Colorado is backing off a proposal to increase mountain lion hunting in hopes of boosting the mule deer population in southern Colorado.
The state Division of Parks and Wildlife announced Friday that it was dropping the request, which wildlife commissioners had been scheduled to consider at their meeting next month. It says it will be resubmitted next year.
The Gazette reports that the change follows criticism from conservation and wildlife groups who say that shrinking habitats, not predators, are to blame for the decline in deer.
The proposal was aimed at doubling the population of mule deer living between Salida and Westcliffe. Officials had planned to spend $820,000 to study the effects of increasing the number of mountain lions that could be hunted in four areas from 24 to 35.