Current law allows, when authorized by the parks and wildlife commission (commission), a person to hunt and take a bobcat or mountain lion. The bill generally prohibits shooting, wounding, killing, or trapping a bobcat, Canada lynx, or mountain lion. The bill allows for the shooting, wounding, killing, or trapping or the attempted shooting, wounding, killing, or trapping if it is:
- Immediately necessary to protect an individual from bodily harm;
- By a peace officer or licensed veterinarian acting in the course and scope of their duties;
- By a federal, state, or local department of health to protect human health or safety;
- Authorized by a scientific collecting license;
- Authorized by a wildlife sanctuary license;
- Authorized by a commercial wildlife park license, unless the license authorizes the licensee to shoot, wound, kill, or engage in trapping bobcats, Canada lynx, or mountain lions;
- By a zoological park accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums or is authorized by a zoological park license;
- Expressly authorized by federal law;
- By the division of parks and wildlife (division) for the protection of a threatened species or an endangered species; or
- By the division for the purpose of relocating the animal and is done using nonlethal methods and devices.
A person that shoots, wounds, or kills a bobcat, Canada lynx, or mountain lion to prevent bodily harm to an individual must notify the division within 24 hours after the incident and may not, without authorization from the division, remove from the site, retain, or transfer all or a portion of the bobcat, Canada lynx, or mountain lion.
The bill also establishes an exception for a livestock owner if the shooting, wounding, killing, or trapping of a bobcat or mountain lion occurs on land owned or leased by the livestock owner and is immediately necessary to protect livestock and to protect further loss of livestock if certain conditions are met. A person that shoots, wounds, kills, or traps a bobcat or mountain lion to protect livestock:
- Must report the wounding, trapping, or killing to the division within 5 days after the incident;
- May not, without authorization from the division, remove from the site, retain, or transfer all or a portion of the bobcat or mountain lion; and
- May not hold the animal in captivity unless for purposes of rehabilitation.
A person that violates the bill is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $500 to $2,000 or up to one year in jail, an assessment of 20 hunting license suspension points, and civil restitution of $700 for a mountain lion or bobcat and $1,000 for a Canada lynx. Additionally, upon conviction, the commission may suspend the person's hunting license for up to 5 years.
The penalty for doing any of the following without legal authority is a class 5 felony:
- Selling or purchasing a mountain lion;
- Offering for sale or purchase a mountain lion; or
- Soliciting another person to illegally hunt or take a mountain lion for monetary gain.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)