Montana gives 5 female mountain lions a reprieve.
There are sixteen states that have mountain lions and in every state except Texas (where they are vermin), they are ‘managed’. In California and Florida mountain lions are not hunted but steps are taken to protect people, pets, and livestock if a lion has become a credible threat (not just a random sighting).
It is a misnomer that trophy hunting of mountain lions is a form of management. It is actually the provision of a recreational opportunity for those who like to kill lions and an attempt to assure supply for those who like to kill the natural prey that the lions eat.
This is hunter management not wildlife management.
The science that goes into season setting, basically identifies a ‘surplus’ of lions that is expendable for the fulfillment of hunter demands. Young male lions face survival challenges without hunting, and as with most species, they are considered ‘redundant’. This is why killing for sport is not necessary to manage populations-the competitive nature of lions means that they are largely self regulating as far as maintaining numbers that can be supported by available habitat and food sources. However, it is not the young males that the hunters want…they want the trophy. Killing the big Tom is the accomplishment sought by many in the field. This reduces the age demographic and destabilizes the dominant-male equilibrium of populations
Our best case scenario for mountain lions is that they are no longer killed for pleasure, but thoughtfully managed to prevent conflict as in California and Florida. However, we want to thank the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission for making life better for 5 female cougars. They removed them from the quota proposal that had its final hearing yesterday.