Mountain Lion Season Changes Proposed
Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists are recommending minor modifications to the annual Arizona hunt guidelines for elk, deer, pronghorn antelope, turkey and buffalo for 2004, but a significant change to the mountain lion hunting season is being sought.
The recommendations were approved in draft form by the Game and Fish Commission on Dec. 4, and will be the subject of public meetings in January and February. The department's wildlife managers use the hunt guidelines to prepare recommendations for next year's hunts.
The change to the mountain lion hunting season would allow the take of "any lion except spotted kittens or females accompanied by spotted kittens."
"Currently, there are no such restrictions," says Game Chief Tice Supplee. "This proposal would modify the mountain lion season to help protect females with kittens. We also do something similar with black bears by establishing harvest quotas for females in individual hunt management units. With both bears and lions, it is difficult to tell a female from a male without a close-up examination. However, mountain lion kittens are only found with the females."
Additionally, multiple mountain lion bag limits and boundaries will be evaluated in regard to population management objectives in hunt units that have such restrictions.
The entire hunt recommendation package is on the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site at azgfd.com. Click on the "Hunting and Fishing", then select "Hunting."
The department will accept comments on the recommendations through March 1. Send your comments to: Arizona Game and Fish Department, Hunt Guidelines Comments, 2221 W. Greenway Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85023. You may also fax comments to (602) 789-3932 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
The comments received will be sent to the department's six regional offices and will be considered during the preparation of the final hunt package. The public may also comment on the recommendations at the following public meetings:
Jan. 13, 7-9 p.m., Yuma, Game and Fish Department regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.
Jan. 20, 7-9 p.m., Page, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area office, 691 Scenic View Rd.
Jan. 21, 7-9 p.m., Flagstaff, Game and Fish Department regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Rd.
Jan. 22, 7-9 p.m., Pinetop, Game and Fish Department regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.
Jan. 27, 7-9 p.m., Mesa, Game and Fish Department regional office, 7200 E. University Dr.
Jan. 28, 7-9 p.m., Payson Police Department conference room, 303 N. Beeline Highway.
Jan. 29, 7-9 p.m., Prescott, Yavapai County Board of Supervisors room, 1015 Fair St.
Feb. 2, 7-9 p.m., Kingman, Game and Fish Department regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Rd.
Feb. 3, 7-9 p.m., Tucson, Game and Fish Department regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Rd.
Feb. 4, 7-9 p.m., Sierra Vista, Buena High School Performing Arts Center, 5225 Buena School Blvd.
Feb. 5, 7-9 p.m., Safford, Graham County General Services Building, 921 Thatcher Blvd.
The final package of recommendations will be considered for adoption by the Game and Fish Commission April 17.