skip to main content

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

Florida faces lawsuits over its new election law, a medical board fines an Indiana doctor for speaking about a 10-year-old's abortion, and Minnesota advocates say threats to cut SNAP funds are off the mark.

play newscast audioPlay

The White House and Speaker McCarthy gain support to pass their debt ceiling agreement, former President Donald Trump retakes the lead in a new GOP primary poll, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is impeached.

play newscast audioPlay

The growing number of "maternity care deserts" makes having a baby increasingly dangerous for rural Americans, a Colorado project is connecting neighbor to neighbor in an effort to help those suffering with mental health issues, and a school district in Maine is using teletherapy to tackle a similar challenge.

UT Legislature Passes Bill to Allow Year-Round Cougar Hunting

play audio
Play

Friday, March 10, 2023   

Wildlife conservationists are calling for Utah Gov. Spencer Cox to veto House Bill 469, which would allow year-round cougar hunting in the state.

During one of the bill's final readings, Sen. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, introduced a provision to remove the state's current requirement to carry a cougar hunting permit to hunt and kill the large cats.

Kirk Robinson, founder and executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy, said the bill is concerning because Utah already kills more cougars each year than almost any other state. Robinson reported in the 2021-2022 hunting season, 753 cougars were killed out of the roughly 2,500 accounted for by the state's Division of Wildlife Resources.

"Why are we killing so many in the first place?" Robinson asked. "Which makes the question: Why would we have a change in the law to allow even more killings?"

Robinson argued the bill has garnered support because some people believe cougars are responsible for the struggling Utah deer population and also cause public safety concerns. While Robinson recognizes human-cougar encounters have increased in recent years, he argued the bill is "scientifically uninformed and ethically fraught," and killing so many cougars upsets the ecological balance.

In addition to the impact the bill could have on Utah's cougar population, Robinson claimed the way the provision was introduced was "sneaky" and called it a "horrible way to run government." He pointed out if the law were to be enacted, it would remove cougar management from the purview of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and put it in the hands of the Utah Wildlife Board, which is managed by hunters and livestock producers.

Robinson emphasized research has shown there is a correlation between heavy hunting and more conflict incidents, including predation on livestock and encounters with people.

"Why would that be so if killing cougars really does prevent or mitigate conflict? When you take out the dominant males from a cougar population, there are a lot more young cougars," Robinson explained. "They don't have fixed home ranges, and they're not good hunters."

Robinson stressed cougars play a crucial role in stabilizing ecosystems. He added even if the bill is vetoed, the number of cougars being killed needs to come down as it currently sits at two and a half times the recommended amount.


get more stories like this via email

Florida's newest elections law requires that third-party voter registration groups provide mandatory formal signature-matching training to specified persons by the Florida Secretary of State. (Pixabay)

Social Issues

play sound

The moment Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping elections bill into law last week, several voter-advocacy groups filed lawsuits against it…


Health and Wellness

play sound

An Indiana licensing board has fined a local physician $3,000 and handed her a letter of reprimand after she went public about a 10-year-old Ohio pati…

Social Issues

play sound

Groups fighting for children's health are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers to require insurance companies to cover hearing aids and related …


There used to be twice as many marshes and wetlands in Pennsylvania as there are today, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (Christina Saymansky/Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

From conservation to sportsmen's groups, the U.S. Supreme Court is getting plenty of backlash over its most recent ruling, which weakens federal …

Social Issues

play sound

Rural Nebraska could lose on two fronts if two of Gov. Jim Pillen's budget vetoes are allowed to stand. Pillen struck down a second year of …

Smaller and mid-sized farms say due to market concentration and supply-chain issues within agriculture have made it much harder to get their foods to various markets, including schools and restaurants within their own regions. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Rural development leaders say getting healthy, locally grown food to underserved areas is a challenge in states like North Dakota. They hope a new …

Health and Wellness

play sound

A new report spotlights some of the challenges to accessing behavioral health care for the one in seven Americans who live in rural areas. Kendall …

Social Issues

play sound

On Wednesday, Xcel Energy customers will have a chance to tell the Colorado Public Utilities Commission what they think about the company's request - …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021