Cougar, mountain lion and puma are three of the 42 common names used to describe the largest member of the cat family in Cascadia. These large predators are one of the most feared and therefore targeted predators in the West. Hunted with dogs is some states, California, Oregon and Washington have banned the practice for sport. And many hunters think that pursuing lions with dogs does not constitute “fair chase” because it gives unfair advantage to hunters.
Mountain lions—like wolves, coyotes and bears—are also the frequent target of fear-based campaigns by anti-predator forces and trophy hunters. Moreover, emerging studies indicate that populations exploited by hunting might actually lead to greater impacts on prey populations when dominant “toms” (male cats) are removed and their fiercely defended territories are opened to larger numbers of younger cats.
The relatively low numbers of these large cats and these campaigns to stir up anti-lion sentiment as well as evidence of unintended consequences make us extremely dubious of wildlife or agricultural agency arguments for cougar control for purposes other than in cases of human safety or chronic livestock predation on private lands after non-lethal options have be fully exhausted.
Recent posts on this topic: