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Cougar hunt to open in Colorado area that has been off-limits since 2004

November 2, 2009 | 10:17 am

Mountain lion in a Colorado snow storm.

An area of western Colorado that has been off-limits to mountain lion hunting since 2004 will open for a limited season beginning in mid-November.

The hunting season on a portion of the Uncompahgre Plateau will open Nov. 16 and run through Jan. 31, unless the quota of eight cougars is reached before then.

Hunters must obtain a special permit, as well as a regular mountain lion license, to hunt the area. The free permits are available beginning today at the Colorado Division of Wildlife office in Montrose and are valid for 14 days, with unlimited replacement if a hunter does not bag an animal within the 14-day period.

As in other areas of Colorado, hunters must report within 48 hours if they kill a mountain lion and must show the carcass to a state wildlife agent within five days. They also must check daily to see if the research area is still open for hunting by calling (888) 940-5466.

The state Division of Wildlife closed the area in order to conduct research on mountain lion population dynamics. The study will continue through 2014 and is being done to help shape management policy for the big cats.

"The study is designed so that the [Department of Wildlife] can examine the lion management structure and biological assumptions used for managing lions with sport hunting throughout Colorado," Ken Logan, a project researcher with the department, said in a news release.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A mountain lion in a Colorado snow storm. Credit: Kevin Russell / Colorado Division of Wildlife

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