Attempting to tug on the heartstrings of thousands of uninformed Arizona voters, another animal activist group is making an emotional play on sound wildlife management practices.
Earlier this week a group known as Arizonans for Wildlife filed paperwork to collect signatures for a ballot initiative they hope will eventually ban the hunting and trapping of wild cats such as mountain lions and bobcats.
Labelling the practice with the wildly emotional title of “trophy hunting”, the group is required to collect over 150,000 signatures before July 5, 2018, to have a shot of having the issue on the November 2018 ballot.
The group has the support of other obtuse animal rights groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, the Arizona Animal Welfare League, and the Sierra Club. With hopes of following in the footsteps of neighboring California-a state that has already outlawed the hunting of mountain lions-their intentions, while seemingly pure, will only prove to harm these animals.
According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, California officials handled over 3,200 lion incidents between July 2015 and July 2017. By contrast, the state-managed cats in Arizona only prompted 642 calls during the same time period. It is also worth noting that not one of those cats was removed for public safety reasons, unlike in the state of California.
An often conveniently overlooked fact is that California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife does the job of hunting-albeit without the benefits that revenue derived from license sales bring to wildlife management and habitat improvements.
It is mandated by the state of California to remove each and every cat that poses a risk to public safety.
No removal. No relocation.
As stated on the CDFW website:
“The CDFW or law enforcement personnel on scene will secure the area, then locate and kill the offending animal as soon as possible. The CDFW does not relocate mountain lions that are a threat to public safety.”
It is policies such as this one mandated by the State of California as well as this push for the overhaul of hunting regulations in Arizona that make the very idea of banning hunting inane.
The fact remains, whether managed through hunting or by the state-level fish and game agencies, make no mistake about it, these cats are killed one way or another.
My question and one presented by many in the hunting community is: why on Earth would we bypass the inherent benefits that hunting and fishing license sales bring not only to wildlife but to the wild places in which they reside?