Following an extended mountain lion hunt closure started in 1996, the Tribe recently opened mountain lion hunting on the reservation for Southern Ute Tribal members only. The extended hunt closure afforded the Tribe a valuable opportunity to partner with the University of Wyoming in researching lion population levels and movement patterns on the reservation. The research has provided critically needed information to wildlife managers who are responsible for establishing and regulating sustainable big game hunting programs.
Provided here are important guidelines that Tribal member hunters must keep in mind when pursuing lions on the Southern Ute Reservation.
For the purposes of mountain lion hunting, the Division of Wildlife Resource Management divides the reservation into east and west hunt units separated by the Los Pinos River. The mountain lion season is regulated by a quota system whereby if the quota for a unit is filled; the season ends for that unit regardless of the date. The east hunt unit has a quota of four lions total or two female lions. The west unit quota is 3 lions total or two female lions. It is the hunter’s responsibility to know where the harvest quota stands immediately before engaging in a lion hunt. Hunters should contact the Southern Ute lion quota information line, announced seasonally by the Division, for quota updates. Also, it is unlawful to harvest females with kittens or kittens themselves. Hunters must be able to distinguish between male and female and kitten and adult lions.
Confusing a female lion for a male lion, or a kitten for an adult, is an easy mistake to make and can result in serious wildlife offenses and fines. Therefore, the ability to make these distinctions is a critical skill for lion hunters to know and use in the field. Below is a general guide for identifying different sex and age classes in mountain lions.
Lion Guide courtesy:
Anderson, C.R., Jr., and F.G. Lindzey. 2000.
A photographic guide to estimating mountain lion age classes.
WY Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Resource Unit, Laramie.