198 Colorado Mountain Lions Killed by Trophy Hunters in the First Month of 2023/2024 Season, Nearly Half are Female, CPW Records Show Unsustainable 87 Dead Females Outpaces the Yearly Average and the Season isn’t Over
Colorado — Cats Aren’t Trophies (CATs) reacted to preliminary state data showing that mountain lion trophy hunters in Colorado are outpacing the yearly average for killing females, who are known to have kittens year-round, and the season is far from over.
A total of 198 Colorado mountain lions have been killed by trophy hunters during the first month of the trophy hunting season that runs from Nov. 27, 2023, through March 2024. Of the mountain lions killed, 87 were females; 111 were male. This means that females killed has reached 43.9%, far outpacing the yearly statewide average, which according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) data, is 41%.
Females are essential to population health and trophy hunting of females at this rate is unsustainable for the mountain lion population, says Josh Rosenau, Director of Policy & Advocacy for the Mountain Lion Foundation, which endorses the CATs measure.
A higher number of dead female lions is devastating to the survival of kittens, who will stay with their mothers for up to two years to learn necessary survival skills. CPW research shows that females will be pregnant or have dependent young with them during 75% of their lives. A young, orphaned kitten stands a dismal 4% chance of survival and statistically starves to death.
“Trophy hunting of mountain lions is cruel, unsporting, and serves absolutely no management purpose, said Samantha Miller, Campaign Manager for Cat’s Aren’t Trophies. “Contrary to fair-chase hunting ethics, mountain lion trophy hunting stacks the odds in the trophy hunter’s favor. Lions are hunted down using high-tech gadgetry and packs of radio-collared dogs that corner them in trees with nowhere to go. Many of these shooters paid hunting guides upwards of $8,000 to guarantee a head and a hide.”
Josh Rosenau, Director of Policy & Advocacy for the Mountain Lion Foundation, which endorses the CATs measure, issued this statement:
“Colorado winters are hard for cougar cubs, and it’s even harder for them to be chased by hounds and orphaned in the cold and snow,” Rosenau said. “Cougar moms care for their cubs for up to two years, so it’s likely that many of the cougars killed already this winter left cubs behind, to fend for themselves or starve. The only way to protect those cubs is to end trophy hunting for cougars in Colorado.”
Colorado-based Julie Marshall is Director of Public Relations for Animal Wellness Action, which is a coalition member of CATs. She offered this statement:
“The body count is disturbing, given that all of these felines were randomly targeted for no good reason, and were just trying to survive with less prey available from a harsh winter,” said Julie Marshall, Director of Public Relations for Animal Wellness Action, which is one of 50 endorsing organizations for the CATs measure. “Colorado is sanctioning cruelty by allowing trophy hunts to continue, and not even requiring shooters to check to see if a cat is lactating before ending her life, as well as the lives of tiny kittens waiting for her to return to the den.”
Data came from a paid public records search by CPW provided to the Cats Aren’t Trophies (CATs) coalition and is available to reporters. The data covers Nov. 27 up to Dec. 27, 2023, but doesn’t include Dec. 27 and after.
As of Jan. 9, there have been a total of 276 mountain lions killed this season.
Mountain lion kills are continuously updated on the CPW website and is available to the public: https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/LionQuota.pdf