Mohave County needs 'Don't feed the wildlife' law
While all the fuss about mountain lions in Sabino Canyon near Tucson is slowly dying down, the next lion hot spot in Arizona could be right in our backyard.
The place, the Hualapai Mountains.
It is well known that some people who live or work in and around Pinion Pines and Pine Lake feed wildlife.
Specifically they feed deer and elk.
Its been going on for years and occurs on a daily basis up there.
People like to see wildlife in their backyards and around businesses, and they see no harm in providing feeding stations for them.
The problem is they are really setting up the food chain on the mountain, and at the top of that food chain is the mountain lion.
Like it or not, you have to realize that mountain lions are not some cute, cuddly little critter.
They are the most ruthless and by far, the most efficient predator in Arizona.
Predators, including mountain lions, have just two things on their mind.
Food and procreating.
That's what they live for.
When people set up food stations for animals like deer and elk, it doesn't take long for the predators, including the big cats, to figure out where the prey are.
And they follow them to these areas.
Unfortunately, sooner or later, there will be some kind of contact with humans, and that's where it gets sticky.
I've lived in Mohave County since 1972.
I can recall several times when the Arizona Game & Fish Department used sportsmen dollars to pay for Animal Damage Control to remove lions in and around Pinion Pines and/or Pine Lake.
The same people who are feeding the deer and elk may be the ones who start losing their dogs and cats, then they actually see a big cat or two along a trail and become alarmed.
They will want those big cats removed and Game & Fish will begrudgingly pay the bill with sportsman dollars again to have the offending animals removed.
They won't use live capture, either.
They'll have the professional hunters track them down using dogs, and then they kill the offending animal(s).
We need a regulation in Mohave County that prohibits the feeding of wild animals.
No one is suggesting that people who put out birdfeed should be cited for feeding the birds.
In that case, what they should do is put the feed on pedestals, off the ground.
There needs to be a county ordinance that prohibits feeding deer, elk, or even coyotes.
Many don't know that there is currently on the books a regulation that prohibits feeding pigeons in the county.
Another regulation needs to be enacted before we have another big problem in the Hualapais, and we end up being invaded by lion lovers who will want to protect the big cats.
There are other municipalities and counties that are working on or have regulations against feeding animals.
The Arizona Game & Fish Department is more than willing to assist government agencies in preparing a regulation.
Mohave County needs to take action.