I have been writing letters to prisoners lately, and I’ve been thrilled to get a few responses. When I wrote to Rod Coronado, I mentioned the recent apparent victory with regards to the Kofa Mountain Lion Hunt proposal. I didn’t say much about it because I knew Rod himself would know more about mountain lion hunts in Arizona than my initial research would have taught me.
I was right. I got a letter from Rod today, and he talked a bit about it.
Actually the whole state of AZ has a year-round lion hunting season including within the Kofa. Theoretically in the Kofa, it is supposed to be closed to lion hunting after a certain quota has been filled. I have gone to meetings and given testimony against these lion hunts, arguing that if they are meant to protect the bighorn, then why still offer 15 permits a year in the Kofa to kill sheep? Their response is the lions kill young sheep not the older rams like the hunters do. I have found naturally killed/died rams in the Kofa and hunters have too, calling such natural deaths “a waste of a sporting opportunity”! Anyhow, I know the HSUS doesn’t present all the facts, so I wanted to you know lions are not safe in the Kofa.
Do know that I believe letter writing and leafleting are very effective and still believe in them. Thanks for your support and work for the lions!
Well, I didn’t think that the HSUS would give us the whole story, so I can’t say I’m surprised at Ron’s assessment. I was really pleased that Rod took the time to write and let me in on some additional information that I honestly am having a hard time finding on the ‘net. However, what I did find, while not specific to Kofa, not only backs up what Rod had to say about mountain lion hunts in Arizona, it was rather chilling to read what the Arizona Game and Fishing Department had to say:
Overview: Unit 18A has a healthy mountain lion population. The mule deer population in this unit is in a real slump partly due to a high level of predation by lions, coyotes, and other factors. Any lion harvest here will help reduce mortality to the deer population. It is best to hunt lions on a fresh snow, but those hunters with good dogs can hunt on dry ground as well. Good snow conditions are more rare here than some other areas, especially in the lower elevations. Don’t leave home without your lion tag. Sooner or later you will come across a lion. Hunters calling for coyotes and bobcats will occasionally call in lions. Callers who want to call specifically for lions should call from one location for at least 30 minutes to one hour or more. Many lion tracks around a water hole may indicate a nearby kill and the lion may still be near. Call near the site. It would not be uncommon for a hunt for another species to turn into a lion hunt with the location of a heavy amount of fresh lion sign.
Areas: Dedicated mountain lion hunters should hunt wherever and whenever they can. The Truxton Flat/Walkover Mine area, Jolly Road and Juniper Mountains are all worth checking out. Watch out for remote real estate developments.
Of course the mountain lions are not the only animals being talked about, but I quoted that specifically because it is what I’ve talked about before and what Rod and I talked about. The AZGFD’s hints on “harvesting” various species was sickening. And it somehow reminded me strongly of The Matrix. But “dedicated mountain lion hunters should hunt wherever and whenever they can” is a pretty clear indication of where the AZGFD stands.
Kofa itself has very contradictory statements on its webpage about hunting:
- Regulated hunting is permitted for quail, bighorn sheep, deer, cottontail, rabbit, coyote, and fox. All other wildlife is protected.
- Hunting is in accordance with applicable state and refuge regulations. Licenses and permits are required.
- The refuge is closed to the taking of predatory animals during deer season, except that deer hunters with valid Unit 45A, 45B, and 45C deer permits may take predatory animals until they have taken a deer.
- Private lands occur within the refuge and may be posted.
- Shooting from a vehicle is prohibited.
- All firearms, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns, within a vehicle must be unloaded and either cased or broken down.
- Trapping is not permitted on the refuge.
- Hunting seasons for the refuge are listed in current Arizona Game and Fish Department hunting regulations.
All “other” wildlife is protected…except predators during deer hunting season for hunters with certain permits. So obviously there are long lists of animals not protected at all, despite Kofa’s claim of protection and status as a wildlife “refuge”. More research to be done, obviously, because some of this information seems to be hard to find and somewhat contradictory. I’m going to continue writing to Rod and find out more information, if possible. He did mention Arizona Earth First! but they don’t seem to be updating their website any more. Rod is scheduled for release in late March, which is great news.