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March 08, 2007

Comments

Because nobody has been killed by a cougar in Oregon does not mean that they can't kill and have not. There are books out on documented cougar attacks and kills. Part of why cougars weren't so aggressive here is they had been hunted. Animals that are afraid of you tend to avoid you. A cougar has no natural reason to fear a human unless it has been taught that by hunting.

We are ranchers, raising cattle and sheep, and we disagreed with that ballot measure, still disagree with it. Our city living kids voted for it.

There are some things to learn about cougars which can help if one is confronted with one and articles online have the information. Anybody who hikes in wilderness areas should be informed of such as it's not like Oregon has some secret agreement with the cougars to leave humans alone. Yes, the attacks are rare, compared to auto crashes, but they are horrific when they happen and knowing something about how cougars operate can sometimes turn what could be an attack into just a meeting.

Rain, good advice. But I still stand by my basic position: life is risky. Every danger can't be eliminated. Cougars rank way, way down on the list of threats to human life and limb.

Yet people fear them way out of proportion to the actual risk. This irrationality probably is rooted in some evolutionary instinct (I'm repelled by snakes, for no good reason), but that doesn't make it any less irrational.

Part of being human, rather than purely an animal, is recognizing when we're being animalistic rather Homo sapien-ish. This whole "kill the cougars before they get us!" befits an unthinking animal much more than an intelligent human.

re hunting to teach a cougar fear of people. How silly! Dead cougars cannot teach anyone anything. Unlike ungulates that travel in groups and actually witness their comrade killed, cougars are solitary. Studies show animals do not even associate bullets with people because the distance between the bullet and the noise/injury is too great. Or did they get have a newsletter to spread the word?

secomarie, you don't give animals enough credit for being able to teach their offspring what to fear. It happens that in any area where hunting is decreased, cougars become more aggressive. Sure there are better ways to dissuade predators to go away. Sometimes shooting near them works to discourage them from coming around to hunt our animals; but however they teach their young, we rarely have a coyote come onto our land (with sheep and lambs as tempting food) after shooting one, and this is with hearing them yodeling up and down the valley. Frankly we don't even shoot at them for being on the land until they look at the sheep with too much interest. They serve a purpose but like with anything else, they have to be taught that sheep, which look yummy, are not safe to hunt. Only one thing will do that-- us with a weapon. It will sometimes be years after we have kiled a coyote before another starts stalking the sheep. They can teach their offspring what is good through many methods. Why would cougar hesitate to eat humans for any reason other than fear? It's not like they'd have a moral problem with eating us. We are not impressive as an enemy, no teeth, no claws and not even a lot of fur to eat through...

How many of you actually have seen a cougar standing under cover watching “YOU”?
They are beautiful, powerfully creatures. They are also cats that need to eat, and they are not stupid or totally solitary.
When I was in grade school my father had a contract to service radio repeaters for the logging and power companies so I got to go into the outback often. I have seen them sitting in groups with kittens along a trail enjoying the sunshine, I have seen them on ledges, just watching. I learned early not to run, carry a walking stick and look strong.
We taught our kids the same and they have come in from hikes in the hills saying they wee followed by cougar, and we live at the edge of the woods in the Willamette valley.
In Corvallis, they have signs warning hikers and runners at the MacDonald Forest trail heads. We can coexist with caution.
Some times they become a problem. Christmas Valley has had a problem with cougar coming into town and watching the school yard. You like that? Same thing on the east side of Tucson, Az. Cougar come down from the ridge and watch the school yard. The Sabino Canyon upper trail had as series of cougar stalking runners and bikers encounters on the upper “Powerline trail” and finally they had to kill the animal, because it would not back off, and it was not a sick or old animal.

One thing I forgot to mention is that hunting of cougar doesn't automatically lead to killing of cougar. It's still legal to hunt cougar with tags. The method that was outlawed was to run them with dogs until the cougar was treed-- if it didn't outrun and outsmart the dogs. In the hill country where I live there were only two men (I knew of) who hunted this way. It's not like it was an easy way to hunt with running through the mountains to follow the dogs yelping ahead; and if the cougar was treed, getting there before it turned on those dogs and killed some to escape. I never heard of those hunters killing that many cougar.

The hunters who did this did it more for the joy of being out in the mountains, challenging themselves against the risks, doing something not everyone could or would be able to do. It did keep the numbers down, but cougar have never been an endangered species.

What about the attacks that weren't reported? How many were there? You don't know but are assuming that there were zero. We should not assume! In addition, if you look at historical success rates from the time when dogs were allowed to hunt cougar, the number killed has not changed, but the number of hunters has increased significantly.

I live in the Willamette Valley and know people who live just outside of towns that have had cougar sighting in their driveway, no more than 50 yards from the house. I have 2 smaller children, and would defend them in any way necessary.

There is published information that cougars will more likely attack a child than and adult. In addition, usually these are younger cougars that are trying to develop a territory, are hungry, and are willing to attack humans. If the younger cougars succeed, won't they teach their offspring to hunt in the same manner?

Here are three confirmations from hunters that cougars are not afraid of humans as they once were. A 15 year old was hunting deer and felt that something was watching him. When he turned around to look there was nothing there, but that feeling didn't go away. After looking two more times and not seeing anything, he thought it was probably his imagination. After getting that feeling once more, he turned around a there was a cougar within 20 feet. That is only 1 leap for a cougar. The cougar was hunting the hunter. In another example, an adult hunter and his father were walking in intersecting half circles. When they met at the truck, the father asked the son if he had seen that cougar. The son replied that he hadn't. The father was suprised because he had seen the cougar tracks inside of his son's footprints. The last instance happened to me and a friend. We are bowhunters and were finished hunting. It was almost dark on the trail we were using to walk back to the truck. All of a sudden, my friend stopped and just looked straight ahead. I asked him what was wrong. He didn't say a word. After about 30 seconds, he drew his pistol, just in case. We both carry sidearms when bowhunting, just in case. When I asked him what was going on, he asked me if I could see that cougar in the trail about 50 feet away. Seeing the cougar wasn't scarry, the fact that the cougar just sat there watching us was. It dind't run away in fear.

Lastly, I'm not saying that hunting cougars with dogs is the answer, but no one else has come up with a solution to make cougars afraid of humans. The fact that cougars are not as afraid of humans as in the past can be seen from the number of reported attacks in recent years compared to the past. What I oppose here is that some people may be trying to take away other people's right to hunt. If a person want to hunt, is obeying the hunting regulations, and has purchased the necessary licenses, why can't they? Hunters are not trying to take away any of your rights to do the things you want. I'm sure that trails through the wilderness where hundred, even thousands of people hike were not part of the landscape at the time "the cougars were here first", so how would you feel if someone said that you couldn't hike in the mountains anymore because it is not a part of the natural history of the area?

I am not a hunter; however, in doing some web searching today regarding cougar hunting I was more than upset to find this site as I am truly thinking about getting my hunting license and joining the group to hunt down the cougar that is in the little town of Wamic, Oregon.

A cougar had been spotted there, even walking down the one street that goes through town. Word spread fast in this little town to be careful; however, that did not help my mother.

Last night she took her little dog outside to do his duty before bedtime, and both she and the dog were attacked by the cougar. The dog is going to make it, but my mother may not.

Nothing they did provoked this attack, mom said she was on the porch just opening the door to let the dog back in the house when the cougar came right into the enclosure. It had no fear what so ever!

Now since this is a animal protection site, you more than likly will block this posting, so go for it. I will not hesitate to notify the press and get the word out if my mother does not make it! I pray that she does, as she is all I have left.

Non-hunter, there haven't been any news reports of cougar attacks in Oregon, so I assume your mother was just afraid of being attacked.

This is extremely unlikely, since no person ever has been attacked by a cougar in Oregon. See the last line of this story:
http://www.rogueriverpress.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=3224

Your mother, or you, is hugely more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident. So if you're concerned about safety, don't drive. That makes a lot more sense than killing cougars.

While no one has been killed in Oregon, that does not mean that cougars are "pussy cats".

See the following:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_cougar_attacks_in_North_America

Additionally, since laws were passed banning the use of dogs for tracking cougars, the cats have taken a heavy toll on deer and elk populations. Thankfully, the ODF&W stepped in with paid hunters. In doing so, deer and elk populations are going back up.

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