Great news for Oregon cougars -- and those, like my wife and me, who want to have environmental policies based on solid facts rather than irrational fears.
House Bill 2337, legislation that would reinstate some sport hunting of cougars with dogs has died in the state Senate. Many thanks to the legislators my wife phoned yesterday, pleading to not let fanciful emotion sway their votes.
Cougars are an extremely minimal danger to humans. Much less so than dogs, bees, horses, snakes, and of course, other people. Their numbers likely aren't increasing nearly as much as proponents of cougar hunting proclaim.
And so what if they eat some deer?
Cougars, like coyotes and wolves, are a long-time part of nature's top predator ecosystem. Homo sapiens aren't. It makes more sense to let nature do its thing, than to try to control every last bit of it with anal-retentive pseudo-exactness.
Laurel, my wife, did a lot of testifying and letter-writing on this issue. She got frustrated when state legislators and Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife staff ignored scientific research about cougar behavior.
Hopefully the defeat of HB 2337 will stimulate these folks to spend the next few years educating themselves about cougars. Facts are a wonderful thing, much more appealing than baseless fears.