Meeting by telephone conference call January 12, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to increase the harvest quota for female mountain lions from 10 to 15 in management units 39 and 40. Commissioner Don Clower brought the issue to the Commission in response to input from the public. He was supported by commissioners John Burns, Roy Moulton, Marcus Gibbs, Fred Wood and Nancy Hadley. Commissioner Alex Irby was not in attendance.
Contrary to rumors circulating later in the day, the Commission did not change or remove quotas in any other hunting units.
The action extends the season in both units until March 31 or until 15 female lions are killed. Hunters had taken 10 female lions in Unit 39 as of earlier this week, and to date have taken 9 females in Unit 40. Male lion harvest has been 10 in Unit 39 and 11 in Unit 40 so far this season. Total harvest in Unit 39 has been twenty or more for the past three seasons, and in Unit 40 it was 11 in 1997 and 1998, increasing to 15 in 1999. The 10-female quota has never been reached in Unit 40, and not reached since 1986 in Unit 39.
Staff reported that there is a general increase in mountain lion populations statewide, including these two units. Putting a quota on female lion harvest is a mechanism to insure that a breeding population is maintained. Quotas vary from unit to unit depending on the size of the population.