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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Colorado Parks and Wildlife freely admits it is just guessing about the size of the Puma population in their state........Nonetheless, they have upped the target quota for hunting lions this 2012-13 season by 12 to 630............This, when overall population levels are uncertain and the fact that of the 400+ annual kills, 36% have been females, a seemingly too high % for long term sustainability

PWC approves lion quotas, tweaks falconry rules at September meeting

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved mountain lion harvest quotas for the upcoming lion season in the state last week at the commission's September meeting in Glenwood Springs, the agency announced in a news release.
Each year, the commission approves lion quotas, which establish the maximum allowable of harvest for lions in each game management unit. The commission established a statewide quota of 630 for the 2012-2013 season, an increase of 12 over last year, according to the release.

In green shaded area on map, overall estimate Puma range in Colorado

The quota includes an increase of up to four additional lions in the Hayman burn area where newly introduced bighorn sheep are being impacted by lion predation. Quotas were adjusted in 13 different other areas of the state, the release stated. The 2012-2013 season begins on Nov. 21 and runs through March 31, 2013.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife fact sheet on Pumas

Hunter harvest of mountain lion has increased from 81 in 1980, reaching its highest level in 2001 of 439. Harvest limits gradually increased from 1980 before leveling at about 790 from 1999 through 2004. From about 1992 through 2001 the proportion of females in hunting mortality appeared to be growing from about 40% to about 45%. In the late 1990’s to early 2000’s, hunters in some areas began reporting that the number of older males in hunter harvest seemed to be declining. Growing attention by hunters and species advocate groups, along with concern from CPW manager led to more detailed analysis and development of new DAU plans statewide in 2004.

Beginning in 2005, CPW hosted a series of seminars with lion hunters and houndsmen providing information about gender identification and the value of females in lion populations, information was also provided “on line”, and in the lion hunting brochure. Hunters were asked to voluntarily reduce harvest of females in DAUs managed toward stable to increasing lion populations.

 In addition, CPW developed an “on line” lion hunter education course and test containing gender identification information and other lion hunting information. In 2007, the Wildlife Commission required hunter to have taken and passed this course before they can obtain a lion hunting license. Voluntary effort to reduce female hunting mortality was successful in reducing the proportion of females from about 44% on average to 36% over the past five years. The lion hunter education requirement will complement the management contributions by hunters and houndsmen.

At present, Colorado Parks and Wildlife does not have an accurate estimate of mountain lion populations. Given this lack of information, there has been much speculation about the appropriate level of harvest.

Without a cost effective and reliable census technique we must rely on other indices such as those found in the data analysis unit plans and through annual monitoring of mortality composition changes. None of these mechanisms are absolute; therefore harvest limit recommendations by Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff tend to be conservative.

Harvest limits represent the maximum level of possible harvest for that year. On a statewide basis, harvest limits are never reached since in some management units both the harvest objective and harvest limit are greater than hunters ever take. Functionally, these units provide unlimited hunting recreation opportunity during lion seasons. In other management units the harvest limits are regularly reached and hunter harvest is a tool to increase or decrease the lion population. Since hunter harvest and non-hunting mortality is annually variable and dependent upon influences such as weather, snow conditions, and damage conflicts; lion mortality is monitored on five and ten year running averages.

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