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Arizona Game and Fish Opposes Proposed Wild Cat Hunting Ban

Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

A proposed statewide ballot initiative would ban all hunting of wild cats in Arizona. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission has voted to oppose the measure.

The commission voted unanimously earlier this week against the proposal to outlaw hunting bobcats, mountain lions and other large cats in Arizona. Members say the initiative would restrict the department’s ability to manage wildlife and isn’t based on science.

The group Arizonans for Wildlifeproposed the measure, and says wild cats are trophy hunted for their heads and fur using cruel, but legal, methods like steel-jawed traps and packs of dogs. They say state wildlife managers and lawmakers have failed to adequately protect wild cats in the state.

The group must collect 150,000 signatures by July for the initiative to appear on the 2018 ballot.

According to Game and Fish, hunters kill between 250 and 350 mountain lions every year in the state along with approximately 2,000 bobcats

Ryan Heinsius was named interim news director and managing editor in January 2024. He joined KNAU's newsroom as an executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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