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Killing Female Lions

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Dec 22, 2000
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Location
Pecos, NM, USA
There has been alot of discussion on here lately about the killing (or not killing) of female lions. I do not want to start a fight here, but I'd like to get the opinions of other folks on the forum.

I generally agree that it is probably not a good idea to kill female lions, but there are some extenuating circumstances in some cases. In NM many folks (myself included) feel that we have too many lions. Our mule deer herd is suffering badly and I think a major part of this is predation by lions, bobcats and
coyotes. In many of the southern portions of the state our bighorn sheep are hurting because lions are taking so many of them. In fact the problem is so bad that the NM chapter of FNAWS is offering a $700.00 bounty for any lion taken legally in those sheep ranges. In addition, the state is going to re-open the cougar season in those areas (if the quota has not been filled by March 31) so that hunters have the remainder of the year to fill the quotas in those areas. The state has actually hired local contractors to kill lions in the sheep ranges!

The NMDG&F has always allowed hunters to kill female lions (at least as long as I remember), I assume based on good biological data. So what is the difference between killing female lions in NM and killing whitetail does in Pensylvania? Or killing cow elk in November and December when the cows are still wet?

Some will argue that female lions often do not travel with their cubs and if they are killed the cubs will die. This is going to sound harsh, but if the purpose is to bring down the lion population, so what?

What do you all think?

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"The worst advice you can give a person with a sour attitude is to be himself"
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[This message has been edited by Bear Creek Adventures (edited 02-15-2001).]
 
B

bcat

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Although I know this is a "Baited Question" I will reply. The main difference between female lions and whitetail deer in Pensylavania ir cow elk is NUMBERS. Now I suppose you are going to tell me there are as many lions as there are deer or elk!!!! Where lion populations are out of control, there is generally a very high population of deer or elk, or in the case of California, the hunting of lions have been outlawed totally. Whether they are out of contol or not another reason is the kittens do not travel with the mother very much till after they are done nursing and then the mother hunts alot on her own and then retrieves the kittens after the kill is made. Deer and elk can survive on their ownb after a three or four month period, but lion kittens depend on their momma till they are 14 to 16 months old. I have seen many starving kittens and its not a pretty sight. If ya want to wipe out your lions like they have tried to do here just kill all the females and see how long it is before ya have to go a week or two without even finding a track. If you have ever spent any time with old lion hunters that werent just bounty hunters they will tell ya the same thing. Tell me why it is illegal to kill a female bear with cubs at side!!! There is a reason behind it and it should be the same with lions only the kittens are rarely at the mothers side! bcat
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[This message has been edited by bcat (edited 02-15-2001).]
 

Tobey

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I have no knowledge as to the reproduction rate of Lions or there Cub survival rates without there mothers.But I am also in the Guiding and outfitting Buisnes.Females are your future!!!!!!!!!

Tobey
 

Cuban

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Here is my view, Since I was recently in the situation of choosing to take or not take a female, I look at it this way. I probably wont have the opportunity to hunt cougar every year as I do with elk or deer. I may never hunt them again after I finally get one. So passing up on the female is Ok with me, if I only take one lion over my hunting life I would want it to be a male. But if tomorrow I could hunt, and we treed a female it would make for an interesting decision,????? I couldnt tell you all what I would do right now ?? It would depend on the moment. So I guess that means I dont have an issue with taking females. I would just rather get a Tom. If I had shot that female the other day I would have considered it a trophy and have been proud of it. Im thankful that my guide did not pressure me either way. CUBAN

Heres a pic of the one we let go. If THis works.

[This message has been edited by Cuban (edited 02-17-2001).]
 

Terry aka Coydog

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My vote is no on shooting the female lions. You just don't know if there are little ones that will starve to death.

Cuban, Your answer is a little wishy washy. You say you want the lion you take to be a male but if you treed one tommorrow you don't know the answer.
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I have had bioligists tell me cougar populations go up and down with the deer populations. Is this true?


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Tanglefoot

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Very good question BCA. I would like to ask this one question before I reply to yours. I have heard that a lion will kill, on average a deer a week. What, in your opinion do you think of this average? I feel that the killing of female lions is not as big deal as some think.But I also think that if a lion kills a deer a week then killing some females will help greatly in reducing the population. I thing that lions are beautiful creatures but they are killers plain and simple. If an area has a high lion population then smack the cats you tree. I am not a guide and do not rely on the lion population to make a living, so maybe I would not view this as such a serious problem. I know that the quotas in Montana get filled quite quickly,this year I heard within 5 days of the season opening in the Swan valley. That tells me that there a hell of a lot of lions in there and if your a guide and you have 5 days of season to get your client a lion then a female is not out of the question. I would rather see the populations down and the deer and elk numbers up. But that's just my opinion.
TF
 

hntrjohn

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$700 bounty from FNAWS on legal killed lions in that area. Sounds like a deal to me. Then again NM wants to get as many $3000 non-resident sheep permits as possible.

John

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Cliff Burton
 
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Location
Pecos, NM, USA
Tanglefoot,

One deer a week is a good rule of thumb. Females with cubs may take a few more and toms may take a few less. Deer are their main staple, although in my area they have started killing lots of elk, since there are not many deer left. I guess that once they start killing bighorn, they aquire quite a taste for it! They are decimating the sheep.

Hntrjohn,
You are right that the state wants to promote our sheep hunts, but there are only a very limited number of sheep permits available. There are hundreds of residents and non-residents that apply for those few permits, so I don't think that money is so much an issue in this case. Also FNAWS is not affiliated with the G&F dept. in any way. The money they are offering for lion kills is coming from donations from their membership.

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Muledeer4me

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I have been giving this one some thought and wondering what I would.It is legal to kill female's so what does it boil down to.I called a biologist in our area just to get some of there thought's on this.
He broke it down into some great things to think about.Most of what has been said.
There is the big game hunter's --alot of them do not want to see or really care about the lion's except that they want the number's down.They would kill any they see.
Then there is the outfitter's or those that hunt lions' and have a vested intrest in keeping the number's high. They would need to keep the killing of females way down or not take them at all.( This I understand And it make good business sence)
But then come in to play the out of state hunter or someone that just want's a lion,not knowing what is big or not and only having the chance to try it once.So then I would think it get a bit harder for the outfitter.
His job being to guide and make his paying hunter happy and to still keep lion numbers up so he still has a business and something to hunt.
I came away with a much better understanding but still with the thought that if it is legal then it would be up to the outfitter to share his reasons for not wanting to kill females with the hunter and getting to know what that hunter wanted out of that hunt.Then it would be up to that paying hunter to decide if they would want to kill a female.So muuch comes into this as to what side you are on that I am not sure there is a right or wrong.I would hate to see them all gone and yet if I were to come up with the money to hunt one I am not sure I would not take a female and be happy as can be.( keeping in mind that it was legale to do so.
This guy even said it was a very hard call because of all the side's to the issue but also thought that seeing's how it is legal it would be a call for each person to make with his outfitter after getting all the side's to it and knowing in his own mind what he wants out of the hunt.Just more to think about, but it is interesting.


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Debbie
 

josh

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Dec 20, 2000
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MN
I hesitate to comment on this, because I dont know much about lions but here goes..........How many lions do you outfitters take a year?? The arguement that lion hunting has a profound affect on an outfitters income, seems far fetched to me....In other words, I doubt many outfitters make a living solely hunting lions.....

I believe this is probably like any other game management....Things vary from region to region and State to state.....What is good for one area might be bad for another....

One thing for sure......Outfitters no matter what their viepoint, are probably going to have the best interest of the lions in mind.
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B

bcat

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Mule deer for me-In case you havent noticed I am an outfitter that guides deer elk and sheep hunters too!!!! I do take lion hunters, but I just have seen what can happen if its open season on females. In one area here they opened it wide open for the killing of any lion and I saw it go from a decent lion population, to NOTHING in two years!!!! This is wrong, and it doesnt leave any kind of balance. Bears kill their share of elk calves too, but they dont allow the killing of bears (females) with cubs either. Why the lions then???? By killing a female lion you have killed possibly 80 or more lions over her lifespan!!!! Think about it??? bcat

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Muledeer4me

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Josh,the state to state thing is one of the thing's we talksd about and that does play a big part. Also B'cat I have been thinking about this and trying to figure out all the angles to it.I do not think most outfitters are getting rich off of lion hunting,but the fact that we are looking at this from all side's that does play into it.Let me say that if I made any money off hunting in anyway I too would have a strong feeling about it.I am trying to understand the differerce in view's and what I come up with is that it depend's on what each person has to do with that animal.I totaly see your side of it in that you want there to be a healthy population so you can guide or just run your dog's.I would to if in your shoes.But the other side still is that its legal and there are folk's out there that just want a cat.So the difference between say killing a coyote with no regard for it is different then a cat because we see the cat as having a money value and not the coyote?Do not take this as a fight as that is not what I am wanting to do, but there is a difference here. What about bob cat's do you only take male's? Is it the way we view these ----Big game ---or varmint's? I have never hunted cat's so I really have no class for them for sure Big game or varmint's.It come's down to who you are and what you want out of hunting? I am still open to all side's of this and not sure there is a right or wrong same as for killing small buck's or doe's and cow's.Like I said I feel the need to say this is only my thought on a really hard topic and in no way meant as a fight.

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Debbie
 

Muledeer4me

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B'cat , you are right about the killing of Sow's with cub's.So is the difference maybe in how we as hunter's view the Bear against the lion? I have to say now that you said that I view Bear's different then I do cat's. I think of the Bear as a big game animal ,one that I do not want to see wiped out,as I like to try to hunt them.But with the cat's I havent given it alot of thought intil this forum. Still it is a tough one in the fact that it is legal to kill female lion's and not sow's with cub's. Does it come down to personal choice or maybe that the law's need to be changed. Im still out on this one. But If I was to kill a female and I then found out that it had kittens somewhere I would feel really bad.

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Debbie
 
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Dec 22, 2000
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Pecos, NM, USA
You guys have all brought up some very good points in this discussion. To be honest I had not thought of some of the angles that have been brought up. Muledeer, you bring up an interesting part of this pie and that is the part that politics plays into all of this. It is true that the game animal that brings in the most money to the state (bull elk)is the animal we protect.

Let me play devil's advocate here for a minute. If the state were to make killing females illegal, how could the preditor callers kill lions? They would not know if the lion was a male or female until they do a "ground check." I know there are not too many of them, but I guarantee you they will holler foul the loudest.

Also, let's not differentiate between guides and hunters. In NM there are many, many hunters that have their own hounds and go out on the weekends to hunt them. When they finally do get that cat in a tree that they have been chasing all winter, they want to kill it, male or female. Shouldn't they be allowed to kill ONE female a year if they want to?

Great discussion!! Let's keep it going!

By the way, I just read in the Santa Fe New Mexican where the G&F has hired 6 bounty hunters and is offering them $2,000.00 for each lion they kill in sheep country. There are 6 contractors and they hope to kill 34 lions. To date there has been 209 lions killed in NM this winter.

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"The worst advice you can give a person with a sour attitude is to be himself"
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[This message has been edited by Bear Creek Adventures (edited 02-16-2001).]
 
B

bcat

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I think different areas should be handled differently. If there is tto many lions in sheep country they should open it up, certainly to a point. I just dont believe in the random killing of female lions, I guess mostly because i HAVE A BIG HEART AND HATE TO SEE ANIMALS STARVE TO DEATH. Especially the lions. I have never killed a female bobcat. I dont believe in the shooting of lions with predator call, although it seldom works anyway. Or the shooting of lions period with out the use of dogs. Not because I am in the BUSINESS either, but totally because you cant tell what you are killing until you ground check it. Happened this year in my area. A deer hunter killed a lion (he didnt have a tag either and got busted for it), but he killed the female, and then heard the kittens whinning!!!! He made the mistake of telling someone about it, and they eventually busted him but the kittens starved in the meantime. I really hope they change the law, because lions are not just a predator, but also a big game animal, or trphy game either way ya look at it. Areas where they are having trouble with livestock or just overpopulation, they should open up a little more, but wiping them out is EASY with NO female controll on mortality. I know it happened here!!!!bcat

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josh

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I agree totaly with bcat's last post!!!
ITs a lot easier to thin the population, than to wish you hadn't....
 

Cuban

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It seems that there is a consensus with the guys in the "business" that taking a female is not in the best interest of the lion guides or of the lions. I just checked out this years harvest results in NM and there have been something like 78 females and 117 males taken. Im no statistics expert, but it would seem to me that hunters and guides across the state are making thought out decions to not take as many females as they do males. I agree that this is a good thing.


Terry
My previos post probably was somewhat wishy washy. The chase on that lion only lasted a couple of hours, If we had been after her for several days the results may have been different. This again may sound undecisive but as a hunter you are always put in different situations and react accordingly. For instance I always thought I would never want to kill cow elk, well that changed a few years ago when I started bow hunting, Sure I'd rather get a nice bull, but taking any elk with a bow is now rewarding to me.Just my thoughts. CUBAN
 

Terry aka Coydog

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Cuban I wasn't taking a shot at you I waqs just wondering. True, I like to take any elk cause I love the meat. So therefore I see your point. Iwas just wondering what your angle was. Thanks. Terry aka Coydog
 
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