Starting in July, hunters in Colorado will have to pass a test showing they know the difference between male and female mountain lions before they set their sights on one of the cats.
The State Wildlife Commission voted Thursday to approve the mandatory training, believed to be the first of its kind in the country. The measure's supporters include wildlife advocates and hunters. Wildlife advocates pushed for the training to make sure hunters know before they shoot whether the mountain lion is a male or female. They hope that will reduce the number of kittens orphaned when their mothers are killed.
Wildlife groups say too many female mountain lions have been killed in the past. The cats don't give birth every year. Information on mountain lions and the tests will be available on the Division of Wildlife web site and at DOW offices.
State wildlife biologists are also conducting studies to determine how many mountain lions there are in Colorado and how their range is changing as more people move into their habitat.