The Utah Wildlife Board’s recent decision to increase the trophy hunting quotas for cougars is not in the best interest of these wildcats or our people. During the upcoming season, trophy hunters can kill 641 cougars. Numerous dependent kittens will lose their mothers because of the actions of trophy hunters.
Despite widespread opposition to the increased quotas, it is clear that the board’s decision was strongly influenced by Utah’s livestock producers, who still buy into the myth that killing cougars will reduce livestock deaths. Research has continuously shown us that this doesn’t work and that heavy hunting of cougars can actually increase conflicts. Killing cougars, especially the resident adult males who occupy large territories, only results in instability caused by younger cougars, who are more prone to conflicts with humans and livestock, flocking to the area.
If the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources truly wants to address cougar conflicts, the agency should halt, or at least significantly decrease, the level of trophy hunting of cougars permitted in the state. I call on all Utahns to contact the Wildlife Board as well as their legislators and let them know that this trophy hunt is unacceptable.