I don't get that. There are no rights for the animals?

Steve B. - posted 1 year ago on 04-08-2018 06:04:19 pm

Mt. lion hunting here in AZ is hardly prolific. The vast majority are taken by ranchers to protect their cattle herds. The ones taken by hunters (the ones not hired by ranchers) are practically coincidental; they are stumbled onto when hunting other game. The lion tags are statewide, year round, with an annual bag limit of two, excepting lions with kittens. Even so, the cited harvest numbers are hardly a threat to the population. I saw the petitions at a local event recently, and they called it banning "Trophy Hunting" of the cats. Ridiculous- they tried to make it sound like all the hunters were bloodthirsty for a giant cat to hang on the wall. The reality is that almost no one "plans" a lion hunt, they just get the tag because it's outside the draw and in case they see one (I never have in 40+ years hunting statewide) they can legally take it. Thank goodness these liars were deterred.

Craig S. - posted 1 year ago on 04-06-2018 11:46:52 am
Scottsdale, AZ

It makes me so happy that this great evil was thwarted. AZ is one of the few states left where dignity of the individual is appreciated. Truly this makes my soul burn brighter.

Zach B. - posted 1 year ago on 04-05-2018 04:07:33 pm

William T - I think I starts with AZ's population objective. If it's fair/reasonable (say 2,500) and eliminating 360/15% annually maintains that population goal, I don't think it would be drastic at all. It would seem appropriate and accurate in that instance. I'm not employed by any sector of this industry and I have not made it a point to overly educate myself on this topic so I may be off base. However, the above would reflect my initial thoughts.

William T. - posted 1 year ago on 04-05-2018 08:23:21 am
San Marcos, Texas

Nicholas G. True. It depends on the circumstances I guess.

Nicholas G. - posted 1 year ago on 04-04-2018 02:19:48 pm
Crookston MN

William T. There are studies that show hard mtn. Lions are on small bighorn sheep populations They really can basically wipe out a population of them. Once specific cats actively target them on a regular bases.

William T. - posted 1 year ago on 04-04-2018 11:40:56 am
San Marcos, Texas

Maybe a ban is too much, but I do think that AZ does go after cougars too hard. I've read a paper a while back that shows a lot of units out there are basically population sinks where any cougar that migrates in is eventually killed. And it seems a little alarmist to claim too many cougars will "wipe-out" a population of game. Maybe reduce but not exterminate. If you think about it 360 cats out of a population estimated to be 2500 strong is almost 15% of the population removed in a year which is pretty drastic demographically.

Dustin F. - posted 1 year ago on 04-04-2018 11:29:39 am
Carmel Valley, CA

:-D @ClaytonK, nice catch. That's fitting. Interesting correlation, curiouserandcuriouser.

Clayton K. - posted 1 year ago on 04-04-2018 10:14:57 am

Does anyone else think it is ironic that the president of HSUS is named "Kitty Block"?