Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Web tool may help Montana hunters identify sex of lions in field

Web-based course aimed at mountain lion conservation

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 12:25 PM MST

Montana lion hunters have a new Web-based education tool aimed at helping to properly identify the sex of mountain lions in the field.

“The new Mountain Lion Identification Course will help hunters and houndsmen learn to identify whether a lion is a male or female and then challenge their identification skills with an interactive test,” said Thomas Baumeister, the education program supervisor for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The voluntary and free mountain lion identification course is available via FWP's Web site at fwp.mt.gov . Click, “Mountain Lion ID.”

FWP is asking hunters, guides, outfitters, and houndsmen to take time to review and complete the course to help them better determine the sex of a mountain lion before heading afield. Many of Montana's lion hunting districts are managed to limit female lion harvests through a quota system.

Baumeister said the identification effort will help reduce unintended female lion harvests. “Our goal is to provide useful education programs for hunters and eliminate the over-harvest of female lions,” Baumeister said. “This type of training started in Colorado. We feel it will prove to be an excellent way to help hunters participate in the conservation and management of mountain lions here in Montana.”

FWP has required black bear hunters to pass a bear identification course since 2001.

http://www.laureloutlook.com/articles/2010/01/13/sports/18lion.txt

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