Texas Is Stomping The Brakes On Hunting Mountain Lions
Photo via YouTube

Texas Is Stomping The Brakes On Trapping Mountain Lions With New Regulations

Texas is pumping the brakes on the hunting and trapping of mountain lions. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved regulations for the first time in regards to the animal. In a unanimous vote, the commission banned canned hunts. It also set a 36-hour limit requirement for checking mountain lion traps.

Up until this point, no regulations for traps existed. Hunters could hypothetically leave mountain lions to die of dehydration. "We don't need to facilitate negligence. We have a duty to manage wildlife," Brandt Buchanan, a ranch manager and hunter, told commissioners. According to The Texas Parks and Wildlife Departmen, 91% of those consulted were in favor of the measures. They spoke with ranchers, hunters, and wildlife researchers.

"The goal here is to have a huntable, sustainable population of mountain lions," Wildlife Diversity Program Director Richard Heilbrun told commissioners. Heilbrun pointed to other states that don't allow mountain lion trapping. However, not everyone was in favor of the measure. The president of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Rodney Kott opposed the new regulation. He said that mountain lions posed a serious risk to the livestock industry. Kott has a sheep farm that's plagued by coyotes. He pointed out that the rules would affect him if a mountain lion "stumbled into my snare."

Please enable Javascript to view this content

Texans Weigh In Over Mountain Lion Regulations

He said, "Predators are a serious issue for our industry. It's kind of like shoplifting to a business."

Meanwhile, wildlife researcher Patricia Harveson believes the new regulation is necessary. She said, "Mountain lions are dying in traps and snares."

"This regulation would ensure trapping is done ethically," She told the commissioners. "However, the resistance to setting this basic standard underscores the need because all traps are not checked frequently resulting in a prolonged death and unneeded suffering."

Others opposed to the regulations include Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Melissa Hamilton. Under the new regulations, it would be a class C misdemeanor for not following the rules. Hamilton doesn't believe in the criminal penalty. "As beautiful as they are, they are a predator and a predator that is deadly to livestock on our members' ranches," Hamilton told commissioners.

"I sympathize with the trappers and the folks that are trying to protect their livestock in regards to the fuel costs, the time cost and in regards to not wanting to be a criminal in not checking your traps every day," wildlife filmmaker Ben Masters told commissioners. "I don't believe the trappers will regulate themselves ... Y'all have the opportunity today to show some dignity and respect to our cats."