The State of the Union of Colorado Mountain Lion, Bobcat, and Lynx Hunting Ban
By Robert Kroger
There is a tremendous battle coming. One that could really have significant consequential effects on multiple states and hunting regulations and opportunities in the future. In 2024, if a number of things line up (which we have confidence that they will) a ballot initiative (Proposed Initiative #91) will be put forward to the public of Colorado to vote whether hunting of mountain lions, bobcats, and lynxes will be banned, and put in the State statutes of Colorado (yes, if you are up to speed at all, it’s already illegal federally and on a state basis to hunt Lynx in Colorado).
The biggest factor that can hurt hunting right now, in the current timing of the process, is misinformation being spread by hunters and hunting organizations. The misinformation from public opinion pieces, letters to the editors, etc., is out of our control, and there is not much we can do about. But, we can have a fully informed hunting community, that is educated enough to have meaningful fact based dinner, social media, and other conversations and discussions around the proposed ban initiative.
So where do we stand right now? November 18th, where are we? The current ballot initiative is in the Title board process in the State of Colorado. Proponents are arguing for keeping the language and initiative as is, opponents (i.e., Coloradans for Responsible Wildlife Management [CRWM]) are arguing for changes to the Title language. The best-case scenario, that the initiative gets dismissed altogether, although that is unlikely.
The initiative has gone through two rounds of Title Board hearings. At the latest title board rehearing, the term “trophy hunting” was removed from the question that will appear on the ballot before voters entirely, now stating just a “prohibition on the hunting of mountain lions, lynx, and bobcats…”. However, and this is a critical distinction, while the “trophy hunting” language was removed from question that will appear on the ballot, it was NOT removed from the language that will become law if the measure passes. While we have given ourselves a tremendous political edge by removing the language from question itself, the threat of realizing the nation’s first statutory definition regarding “trophy hunting” is every bit of a threat as it was previously.
The new title for ballot measure 91 is as follows:
“A change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning a prohibition on the hunting of mountain lions, lynx, and bobcats, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting the intentional killing, wounding, pursuing, entrapping, or discharging or releasing of a deadly weapon at a mountain lion, lynx, or bobcat; creating eight exceptions to this prohibition including for the protection of human life, property, and livestock; establishing a violation of this prohibition as a class 1 misdemeanor; and increasing fines and limiting wildlife license privileges for persons convicted of this crime.”
Currently, the opponents of the initiative have appealed the title board decision to the Colorado Supreme Court to appeal the Title and the ballot measure. The timeframe is front of us is likely 8 to 12 weeks, with no oral arguments being heard by the Colorado Supreme Court, only written arguments. The Supreme Court decision around the initiative will be rendered early in 2024.
This blog represents the first update in many updates over the next 13 months as we work toward Election Day. The opponents of this initiative are us, the hunting community, being led by the Coloradans for Responsible Wildlife Management. They are the spear tip of pushing back in Colorado. The rest of us are the lashing support around that spear tip. This blog is not the sole voice of Blood Origins but rather the collective’s groups voice providing factual, up to date information to our community.
When we receive an update on the ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court, we will give you more information. Right now, educate yourself on the process, educate yourself on mountain lion hunting, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Also, for more information and to help support the fight to defeat this measure go to savethehuntcolorado.com.