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Colorado lawmakers reject push to ban mountain lion, bobcat hunting

Lawmakers are gearing up for another debate over health care this session.
Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
Lawmakers are gearing up for another debate over health care this session.

Colorado lawmakers have rejected a bill that aimed to ban the hunting and trapping of mountain lions and bobcats.

Sponsor Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Boulder County, said the restrictions were needed because bobcat deaths were “out of control” in recent years.

“In 2019 we lost nearly 2,000 bobcats,” she testified Thursday. “We already have so many threats to our wildlife in Colorado.”

But even Lewis’ fellow Democrats on the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee sided with hunters who said the hunting restrictions were unnecessary.

Former Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioner John Howard testified that the state wildlife agency had been lobbied before on the issue and that supporters of the lion hunting ban did not support their argument with science.

He added Colorado already has rigorous laws in place to ensure mountain lions are not overhunted.

“Disruption of lion ecology is not a risk (from hunting),” he said. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a rigorous process for mandatory education, strict quota limits on lions.”

Howard said limited lion hunting also benefits some birds and other species.

The bill would have outlawed hunts except those conducted for science or personal protection.

The committee rejected the bill 4-1, making it one of the first Democratic-sponsored bills to fail in a chamber controlled by the party.

The legislation initially had a group of other Democratic sponsors mostly from Northern Colorado, but the names were dropped before the first hearing.

Scott Franz is an Investigative Reporter with KUNC.