In 1994 Oregonians passed Measure 18. It forbids sport hunters from using dogs to track and kill cougars. Yesterday the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission passed a plan that will allow federal hunters to use dogs to track and kill cougars.
Not problem cougars that are threatening people or killing livestock. No, potential problem cougars. Cougars that are just hanging out, not bothering anybody. To me that sure sounds like killing cougars for sport.
How does it feel, Oregon voters, to have a state agency say to you, “Thanks for telling us how you wanted cougars to be managed. But we’ve got our own ideas. And that includes spending $600,000 to pay federal hunters to kill cougars that aren’t causing any problems.”
Somehow the geniuses at the Fish and Wildlife Commission have come up with a plan that simultaneously irks predator defense folks and sport hunters. It is based on lousy science, as I pointed out in “Oregon cougar plan based on fictions, not facts.” The plan assumes that reported sightings are a valid way of estimating the cougar population, even though people can mistake a kitty cat for a cougar.
No person ever has been attacked by a cougar in Oregon. Maybe somebody will one day. Lots of people have been attacked by dogs. Some have been killed. It makes a lot more sense to start reducing the number of pit bulls than to thin the cougar population.
How would you like it if you were walking your well-behaved pit bull and a government employee came up and said, “Sorry, but I’ve got to shoot your dog. There are too many pit bulls and we’re worried that yours might bite somebody in the future.” The same screwy logic is what flimsily supports the Oregon Cougar Plan.
Financially, the plan is supported by hunter fees. So hunters who aren’t allowed to use dogs to hunt cougars themselves will now get to pay for federal employees to do the hunting. That doesn’t thrill hunters, or the NRA.
Hunters seemingly are supposed to be happy that if there are fewer cougars, there will be more deer and elk for them to kill. That’s dubious.
What isn’t dubious is that cougars kill the weakest prey, while hunters kill the best specimens. Nature knows how to manage deer and elk populations a lot better than government bureaucrats do. Left alone, cougars are an integral part of a predator-prey ecosystem that has worked just fine for many millions of years.
We’ll see how long it takes for the obvious flaws in the Oregon Cougar Plan to become even more evident than they already are. The Predator Defense League is considering leading an initiative effort to ban sporthunting of cougars entirely. I hope they go ahead with this.
When the voters learn that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has slapped them in the face, I’m pretty sure they’ll respond with their own slapdown at the ballot box.
Brian & Laurel:
Thanks for writing about this.
The numbers are rather staggering. The state estimates that there are 5,100 cougars in Oregon and want "ideally" to reduce it to 3,000? This isn't a cull, it's a slaughter.
I agree the public should be outraged, but a "slapdown" at the ballot box might come a little late for felis concolor. Maybe it's time to make this an issue in the Gubernatorial race?
Posted by: activist kaza | April 14, 2006 at 09:34 PM
I enjoy reading your views and this particular item is especially intriguing. I've read the ODFW plan and followed the links to the other pertinent perspectives and found others as well. The ‘science’ is in some ways almost arcane to the lay person. As I read, I realized that this is really about much more than man and cougar; it's really about humans and the environment and how we tinker with this bit and that bit, all for good reasons of course, balancing this with that, applying data sets from this expert and that expert and for what? The part I'm missing here is what led to this? What was the driver, I wonder, behind this plan that no one, apparently, really likes?
Posted by: edison | April 16, 2006 at 11:00 PM
Edison, excellent questions. I don't know the answers. The Oregon Cattlemen's Association seemed to be an active player in the effort to shoot wolves on sight. Maybe they were the power behind the scenes here as well.
Given how few livestock are lost to cougars, it seems crazy to kill thousands of the cats just to save a small number of sheep and such. I suspect you could recompense livestock owners completely for their losses out of the $600,000 or so it will cost to administer this ill-advised plan.
On a different explanatory level, there may also be a "fear factor" involved here--a primal fear of big creatures who roam in the dark and can crunch you. That makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, but not rationally, given the extremely low risk of being attacked by a cougar.
Posted by: Brian | April 17, 2006 at 02:56 PM
These city dwellers in the Willamette valley have no idea the kind of
condition that eastern oregon is in with the huge cougar population. A
few years ago they saw the commercials with the poor cougars being treed
by dogs and shot. Poor cougar. I go to eastern oregon every year to
hunt and vacation. Over the past 10 years I have seen a dramatic decline
in the deer population. I have been told by numerous state officials in
the area that if I were to see a cougar to please shoot it no matter
what. I talked to a Forest Service Official who could not even complete
his job of marking trees due to the cougars that were trying to stalk
him. I think you need to bring back the hunting of cougars with dogs.
These will help the deer and elk populations and the mindless road
closures that are taking place now to supposidly help the populations will not
be needed. Please email me if you have any questions or if I can help
in any way to accomplish these goals. Regards, Chris Hopman
Posted by: Chris Hopman | April 20, 2006 at 11:25 PM
I'm a native Oregonian. I've been an outdoorsman and hunter all my life. I am concerned when I hear estimates that 50% of the elk calves each year are being killed by cougar. i know that the deer and elk populations are on the decline.
I have been on the hill side with three cougars. I was hunting elk and had a 30.06. One cougar crouched and approached me. I did not have a tag, and was concerned about the consequences of killing a cougar without the tag. I yelled, the cougars left. If they hadn't I would have shot. I will not go into the woods without a firearm and a tag. Everyone gets to make their own decison. If you are in the woods and encounter a cougar, good luck.
Posted by: Robert Corl, Jr | April 24, 2006 at 06:43 AM
Robert, well, since no one ever has been attacked in Oregon by a cougar, I think my luck (and yours) is in good shape. You and I are at hugely more risk of being attacked by a human or a dog.
I hope you carry a gun with you when you go to the store or a movie, because you're at a lot more risk in these places than in cougar country.
Posted by: Brian | April 24, 2006 at 08:26 PM
You are right, this is a huge slap in the face to voters. But this slap doesn't come from the ODFW,they got slapped first, back in 1994. We slapped ourselves! We voted hunting out, which took the power away from the ODFW to carefully control the cougar population. They had the cougar population down to a science by knowing exactly how many cougars were harvested every year from the controlled hunts that they regulated. Now they have no other way to control them. They are forced to use bounty hunters because they cannot reverse a vote made by US! Now instead of calculated cougar control, increased revenue, and thousands of dollars towards Oregon's economy from hunters, we as tax payers are paying for federal hunters to do what hunters should be doing. It is a double slap in the face to us. We are losing money in both directions and at the same time the cougars are still being hunted with dogs. Good move Oregonians! The only way to correct this problem is to vote again and change the law.
Posted by: Ian Miller | April 26, 2006 at 11:11 AM
My name is Jessie. I am a female teenager and I feel very strongly about the cougar plan. I live out in Trail, Oregon. I'm not sure if you knew or not, but Trail is in the middle of cougar territory. Yep, they may be pretty, but they're a donkey's butt to get along with. You say that people have never been attacked.... False, google it, you might learn something. But, even if there were no cougar attacks in Oregon to people, we still have livestock and pets. My cat got eaten recently by a cougar. And now because of people like you, I can't legally find the cougar and put a bullet up it's butt. Alot of my friends are in clubs, like 4-H or FFA. If you didn't know those clubs are for kids and teens who would like a hobbie, like a good thing to go on there reputation, and it's a good way to raise some money. Those clubs contain many options, such as cooking, art, and even livestock. Oh lookie there. Livestock. Some of them put so much time, money, and effort into the animal that they choose to raise. But it all adds up to a negative nothing when their animal is eaten by a cougar. It's sad. All of their hard work, gone. And because of people like you, we can't track the problem to get rid of it. You might not think cougars are a problem because you might not have any around you to be a problem. But try living where there is a problem, and see if it changes your mind. Oh, and what are you going to say when someone is killed by a cougar? Maybe a five year old girl. Are you going to just turn away from it and say, 'It was only one little problem..... dogs kill tons of people.' Well then, maybe we should start killing dogs.... ALONG with the cougars. Get your facts straight if you're going to make a big deal out of something you know nothing about.
Posted by: Jessie | June 01, 2006 at 05:24 PM
Jessie, we do live around cougars. Real close to cougars. So close, I walked by a cougar kill while, almost certainly, the cat was still close by. See my post:
And my wife and I still don't believe in killing cougars. Because we're not afraid of them. We're a lot more afraid of cars, lightning, dogs, and people (to name a few "afraids"), because these things are a lot more dangerous to humans than cougars.
I'm sorry that your friends have lost animals to cougars. But there are ways to protect livestock or pets from cougars. If you live in cougar country, you need to learn those ways.
I don't believe that every slight risk or annoyance to humans should be killed or erased from the Earth. I believe that we have to coexist with cougars, wolves, snakes, mosquitos, and many other living things that sometimes don't act as we would like.
As you said, if cougars should be killed because one might someday attack a human, then humans should be killed for the same reason. Also, dogs. Humans and dogs have killed hugely more people than cougars. So why aren't we thinning the human and dog populations?
Posted by: Brian | June 03, 2006 at 09:11 PM
I'm glad you live "near" cougar territory. Wow. Thats really gives you a small taste of whats going on.
You say your not afraid of cougars? So if you encountered a cougar you wouldn't even think twice about being scared or thinking about the situation? If you say no, I say bull. Either you're so stubborn you can't admit you're wrong or your just plain stupid.I'm not trying to get all personal with you, but think about it.Who is seriously not smart enough to be "afraid" of a cougar? And whats up with you and dogs?
Do you have any dogs? I'm not sure if you've noticed, but over the years people have had dogs as pets, and as far as I'm concerned cougars aren't house pets. Meaning, THEY ARE A DANGER. The reason cougar are less of a threat at the moment is because what do you think would happen if we started letting cougars sleep in our beds with us, instead of our dogs? There is a reason for everything, and the reason for that is 'it is just plain idiotic to let something with killer teeth and claws sleep with you.' They are carnivors and that means that they EAT MEAT, not happy little dog crumbs and biscuts. But hey its your choice and your right to beleive what you want to.
Hey, did you hear about the people in Alaska? Well let me fill you in. About three years ago there was a Californian couple who felt the same way you do but about bears. They went to Alaska to prove that they (bears) were harmless. Guess what happened to them? They were eaten...... by the bears. Look it up, I left you a web site if you think my information is wrong. Ya never know, someday your ignorance might get you killed, like the people in Alaska.
What is it with you and killing cougars anyways? Do you eat meat? Oh gosh, don't tell me you're a vegitarian too. Well, if you do eat meat that meat comes from a animal, that has been killed. Kinda like the cougar. So why is it okay to kill cows and chickens, but it isn't alright with you to kill cougars?
Alot of people make a living by hunting deer. Cougars main prey is deer. With the cougar population going up the deer population is going down. It's harder for hunters to make a living with as many cougars eating deer as there are.
So you say that there are more people killing people than there are cougars klling people? Yes, you're right about that. But have cougars had the chance to really kill us? Not exactly. Yet they still manage to do it. Intense. Sure people do kill people, but have you read the newspaper lately? Those people get caught and thrown in jail. And they are kept there,where they can't go murder someone. But last time I checked, cougars don't have their own little jail. The law is the only thing holding our criminals behind bars. And the law is the only thing keeping some people from killing cougars.
Posted by: Jessie | June 08, 2006 at 07:00 PM
My name is Matt, I am 19 and live in Monmouth Oregon. I have lived on my family's grass seed farm my entire life. Obviously from reading your article we have very different but also similar thoughts about the wildlife that we are blessed to have here in our great state of Oregon. Along with raising grass seed and christmas trees we also have close to 100 cattle. Ever since the ban against hunting cougars and bears with hounds we have had a significant number of livestock killed by cougars. Both sheep and cattle, and this is just from one small operation in western oregon. This is my family's livelyhood i'm talking about. To stress even more about my local area, this winter a horsetrainer 1 mile down the road gave us a call early one morning after a cougar chased after one of her hired hands while feeding horses in her barn which was only 50ft from her house. He had to ward the animal off with a pitchfork. I'm sorry you might not be able to understand our situation but its sad to think that our fellow oregonians are making decisions that are working against us when they have no real concept of the problem at hand. The livestock that I am talking about is let out during the day and then brought into a barn during the evening which is gated with about the best fencing money can buy. So i'd certainly be glad to hear of a couple of your other options to protect our livestock and pets? Another sad fact is that cougars will kill 1 deer a week and in the hot summer months they will kill up to 3 deer every week because they are picky eaters and amazing hunters which will not eat spoiled meat. I'm sorry to let you in on a little info but, i personally know of a lot of ranchers in eastern oregon who have absolutly no other option but to take matters into their own hands. And trust me we had a good thing going when we could legally hunt cougars with hounds because that is the only way to effectivly control their population. They are the best hunters in oregon and as any hunter will tell you, unless you happen to walk upon one of these mainly nocturnal animals their is certainly no way to effectively hunt them. Another fact is that humans are in the equation as a problem, this is obvious and what i mean by this is that nature isn't able to find a way that is effective. We have to do something about it. Humans come in and change everything, no one can expect wildlife to survive in a healthy manner after humans have come to an area. Thats why we have wildlife conservation such as hunting and carefully calculated amounts of animals to be taken to sustain and or improve populations. There are a lot of facts missing and this missing info affects a lot of people directly even though it may not affect you directly right now or ever. Please help look out for the rest of your fellow oregonians as a whole and get the facts.
Posted by: Matt | July 04, 2006 at 05:59 PM
I don't know where you get your information, but people are being attacked and harrassed by cougars out in Eastern Oregon. We had one harrassing a horseback rider on Weston Mountain about a month ago. And some ranchers out near Heppner told of a cougar that also harrassed a rider on horseback and managed to maul the guy before his co-workers rescued him.
I know of two attacks by cougars in California on humans. One of the women went on Oprah show to share her terrifying story. The other guy didn't survive to share his story. A friend of mine jogging in the mountains of Southern California was stocked by a mountain lion. And just two months ago a child was attacked by a mountain lion out near Spokane, WA.
I enjoy jogging out in the woods to stay in shape. No matter what the statistics say about the odds of getting harmed by a cougar- if you were to ask the wildlife officials here in Eastern Oregon they have been warning people to carry a gun for their own safety when they venture out into the woods.
So who should I believe? The family members of victims, ranchers and wildlife officials who are facing the dangers of cougars every day or somebody who sits in his blog website chair examining statistics of potential danger? I think the answer is obvious.
Posted by: C.T. | August 07, 2006 at 03:30 PM
C.T., you're welcome to your opinion. But that's just what it is: an opinion. You make the point that I've made several times on this subject.
Anecdotal evidence isn't genuine evidence. People often think they see a cougar when what they see is something else--like a kitty cat.
Funny. I searched Google News for evidence of a cougar attack in Heppner. Or Eastern Oregon. Or anywhere in Oregon. Nothing. Guess it either wasn't newsworthy or it didn't happen. Guess which I think is true.
FYI, today my wife and I went for a five mile hike in Eastern Oregon. OK, actually Central Oregon, on the Metolius, but I'm told this is cougar country. As is the rural area around our home in south Salem.
I get out quite a bit for a blogger. I've walked right by cougar kills. And I'm still alive. May I suggest that you get a dog if you're worried about being attacked? Or you could carry a gun, but a dog is lighter, because it walks by itself.
Lastly, you're at vastly more risk of being attacked by a human or a dog. Tell your friends to start lobbying government to control the human and dog population. That will do a lot more for public safety than killing cougars.
Posted by: Brian | August 07, 2006 at 07:36 PM
If the population of cougars gets too large for the food supply, they die... that's what I said, DIE. The population can't just continue to grow forever. It's a wonderful thought but that's not the way it works. So when the numbers are so high, why would we wait for them to come looking for something else to eat? Well, they ate some livestock, pets, and threatened some people, but finally they starved enough to drop the numbers... that's logical. There's a common mistake made among folks with your opinion. You seem to think that humans are not a part of nature but we are. It's really easy to sit in your Salem home and go out hiking in "nature" once and a while, but you don't live it like those folks do. You'll never get it.
Posted by: Apple8 | September 06, 2006 at 07:12 PM
Apple8, thank you for your opinion, as misinformed as it is. We live on ten acres in rural south Salem. Cougars are spotted in our area regularly.
I walk our dog every evening past a lake where cougar kills were evident last fall. I walk at dusk; I walk at night. I found the cougar kills and probably was being watched by a cougar.
Am I scared? No. Am I cautious? Yes. You're right. People are part of nature. Almost always animals don't kill just for the heck of it. They kill for a reason--because they're hungry, or because they're threatened.
I'm not hungry for a cougar. Nor am I threatened by cougars. Maybe I'm braver than other people who have an irrational fear of cougars (you're hugely more likely to be injured by a human male; should we thin their ranks before they hurt us? Oh, oops, I am one--not a good idea, I just decided).
Or maybe I'm more knowledgeable about cougar behavior. Either way, Oregon shouldn't allow its cougar policies to be determined by fear or ignorance.
Posted by: Brian | September 06, 2006 at 08:34 PM
I live in Eastern Oregon. I have seen cougars and have gone riding shortly after a cougar ran across my trail, chasing a yearling elk. How do I know? I saw the tracks and my horse almost had a heart attack for a good long prolonged 10 minutes, until we managed to booger to a different area.
I've come across cat scat in my horses' pasture as well, and a cougar was recently hit by a dump truck on the highway above Weston.
Cougars are frequently seen on the reservation, where there are children traveling back and forth between houses and the store, the park, and, in general, all over.
I love cats, and I think we are blessed to have cougar and other wildlife. I think, however, we should protect the right to protect ourselves and make sure we are as safe as possible. Being killed or mauled by a cat is a terrible thing, and I don't think we should allow romantic notions make us foolish when it comes to taking the necessary measures to keep us safe.
Neither do I think we should ignore the cats simply because dogs are a bigger problem. Dog problems are routinely dealt with. We need to do the same with cougars or any other potentially dangerous animal as well.
Posted by: Checkers | September 26, 2006 at 09:18 AM
I think that it is interesting how those of us in Eastern Oregon must suffer because of the large populations in the "valley" when it comes to a statewide vote. I am mainly talking about issues related to wildlife such as the ban on the use of dogs for hunting cougars, ranching or the rural life since most of Eastern Oregon is rural. I also find it interesting how a hand full of people in this area who were misinformed as to what the ban on the use of dogs for hunting Cougars are now sorry they voted in favor of the ban. I have talked to a couple of them about the Deer and Elk populations and they are ever so sorry they made the mistake of voting for a foolish ban. I was born and raised in Northeastern Oregon and I have witnessed the downward spiral of Deer and Elk populations due to all the tree huggers in "valley" and the stupid ban. I too have talked to a few law enforcement folks that have told me to shoot the Cougars if I see them. I actually asked a couple of them what would happen if I killed a dozen of them in a year. The answer was the similar from both of them, "don't tell anyone and nothing will happen, we have better things to do with our time than worry about a dead Cougar" and the other was "who cares, there are way too many of them and you can thank the valley folks for that". I have a plan since the tree huggers like them so much and want to save all of them and have no control as far as their population is concerned. My plan involves trapping them in live traps and turning them loose in the lovely communities such as Salem, Eugene, Portland and all the other Cougar loving communities. Let’s see how Portland reacts when there are a hundred Cougars roaming the streets. Who knows maybe they will thin out the gangs a little? Since you think they only prey on the weak maybe they will take care of some of the homeless people and your property values will go up? Just maybe you can take them into your home like a lost puppy and cuddle with the big kitties! I am sick of the populated areas of the state controlling what goes on in our communities and our part of the state. Another thing I am sick of is all the "valley folks" coming over hear to hunt, please just stay home come hunting season. It amazes me how the "valley folks" won't vote for anything that benefits the people of Eastern Oregon but yet they come by the thousands every fall to hunt. We will get the ban on the use of dogs for hunting Cougars reversed in the next couple of years. Hopefully before someone gets killed or there are not any Deer or Elk left. I will kill every Cougar I can and that is a fact. I know that most of the people around here will also. Give me your address and I will Fed Ex you some meat!
Posted by: Spanky | October 13, 2006 at 04:07 AM
Spanky, thanks for the offer, but I'm a vegetarian. You can ship us a live cougar, though. We'll let it loose nearby. Unlike Eastern Oregonians, we aren't afraid of cougars, even though lots live near us.
We believe in facts. And the facts are that nobody ever has been killed by a cougar in Oregon. You're much more likely to be hurt by a drunk (or undrunk) hunter than a cougar.
There has been one reported cougar attack in Oregon in the last 100 years. No fatalities. The single attack was a bite on the neck and some scratches. Relax. Be more concerned about lightning striking you than a cougar. Read and be reassured:
So if you want to stay safe out there in Eastern Oregon, I suggest you start hunting hunters. Hopefully the law enforcement folks you talked to won't mind if you kill a couple. They sound pretty lax when it comes to enforcing the laws.
Sorry it upsets you so much to have "valley folk" invading your territory. This probably is how Portland people feel when "Eastern Oregon folk" come to the city to use the airport or go shopping. You clog up the freeways even though you don't really appreciate the urban lifestyle and are just passing through.
Call me an idealist, but I like to think that Oregon is one state, and we're all Oregonians. What happens in one part affects another part. It isn't possible to say, "this is our territory and only we get to decide what goes on here."
Cougars don't belong to you or me. They belong to everybody, just like the Portland airport does. If you don't want to have anything to do with western Oregon, great. Be sure to only buy goods that were made, raised, and transported in eastern Oregon.
Guess you'll be eating a lot of venison (or cougar) and living in a log house with no electricity or phone service.
This is an interconnected world. We've got to get used to it.
Posted by: Brian | October 13, 2006 at 10:54 AM
Cougars need to be KILLED !!! The deer and elk herds are being destroyed !! First to go was the deer, now that the herds of deer are down to nothing, the cougars are wiping out the elk. I counted recently a herd on our ranch of 168 elk only 18 were calves !! At this rate the herd is done, cat kills are everywhere and our local herd stays close to our house for protection because we kill every cat we see. So cougar lovers who cannot see past your noses it is time to wake up and listen. Do you ever listen or believe anyone? The warm fuzzy feeling you have for the cougar is fine , but take some time to see for yourselves rather than sit in your house and dream !
Posted by: Randy | October 22, 2006 at 06:30 PM
Randy, we don't just sit in our house and dream about cougars. We walk outside and try to find them. See, we're not scared of cougars because we know the facts about them.
Just a few days ago a neighbor said that she saw a cougar on their property. It ran onto our ten acres. My wife went out looking for it.
Now, that might be an excess of bravery (she took our dog along, though), but it's better than being irrationally afraid of the big cats.
So we're practicing what we preach: respect for cougars as part of nature. Big deal, that cougars are killing deer and elk. That's what they've done for many thousands of years. The deer and elk have done just fine.
Hunters want to be able to kill the deer and elk themselves. The animals still would be killed, except now it'd be humans doing it. I'd rather have the cougars do it. Nature knows better how to keep nature balanced than humans do.
Posted by: Brian | October 23, 2006 at 11:13 AM
Cougars hanging out minding their own business? Only until they kill something. I've lived in the Oregon coast range for nearly 30 years. I live in an area with severe restrictions on occupation of land, so we are not encroaching on habitat. In the time I've lived here, I've watched elk and deer populations dramatically decline - coinciding directly with the restrictions on cougar hunting. For 20 years, I never had contact with cougars - in the last 10 years, I've seen them too many times to count. Since 2003 I've lost 3 highly valued and much loved horses to cougar attacks. Horses in my pasture "minding their own business". The cougar(s) are increasingly bold, coming right into my barn and garage and "marking". Listen to a cougar attacking one of your pets and tell me how terrible it is to reduce their numbers. While no humans have yet been killed, everyone in this area has a story of being stalked, and being very lucky to escape. Should we wait until a rider on the linear park trail is killed before we act? Hopefully, when it happens, it's some bleeding heart vegetarian who lives in the city. Last night I stood on my deck and listened to a cougar scream for half an hour. I was afraid to walk out and check my animals. Then I had a sleepless night listening for an attack . I'm as liberal as anyone living in the "valley" and probably better educated. The ban on cougar hunting with dogs was plain stupid.
Posted by: Doc | December 05, 2006 at 02:54 PM
brian, stfu, oh my god the poor little deer and elk are dieing, are you fucking kidding me, theres no god damn way cougars could wipe out deer, to every cougar, there's like 200 god damn deer, cougars are CARNIVORES, they eat meat, they eat deers, elk, dogs etc, maybe those animals should toughen up and learn to protect themselves.
do you know how many god damn animal species are going extinct because of humans, tigers, pandas, rhinos, cheetahs to name a few out of thousands, but were not gonna kill the humans are we?? so stfu
Posted by: John | December 28, 2006 at 02:22 PM
and anybody who deosn't think cougars are dangerous, or like a (kity cat) needs to smarten up, lets put you in a room in one and see who comes out alive
Posted by: John | December 28, 2006 at 02:24 PM
hello, my name is cash nichols, I live in oregon and hound hunt. We recently treed the biggest cougar i have ever seen. My dad was taking the dogs back to the truck and I was standing there knowing that I couldnt kill it but also knowing it would be killing at least 10 deer in the next deer, it was so hard for me to leave the tree without killing that thing.
Posted by: cash nichols | February 22, 2007 at 09:48 AM
what the heck is wrong with you treehuggers?
Posted by: poophead | February 22, 2007 at 10:42 AM
I live in Oregon and a ten year old was at the bus stop and he saw a cougar in crouched position. The kid said it was about 6 feet long. The cops said "you do what you have to do to protect your family".We need to be able to hunt cougar with dogs.
Posted by: Hunter | February 22, 2007 at 06:19 PM
I am a biologist but it doesn't take a scientist to figure out that the primary reason that wildlife managers manage (i.e., slaughter) predators is to artificially increase the numbers of game animals, such as deer and elk, for hunters who provide much needed revenue for state fish & game departments, such as ODFW. These agencies even go so far as to provide extra food for deer and elk, to keep those animals' populations up. Then they complain that predators are killing those animals, even though they're only doing what nature intended, trying to survive in their quickly shrinking habitat. Hunters are concerned for the numbers of deer and elk simply because they want to hunt them.
While cougar populations may have increased in portions of their range over the last 3 to 4 decades, the perception that cougars are more abundant in the Western states is based on oral traditions, unvalidated sightings and
unrealistic and unproven models such as those used in Oregon, not on reliable data. They say cougar populations fell in most of the western states in the 1960’s to such low numbers that they were going extinct and are now rebounding out of control. But many wildlife professionals have now seen through this myth; it doesn't take much to invalidate many of the early non-scientific claims and assumptions. Unfortunately, people still rely on unsubstantiated population estimates in Oregon.
Nature has checks and balances and predators are needed to maintain that balance. But when humans intervene and take out top predators, interconnections collapse and ecological catastrophes of immense proportion can happen and are being seen all over the world as the human population explodes and species go extinct. Believe it or not, top predators are very vulnerable because they are at the top of the food chain and are extremely sensitive to disruptions and are easily exterminated. Look at what we did to the lynx. On a philosophical note, I believe that there would not be one animal or plant on this planet that would not breathe a sigh of relief if humans were to vanish tomorrow.
People who farm animals ought to take measures to protect their animals, by using guard dogs and appropriate fencing. Use common sense and keep all companion animals, food bowls, etc., indoors unless under direct supervision, to minimize any attacks on loved ones. Predators ought to be respected and lived WITH, not ignorantly persecuted.
It's very sad that some are so afraid of these majestic predators, and succumb to the ODFW's fear tactics and poor science. A rational and reasonable person has to conclude that cougars represent almost no threat to humans. I would be much more afraid eating meat or getting hit by a car.
A six foot cougar at a bus stop. Hmmm ... As a child I once saw a pink flamingo on our rooftop. LOL.
Posted by: sharetheearth | March 20, 2007 at 11:52 AM
Sharetheearth, thanks for your informative comment. You make a lot of sense, and I'm not saying that just because I agree with you.
You speak from a base of knowledge and awareness--of how humans should relate to the natural world of which we most certainly are a part.
I just wish everyone had your depth of understanding. In a few days my wife is going to testify against a proposed bill that would encourage even more hunting on public lands.
We've already screwed up the balance of nature enough. It's way past time to leave nature alone and coexist with animals that we have no business killing, or any reason to.
Go to the store if you need food. Fire up a video game if you feel like killing something. And admire cougars (plus deer and elk) for what they are, not as carcasses.
Posted by: Brian | March 20, 2007 at 08:46 PM
Brian, I just got word that the hearing on H.B. 2971, which is probably what your wife if going testify against (?) has been changed to April 10 at the same time and place (3pm - 5pm, hearing room HR D at the state capitol building). Just wanted to make sure you and others knew of the change.
Thanks for your good words. I appreciate your forum.
Posted by: sharetheearth | March 21, 2007 at 02:57 PM
You are a loon and not telling the truth.
Posted by: Paul Revere | September 30, 2007 at 11:30 AM
Thanks for enlightening me to the fact there is a bounty on cougars! I will enjoy my winters in eastern oregon by earning a little extra cash.
Posted by: Steve | February 24, 2008 at 10:53 AM
I live in Eastern Oregon and have first hand experience with the cougar issue over here. The simple fact is that the population is large and growing and the evidence is everywhere. I personally know four people who have been stalked, one of them for over two miles (confirmed the next day by prints in the snow) and then had the cougar circle their cabin several times in the night. I myself have been within 20 feet of a cougar, which wandered through a camp in the night (tracks in mud). I have also taken to carrying a carbine while hiking and fishing in the back country in order to protect myself and would have no qualms about using it if the need arose; in light of the first hand accounts that I have received on a regular basis anything else would be irresponsible.
Posted by: PendletonConcernedCitizen | May 25, 2008 at 08:49 PM
For corroboration of the above, check this out: http://www.cougarinfo.org/attacks2.htm
Posted by: PendletonConcernedCitizen | May 25, 2008 at 09:02 PM
It is sad that someone can cause so much damage to others with fallacious opinions pasted on a blog, endangering people, women, children, with such inconsiderate actions.
The assertion that no one has been killed by a cougar in Oregon is ridiculous, and something that you can not possibly know. More precisely, none of the many people killed by cougars in Oregon have been FOUND.
Posted by: johnlvs2run | August 07, 2008 at 12:14 AM
John, I hope your comment is satirical. You can't be serious, right? By your reasoning, space aliens, Big Foot, and the Cookie Monster also are killing lots of people in Oregon.
They just can't be found!
Well, if you're serious, this shows why cougar policies in Oregon are so ridiculous. They're founded on irrational fears, rather than solid evidence.
Posted by: Brian | August 07, 2008 at 10:06 AM
I would rather eat something fully natural - if cougar meat, be it - than the half-plastic food from the shop. Man is part of nature and hunts on this planet from his first day. Our teeth and digestive system are living proof that we haven't ever been meant to avoid meat. Not by God, not by Darwin, not by the fad-making fools.
And since there were enough scientifically documented human fatalities caused by cougars, not knowing of any in Oregon sounds like a pretty excuse to spread stupid data. In the last 10 years there were at least as many fatalities as in the 90 years before. What changed? Both human AND cougar populations grew. If you wanna "thin" human population, you can start with yourself.
Posted by: | November 19, 2008 at 03:43 AM
Anonymous commenter, I don't understand your point about the last 10 years and the last 90 years. Yes, there were no deaths from cougar attacks in Oregon during either the last 10 or 90 years, even with increasing cougar populations.
So zero equals zero. What this shows is that fear over cougar attacks is irrational and unfounded. People need to realize that getting in a car and driving to work or school is hugely more dangerous than going for a walk in the woods in cougar country.
Leave the cougars alone. And keep your car in the garage. That's how to stay safe, if someone is fearful of being killed or injured. My attitude is that we can't be afraid of everything in life that might hurt us, especially things that very rarely do -- like cougars.
Posted by: Brian | November 19, 2008 at 10:01 AM
Brian, Oregon hasn't had attacks but other states have. Do you read nothing but what suits your preconceived opinion? Cougar are meat eaters. You are meat. There is only one reason they would not eat you-- fear of humans. People who don't understand wild animals and go looking for them for a photograph or amusement literally are fools and in more than a few places have found that out too late. In California cougar have killed humans. In Colorado. All around us and the fact that Oregon hasn't had a documented kill makes you think somehow Oregon cougars have an ethical objection to eating human meat? Amazing.
I also resent city people, and even though you live near some woods, you are a city person, making rules for those who raise livestock and live out on the edge of the wilderness. You don't comprehend the responsibility that ranchers, such as my family, feel toward their animals. They are ours to care for. You have chosen to be a vegetarian. Fine but that was your choice, not that of everyone else's or would you force your choice on all others while you resent them forcing theirs (think bicycle helmets) onto you.
When a person sees a cougar out in the wild, which I have also seen, they usually will run. So will a bear. Usually though isn't every time and the less afraid they get of humans, the less they will leave voluntarily. This is not about courage. It's about foolhardiness and btw, they like to eat dogs too. Hope, if you have many around you, that you don't let your dog go wandering off at night. She's no more capable of standing up to their claws and teeth than you would be if one decides you look like steak. (If you haven't seen the film, Madagascar, the original one, you should. It talks about the naivety of some about the 'wild'.) I have no objection at all if you want to go kitty kitty when you see a cougar, but you are trying to force your choice onto everyone else. That's where it becomes the might of the city (mostly ignorant of potential real consequences) against that of rural people who have less numbers to vote.
Posted by: Rain | November 20, 2008 at 08:26 AM
Rain, I sympathize with your concern for pets and livestock. But having lived in the country for a good share of my life (28 years or so), I strongly believe that if people live in a rural area they need to understand that this isn't like city life.
Meaning, completely civilized, controlled, without risk. It's amusing to me how people will move into our area here, six miles south of the Salem city limits, and then ask "How do we get rid of the deer? They're eating my flowers."
My wife and I explain that deer are part of the natural habitat, just as coyotes are. And cougars. Nature has its own way of keeping things in balance, and nature does a better job of it than people do.
I understand that many people are fearful of cougars and don't want any risk that they'll kill a pet or livestock. But again, if people don't want risk, they'd be better off living in a condo in the city (of course, then they'd run the risk of getting run over by a car; life is risky, no matter where you are.)
Predator Defense is a good place to get educated about the reality (versus the fear) of cougars:
They have an informative cougar page:
This article by a researcher who studied cougars for a dozen years is worth reading, to dispel common myths about them:
To me, it's sad when people make such a sharp division between nature and themselves. I do agree that some aspects of nature, such as poison oak (which we used to have a lot of) need to be controlled for the good of humans.
But in the case of large predators such as cougars and wolves, people aren't in danger. Fear of cougars is unwarranted. And there are ways to protect livestock and pets from them. It just takes a willingness to understand how its possible to live in harmony with the natural world, rather than give in to an irrational reaction to control "those savage beasts."
Posted by: Brian | November 20, 2008 at 10:06 PM
Brian, cougars are meat eaters. You are meat. They are not so large as humans which is part of why the attacks are rare but children are smaller.
Yes, there are many ways to learn about how to stand up to one assuming you see it before it jumped on your back and broke your neck. I have read everything anybody can read about them; but in the end they are wild animals who eat meat. Books are books with averages or experiences. Cougar have been afraid of humans because humans have weapons but otherwise we are just easier to eat with less fur to get in the way.
I have lived most of my life on the edge of wilderness and know they generally will avoid a human but they have no ethical reason to do so. This isn't a matter of fear. I am not afraid of them or bear but I have a healthy respect for both and know both can have wild cards that will kill me if they can. It's my job when out there to not let that happen. Because you feel they won't kill you doesn't mean they wouldn't take a neighbor child playing in their yard.
If you end up with too many predators (and what did you think would thin their numbers) they have to look farther for their dinner. Anything out of balance is a problem. Fortunately we can still kill them, do have a season to do so. I wouldn't myself kill one, until it killed something of mine, because we don't eat them and I don't kill things that don't threaten my stock or me but I would take a shot at one if it was on the fields to see if I could persuade it that it that there are better places to go.
There are some good books also on cougar behavior and bear as well. I read them all, have researched it also online in the past, because of having lived, camped and hiked in such country all of my life. I like to be informed and not just reassured. The idea that they would never kill a human doesn't hold water. That we are unlikely to be killed by one is true but then we are unlikely to be hit by lightning too but we are cautious when out in storms.
Posted by: Rain | November 21, 2008 at 07:25 AM
Rain, I was pretty sure you were well informed about cougars. The info I put in my comment was intended more for other people. Like I said, I respect your attitude toward cougars. There's some sense in what you say. We do need to be aware of the risk they pose to humans.
But when I read what you said about lightning, I thought: "We don't try to get rid of lightning. Even if we could, would that be a good thing? Isn't lightning caused by natural processes? If we screwed around with those processes, so lightning didn't exist anymore, how would this affect other things -- like rain?"
Similarly, cougars are part of a natural ecosystem. They and other predator animals fill an important role. Take them away, and people are left with other problems. Probably bigger problems. For example, I've read that when coyotes are eliminated from an area, rodents thrive. Foresters find that fir saplings get chewed up before they can grow in coyote-less territory.
So, yes, we need to be cautious about cougars. But we also need to learn how to live and let live with them.
Posted by: Brian | November 21, 2008 at 09:32 AM
I agree. They are needed; and even when there was dog hunting allowed, they were out here. They aren't all that easy to hunt and not that many people have the energy to follow a pack of dogs over hills and down rivers and valleys. I would never want to see them all gone nor all bears. Even with the sheep, we don't shoot at a coyote on the place unless it's coming after the sheep or has already killed one. They also provide a necessary niche and I enjoy hearing them at night just not in my pasture :) It is equally thrilling to hear the scream of a cougar but less thrilling when it is in your yard or when you find a ram's carcass near your house (didn't happen to me but the neighbor just up the gravel road from here). I believe in balance and would never want to see all predators eliminated. I am less enamored of the idea of bringing wolves back to my area or grizzly bears. Yes, they are all cool. Love seeing them in Yellowstone or areas of Montana but as a livestock person, I don't want them next door... Selfish? You betcha :)
Posted by: Rain | November 21, 2008 at 10:13 AM
Lets be honest, here! Elk and Deer have not harmed humans in Oregon either! So should we get together and ban the hunting on them as well?
This is not an argument of harm, it is an argument of science, fact, and truth. Man is the most dominant of all preditors, because its creator designed them to be as such. The moderators of this post deny that beleif, making all and or anything they think - right, or just, - ;because they beleive in no higher power, they themselves beleive they make the rules.
Posted by: Mick | February 10, 2009 at 10:55 PM
Mick, that's quite an argument for killing wildlife -- because God wants us to.
How do you know the creator designed us to do this? It sure seems to me like a mountain lion is better equipped to kill a human, than a human is equipped to kill a mountain lion.
If we put a human in a cage with a large mountain lion, it's pretty obvious who is best designed to come out on top.
My point is that religious arguments have no place in deciding how to handle wildlife. And that obviously people are part of nature, not separate from it.
Posted by: Brian | February 16, 2009 at 12:07 PM