Mountain Lion Hunters Asked To Return Surveys

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CHEYENNE– For the first time, all mountain lion hunters who hunted lions during the 2007-08 hunting season are being surveyed as the Game and Fish is seeking more information on mountain lion hunter success rate and the effort being put into lion hunting.

“For a number of years, all successful lion hunters have been required to have their kill checked by Game and Fish officials,” said Reg Rothwell, Supervisor of Biological Services.  “But this is the first year that all licensed hunters have been surveyed, whether they were successful or not in the hunting season.”

Last year (2006-07) hunters harvested 186 lions in Wyoming, which approximates the 5-year harvest average of 188.

Surveys have already been sent to more than 1,600 hunters who purchased licenses in 2007 and the first few months of 2008.  The Game and Fish is looking for information from hunters who hunted between Sept. 1, 2007 and Mar. 1, 2008.  Even though several hunt areas are open year round, most mountain lion hunting takes place between the September-March time period. 

Perhaps more than any other big game or trophy game species, more mountain lion licenses are sold to hunters who purchase a license on the chance they will see a mountain lion while hunting other species such as deer and elk, and as such, many hunters with lion licenses do not actively hunt mountain lions.  The survey will enable the department to get a better handle on hunter success rates and will also provide needed information on days spent afield and numbers of lions observed.

“This is important information in helping us determine population trends in the different management areas in Wyoming,” Rothwell said.

Harvest survey coordinator Chris Leonard said mountain lion surveys were sent out in the last month and, so far, the return has been less than expected.  “We will be doing follow up surveys in the near future,” Leonard said.  “But hunters can help right now by getting their surveys back to us as soon as possible.”