Mountain lion permits to drop after upswing in female harvest

Mountain lion quotas for the 2013-14 lion season will drop slightly from this year’s numbers if the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts recommendations from state biologists.

The commission is scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday at the Montrose County Fairgrounds and Event Center, 1001 N. Second in Montrose. The two-day meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and 8 a.m. on Friday.

Mountain lion harvest quotas will drop to 622, down from 630, across the 20 distinct lion-management units in response to what biologists say is an unwanted increase in female lion harvest above certain preset criteria.

The only area seeing an increase in lion permits is in game management units 72 and 73 near Cortez, where hunters have been filling the combined quota of 10 nearly 80 percent of the time.

That quota was increased to 15 — one (to four total) in unit 72 and four (to 10 total) in unit 73.

Statewide, hunter success in 2011 averaged 21 percent.

The commission also is expected to adopt final waterfowl regulations for the 2013-14 season, including hunting hours and bag limits.

Increased bag limits are being proposed for canvasbacks statewide as well as light geese in the Central Flyway. Scaup (bluebills) bag limits and season dates will be decreased in response to an overall decline in bird numbers.

The breeding population of scaup has declined steadily since 1980, dropping from about 6.3 million birds in the 1970s to an estimated 5.23 million in 2012. That is up 21 percent over 2011 but still well below the goal of 6.3 million set in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

Other agenda items include a predator-management plan for unit 501 (parts of Park and Douglas counties) and a citizens petition to allow the exportation of nonnative raptors into Colorado for falconry purposes. 

Much of Thursday’s afternoon meeting will focus on financial matters, including a discussion of proposed budget-reduction alternatives.


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