Rep. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John, is requesting a bill to allow unregulated shooting of mountain lions in Kansas.
"We're trying to give a chance for farmers and ranchers to protect their livestock," Holmes said. "I'm hearing stories from all over the state and I do have a lot of neighbors who've (had problems with mountain lions)."
Holmes said he had a 250-pound hog killed. His veterinarian told him it was probably by a mountain lion.
The presence of mountain lions is Kansas has long been a matter of great debate. While reports of the animals being seen are common, Matt Peek of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks said two have been verified in Kansas within the past 100 years.
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One was shot by a landowner in Barber County in November 2007. The other was photographed by a Trego County deer hunter last fall.
Chris Tymeson, Wildlife and Parks attorney, said it's legal for someone to shoot any Kansas animal that's threatening them or their livestock. Holmes would like the law to allow such shooting anytime to avoid potential problems.
That mountain lions are committing any wrongdoing is also debatable. Peek said Wildlife and Parks biologists and Kansas State University extension service specialists have investigated many reports of livestock attacked and/or killed by mountain lions.
"We've sure seen a lot of these cases and it's never turned out to be the work of a mountain lion. It's always been something else," Peek said.
Some damage was done by other animals, including coyotes and dogs.
The chances of such encounters could be on the rise, though, as more mountain lions wander out onto the prairies from reproducing populations in the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills.
Confirmations of mountain lions in neighboring states still only occur occasionally. Most are of young males probably looking for new territories.
Nebraska had its first documented case of modern mountain lion reproduction last year in an area close to the Black Hills.
Peek said his department is ready should a mountain lion start preying on Kansas livestock or threatening humans.
"If anybody really does have that kind of problem, we'll help provide assistance to get that animal," he said. "In doing so we'd be using the state extension's wildlife specialist."
Holmes said he prefers ranchers and farmers be able to shoot mountain lions before problems arise, and not face any consequences.
Fly fishing workshop — On Saturday, a local fly fishing group will hold its annual winter program to help local anglers get ready for spring and summer fishing.
Neal Hall, of the Flatland Fly Fishers Club, said Ed Engle, a professional fly fishing guide, author and teacher, will be at the Great Plains Nature Center. Engle, from Colorado, will present six 50-minute programs.
Topics include fishing western tailwaters, catching difficult trout, tying small flies, fishing small streams and a casting demonstration.
Hall said the fly-tying lessons will be projected onto a large screen so viewers can see the intricate detail.
Registrations begin at 8 a.m. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. Admission is $25 for members, $50 for non-members. Hall said $25 annual memberships will be sold at the event. Call 316-838-4056 for information.