Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts new regulations regarding mountain lions

AUSTIN The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved regulations banning canned hunting and implementing mountain lion trapping standards during its May meeting. These changes are the first in more than 50 years for mountain lion management in Texas and are moving the state toward more modern hunting and trapping standards.

“The adoption of this legislation is an important step toward better management of mountain lions in the state,” Richard Heilbrun, director of the Wildlife Diversity Program, said in a news release. “The regulations support ethical hunting and trapping practices while providing landowners with flexibility to manage mountain lions.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the measure, which included a ban on canned hunting, which means capturing and then releasing a mountain lion to hunt or chase with dogs.

After concerns were raised that some pumas were dying in traps, which many consider inhumane and potentially damaging to the reputation of trappers, a 36-hour trapping standard was also adopted. This regulation ensures that live lions will not be kept in traps or snares for longer than 36 hours.

The original proposed regulation presented at the March Commission meeting included an exception to the 36-hour trapping standard for snare drums equipped with a safety device. The proposed regulation was modified in response to public feedback received during the comment period to remove the safety device exemption and replace it with a general exemption for vertically positioned snares with a maximum loop size of 10 inches or less.

As a result, if a mountain lion is accidentally caught in a snare set vertically with a loop no larger than 10 inches in diameter, the 36-hour requirement does not apply.

Mountain lions are relatively rare and secretive animals. In Texas, mountain lions are found primarily in the Trans-Pecos, the scrub of southern Texas and the western Hill Country.

For more information, visit the Mountain Lion and Fur Animal Regulations pages on the TPWD website.