Oppose Cougar Trophy Hunting Quota Increase

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We need your help!  


The Humane Society of Utah is planning to attend a board meeting this Thursday, Sept. 1, and support the Humane Society of the United States by adding our testimony to oppose trophy hunting of cougars. HSU is opposed to all trophy hunting, whether it is a lion in Africa or a cougar in our state. Cougars are not hunted for food, and killing them is not the solution to wildlife management. Your voice is needed as well.


What: Let the Utah Wildlife Board know that you DO NOT support increasing the cougar trophy hunting quota. The Utah Wildlife Board will vote on proposed recommendations to increase hunting quotas to 522 cougars in units across the state of Utah. They will also vote on a recommendation to create the state's fourth unit, where unlimited trophy hunting will be allowed.


When: Thursday, Sept. 1 at 9 a.m.


Where: State Dept. of Natural Resources - 1594 W. North Temple, SLC, Utah 


How: You may have the chance to stand and speak for a couple of minutes to let the board know you are opposed to a hunting quota increase. Please keep all comments brief, professional and courteous. Your attendance matters; please share and invite others to attend as well.


Why: Killing more cougars is not the answer.

The best available science on mule deer survival reflects three key points:

  1. Mule deer need adequate nutrition to survive, to reproduce, and bring new members into their population. To obtain this nutrition, mule deer need adequate habitat.

  2. Breeding females (does) must be protected as they are the biological bank account.

  3. Ecological systems are complex. Studies show that killing coyotes, black bears and mountain lions is an expensive strategy that will ultimately fail to address the malnutrition and habitat problems that mule deer face. Killing predators will not magically grow deer herds.

   Additional reading: 
  • Studies such as Hurley et al. (2011) and Bishop et al. (2009) demonstrate that killing native carnivores to increase deer populations is unlikely to produce positive results for herds.

  • Protecting breeding does and deer herds' access to adequate nutrition is the key factor in maintaining healthy mule deer populations (e.g., Monteith et al. 2014).

  • Each year, some deer will die no matter what. The question that biologists have studied extensively is whether deer die from predation or some other cause, especially malnutrition.

  • The scientific consensus is that deer are limited by their food resources ((e.g., Forrester and Wittmer 2013, Monteith et al. 2014). Young animals that have access to fewer nutritional reserves are less likely to survive (Monteith et al. 2014). Mule deer survival is absolutely reliant on deer herds' ability to gain access to adequate nutrition - but that nutrition can be hindered by weather, habitat loss, oil and gas development, fire suppression, and competition with domestic livestock for instance (e.g.,Forrester and Wittmer 2013,Monteith et al. 2014).

  • Comprehensive studies, including those conducted in Colorado (Bishop et al. 2009) and Idaho (Hurley et al. 2011), show that killing native carnivores fails to grow deer herds.

  • In recent studies that involved predator removal, those removals had no beneficial effect for mule deer (Forrester and Wittmer 2013). If predators had been absent from those ecosystems, the deer would have died from some other cause of mortality anyway (Monteith et al. 2014).

  • In Colorado, biologists have found that deer are limited by their food quality, especially on winter range (Bishop et al. 2009, Bergman et al. 2014). Biologists found that managing winter range for deer, weed control and reseeding, greatly benefitted deer (Bergman et al. 2014).