Contacts: Victoria Fox, 505-248-6455 or Susanna Henry 928-783-7861
(Yuma, AZ) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in western Arizona is proposing to increase hunting opportunities for the public by allowing a mountain lion hunt throughout the Refuge.
Our studies indicate that at least five mountain lions are regularly using the Kofa Mountains alone, said Paul Cornes, Refuge Manager. The refuge can support a limited harvest of lions. This proposal will expand hunter opportunities for a species that is already in high demand.
The proposal includes adding the Refuge to an existing mountain lion hunt that takes place in surrounding areas including the New Water, Little Horn, Tank, Dome Rock, Trigo, Plomosa, Harcuvar and Harquahala Mountains. The harvest objective, or overall take limit of mountain lions for the entire hunt area, will initially remain at one lion annually.
The primary objective of allowing mountain lion hunting on the Refuge is to provide visitors with high-quality wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities, while maintaining healthy and productive wildlife populations that are compatible with the habitat. The mountain lion hunting season on Kofa NWR would be limited to the dates of the existing quail season which runs from early October through early February, with the exact dates set by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission annually.
The Kofa NWR staff has prepared a Mountain Lion Hunt Plan and accompanying Environmental Assessment and Compatibility Determination that are available for review. They are available on-line at:
Copies may also be obtained by visiting the Kofa NWR Headquarters at 356 West 1st Street in Yuma between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by electronic request to Debbie_Pike@fws.gov and from the Yuma County Public Library located at 350 S. 34d Avenue inYuma.
The interested public has until December 22 to provide comments in writing to Refuge Headquarters. Comments may be sent by fax to (928) 783-8611 or by e-mail to Debbie_Pike@fws.gov. All comments must be sent or postmarked by December 22, 2006 in order to be considered.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
Visit the Service?s website at http://www.fws.gov.