Signatures submitted for Colorado initiative to prohibit hunting of mountain lions, bobcats, and lynx

In Colorado, the campaign Cats Aren’t Trophies submitted 180,000 signatures on July 3, 2024, for a ballot initiative to prohibit the hunting of mountain lions, bobcats, and lynxes. At least 124,238 signatures must be verified.

The ballot initiative would make violations a class 1 misdemeanor and those convicted of violations would be prohibited from holding a wildlife license for five years. A person convicted twice would be prohibited from holding a wildlife license for life.

The ballot initiative would provide exceptions, such as killing a mountain lion, bobcat, or lynx to defend human life. It would also allow for non-lethal methods to defend livestock, property, or motor vehicles. There would be other exceptions for accidents, veterinarians, and special licenses.

Through June 26, Cats Aren’t Trophies received $443,267 in contributions. The largest donor was Animal Wellness Action, which provided $235,375.

Samantha Miller, campaign manager for Cats Aren’t Trophies, said, “Today we submit signatures to give Colorado voters an opportunity to stop the inhumane, unsporting killing of mountain lions and bobcats for their heads and their beautiful coats. This is commercial killing, with lion-hunting guides charging an $8,000 fee to guarantee a ‘trophy’ and trappers selling bobcat pelts to China.”

Dan Gates, the executive director of Coloradans for Responsible Wildlife Management, said, “Their definition within the initiative indicates that trophy hunting is to intentionally kill wound or trap any one of those species that they list in the initiative. That could be easily defined as any other wildlife.”

Colorado voters have previously decided on a ballot measure to limit the hunting of a certain species. In 1992, voters approved Amendment 10, which prohibited using dogs or bait to hunt black bears and prohibited black bear hunting between March 1 and September 1.

Fourteen other initiatives have been cleared to gather signatures in Colorado. Three of those initiatives have signature deadlines of July 25, while the other eleven must submit signatures by Aug. 5.

Currently, two citizen initiatives and seven legislative referrals are set to appear on the Nov. ballot in Colorado.

From 2000 through 2022, 70 initiatives were on the ballot in Colorado during even-numbered years. Of the 70 initiatives, 29 were approved (41.43%), and 41 were defeated (58.57%). An average of about 6 measures were on the ballot during even-numbered years.