The Ballot Measure
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Why a Ballot Measure?
Colorado voters can ban trophy hunting and trapping of wild cats.
CATs is a conglomeration of hunters and nonhunters, asking Colorado voters to end trophy hunting mountain lions and trapping bobcats with bait, unfair high-tech gadgetry and dogs, because these activities also do not align with Colorado values.
Trophy hunting and trapping wild cats creates orphans who will starve to death. Peer-reviewed science shows these activities increase risk of human-lion conflict, artificially lower population ages, and cause social chaos among lions. See our Science page for these studies. If anyone tells you trophy hunting mountain lions exists for any other reason than fun, make them show you that science, because it doesn’t exist. Same for trapping bobcats, which is to make money off their fur. These are solely values-based choices.
When the system consistently fails to consider broader public values, such as integrity of science, ethics in hunting, fair chase, unjustifiable stress and pain to undeserving animals including dogs, or acknowledge the best, peer-reviewed, existing science that shows trophy hunting negatively affects populations and natural behavior, putting our pets and ranch animals at risk, it’s time to go to the voters. And this is what our state allows.
Coloradans have tried many times over to reason with policymakers
A bill in the state Legislature that would have banned these unethical practices died without debate after key lawmakers were hit by 20,000 emails in one day from outside big-money trophy hunting organizations like Safari Club International and outfitters who can make $8,000 off of guaranteed lion kills in our state. Organized opposition boasted how they had deployed expensive new technology to get past spam filters, and influence our government with email blasts from people who don’t even live in Colorado.
Colorado citizens who signed a petition of 208,000 signatures to end bobcat trapping in Colorado were dismissed by wildlife commissioners, a politically appointed body, despite the fact there are just 700 trappers in the state and 5.8 million Coloradans. Opposition was led by Safari Club International.
Your average Coloradan is powerless to speak out against the unethical current practice of killing of lactating female lions and predators that haven't been in conflict with anyone, especially mature adult cats living peacefully, as well as bobcats without limit.
Even worse, policymakers pretend that the three decades of peer-reviewed science to show trophy hunting has negative consequences doesn’t exist.
Meanwhile, there is no proven need to trophy hunt and trap wild cats, and zero science to support it.
Wildlife is a public trust and a privilege, not an entitlement, and Colorado is fortunate to be a state where citizens may have a voice through the ballot initiative process to correct course.
Colorado voters have banned unethical hunts before
In 1992 our state’s vast majority of voters approved a ban on what was a legal, yet unethical spring bear hunt that once allowed bait and dogs to lure in bears, to chase them and kill them, orphaning cubs. A conglomeration of concerned hunters and nonhunters led the charge, and the measure overwhelmingly passed because this activity was not aligned with Colorado values.
Decades later, we can see good statistical results, including less orphaning of cubs and a diminished role in unfair hounding.
More recently, in 1996, voters approved a constitutional amendment to end use of leghold and instant-kill, body-gripping traps, snares, or poisons for hunting.
Ending trophy hunting and trapping will put public safety and pets, wildlife and the economy first
For too long, a tiny portion of trophy hunters (0.03% of Coloradans kill mountain lions for fun) have wielded all the power in our state to kill our wildlife in an indefensible manner that gives all hunting a black eye.
• Get rid of trophy hunting and trapping wild cats, and there will be no real economic impact, as mountain lion hunting contributes a drop in the bucket (0.1%) to our wildlife budget. It’s not conserving anything.
• Get rid of trophy hunting and trapping wild cats and professionals still can and will continue to relocate or kill the occasional individual predator getting into trouble with people, pets or livestock. This ballot measure lets the professional wildlife managers do their job as they are doing it today.
This measure will have no impact on conflict management or the Wildlife Operations Budget
Trophy hunting mountain lions is considered a “recreational opportunity” in Colorado, by anyone who buys a license. Trapping bobcats is both a recreational opportunity and a commercial enterprise by people who want to make money off pelts.
Both trophy hunting and trapping are random and indiscriminate, for personal gratification, use and profit. This is very different from conflict management, which targets individual mountain lions, who may get into trouble by preying on livestock or pets, or be in contact with humans (contact is how our state defines an “attack.”)
Get rid of trophy hunting and trapping today, and our state will have the exact same tools and abilities to handle the relatively few individual animals who find themselves in conflict with humans each year. It’s a surgical type of predator management supported by science. A good way to think of it is if you have a tumor appearing on your liver, you wouldn’t ask a surgeon to remove your appendix. That would be ineffective and overkill.
Get rid of trophy hunting and trapping today, and there will be no real economic impact, as mountain lion hunting contributes a drop in the bucket (0.1%) to our wildlife budget.
This ballot measure lets the professional wildlife managers and the agency do their job as they are doing it today.
trophy hunting is not a Hunt
It’s not a tool for public safety, or to protect domestic animals, or to increase deer and elk for fair-chase hunters. But it does increase risk to domestic animals, including farm animals and pets. It doesn’t conserve anything, because lion hunting contributes a tiny drop in the bucket (0.1%) to our state’s wildlife operations budget.
Trophy hunting and trapping wild cats in Colorado is not ‘managing’ wildlife. It's separate from professional management for conflict, and we already have separate and distinct, and well-funded state and federal programs for that. Each year, about 60 mountain lions are killed for conflicts by wildlife, agriculture, and law enforcement experts. This is not trophy hunting, which targets random older, mature mountain lions for personal pleasure, and flies in the face of peaceful coexistence with humans and valuable wildlife belonging to all Coloradans.