Texas Makes History by Granting First-Ever Protections for Mountain Lions

Puma in Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously passes proposal to prohibit canned hunting of mountain lions and implement a 36-hour trap check for the species

Media Contact: Susie Weller Sheppard, media@texansformountainlions.org, 347-446-9904

Austin, Texas - In a significant win for Texas’ mountain lions, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has taken the first step to actively manage the state’s mountain lion population. At a Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting on May 23, commissioners unanimously voted to ban canned hunting of mountain lions and to require that live mountain lions not be held in traps for longer than 36 hours. 

With this historic ruling, Texas now stands with all 16 states home to breeding mountain lions in regulating the hunting and trapping of the species. 

“If there’s one thing that Texans can agree on, it’s that the symbol of wildness in our state, the mountain lion, shouldn’t be left in traps days or weeks on end until they die from dehydration and exposure,” said Texans for Mountain Lions coalition member and wildlife filmmaker Ben Masters. “It was inspiring to see ranchers, trappers, hunters, hippies, outfitters, biologists and wildlife advocates from across the state all converge to support more respectful management of our cats. We are grateful for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission’s leadership on this issue and for the thousands of people who chimed in supporting these changes.” 

As a potential next step in managing the state’s mountain lion populations, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners requested that TPWD prepare materials on mandatory mountain lion harvest reporting - a standard hunting practice and wildlife management tool used in other states that would begin to fill the significant gap in scientific data on the species’ abundance, mortality causes and population trends.

The recent ruling follows a call from TPWD Commissioners for public comment on the proposal, which produced a total of 7,531 comments, with 91% or 6,881 saying they support a prohibition of canned hunting of mountain lions and implementation of a 36-hour trap or snare check for the species.

“Establishing trap check standards is a historic moment for Texas, but I was particularly appreciative of the Commission’s formal request for TPWD to prepare materials on mandatory harvest reporting,” said Dr. Mark Elbroch, who leads Panthera’s Puma Program and is also a member of the Texans for Mountain Lions coalition. “Harvest reporting is the most cost-efficient way to gather information about mountain lion abundance and their trends over time.  It will help TPWD make informed decisions about the conservation management of mountain lions far into the future." 

About Texans for Mountain Lions
Texans for Mountain Lions is a coalition of landowners, biologists, conservationists, and organizations that is working to improve the status and conservation of our state’s largest wild cat, the mountain lion. Our purpose is to support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, and other stakeholders to implement a science-based management strategy to ensure the long-term survival of healthy mountain lion populations in Texas. Visit TexansforMountainLions.org for more information about mountain lions in Texas.