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Author Topic: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?  (Read 1660 times)

Offline PastorJoel

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Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« on: May 01, 2018, 12:16:05 PM »
I keep reading about how cougars are killing lots of game.  This led me to wonder...

Is there a creative way that we as hunters could partner up and legally and ethically reduce cougar numbers in areas where this is most needed?  (Also, even if successful, would this be enough to really make a difference in game populations?)

When hunting deer, sometimes people have a "deer drive" where one or two guys walk through the trees and push the deer for others.  Is there some crazy way that using all of our combined knowledge, trail cams, time in the woods, etc. that we could create a system for targeting cats in problem areas?  Maybe a database where all of us share info and team up to get one or two cats and it doesn't matter who actually kills it.

This sounds really difficult because cats are so sneaky.  I know nothing!    It's just a question. :dunno: :dunno:

I suppose one issue is that the number of cats that can be killed in one area is limited.  hmmm...  :dunno: :dunno:

Offline KFhunter

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2018, 12:22:42 PM »
Most of the state's Cougar quota's were filled this last season, so we've done our part.

https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/cougar/

We need to lobby WDFW to get rid of the harvest guidelines and give them the same rules as coyotes.

Offline PastorJoel

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2018, 12:30:42 PM »
Maybe we try to double the late season quota during the early season?  :chuckle:  No quota in the early season.

Offline KFhunter

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2018, 12:41:33 PM »
The only thing we can do is vote Inslee out of office.   The commission wanted to increase the Cougar quota but Jay Inslee squashed it. 


We can't do anything with a governor like that in power.  With his personal interest in Cougar, we can expect much the same for Wolves, we will not see positive wolf management with Inslee in office.  I'm amazed we have any wolves killed due to depredation, but it is part of the wolf plan so perhaps he can't intervene there.

Offline Bob33

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2018, 12:50:55 PM »
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/inslee-reverses-panels-decision-to-increase-cougar-hunts/

Gov. Jay Inslee has reversed a state wildlife panel’s decision to expand cougar hunting in areas of Washington occupied by wolves.

Inslee sided with The Humane Society of the United States and other conservation groups, which appealed a decision by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to raise cougar quotas in known wolf territories.

The governor agreed that the panel improperly applied state law when it increased the cougar harvests through a last-minute amendment. The panel approved a rule that was substantially different from one it had proposed and didn’t allow the public an opportunity to comment, Inslee wrote Monday in a letter to the Humane Society informing the group of his decision.

In April, the commission increased the cougar harvest rate in 14 areas of the state as a way to ease tensions in communities over the state’s growing wolf population. Gray wolves are endangered in Washington and cannot be hunted. There are 16 confirmed wolf packs, all in Eastern Washington.

The commission — a citizen panel that sets policy for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife — considered a proposed rule that set the maximum limits at 16 percent of local populations, keeping with previous levels. However, at its April 10 meeting, the panel approved a last-minute amendment to increase cougar quotas up to 21 percent in areas with confirmed wolf packs.

The increase was designed to provide relief to communities beleaguered by wolves and other predators, Commissioner Miranda Wecker said in a statement at the time. Some commissioners said the change wouldn’t hurt the state’s cougar population.
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Online JimmyHoffa

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2018, 12:54:37 PM »
live bait is probably best.  Cougars are so crafty I can't see a drive being that effective--unless you can run fast after them, then might get them in the snow.  I've heard of guys in Colorado that ski them down....kind of like biathalon.

Offline Cougartail

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2018, 12:57:01 PM »
The only thing we can do is vote Inslee out of office. 

 :yeah: Politicians make terrible wildlife management decisions. Idiot politicians even worse..

The initiative process should also never be used to regulate wildlife decisions.  :bash:

Online bobcat

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2018, 12:59:32 PM »
Teaming up would be a good idea, along with a combination of all methods. Hunt in the snow, use bait, electronic calls, cellular trail cameras that email photos as soon as they're taken, etc.

Offline Timberstalker

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2018, 01:05:55 PM »
Most of the state's Cougar quota's were filled this last season, so we've done our part.

https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/cougar/

We need to lobby WDFW to get rid of the harvest guidelines and give them the same rules as coyotes.

This link does not provide competent data on how many quotas were filled.  They are all "closed" because cat hunting closed yesterday.
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Offline Special T

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2018, 01:57:34 PM »
It was my understanding that the western half didn't fill it's quota, but a bunch of eastern did.

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Offline KFhunter

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2018, 02:48:14 PM »
We should all try to exceed the quota's by Jan 1 next year much as we can.  Start hard in September and fill as many tags as possible by Jan 1 when the harvest guidelines kick in.

Offline KFhunter

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2018, 02:50:16 PM »
Most of the state's Cougar quota's were filled this last season, so we've done our part.

https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/cougar/

We need to lobby WDFW to get rid of the harvest guidelines and give them the same rules as coyotes.

This link does not provide competent data on how many quotas were filled.  They are all "closed" because cat hunting closed yesterday.

ya, day late and a dollar short, ah well, most of the E side units were filled and I think a lot of W side units as well.

Online bigmacc

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2018, 03:13:15 PM »

Like some have said, quotas need to be increased, especially in areas where herds are being devastated and predator numbers are skyrocketing(IE-Methow), as far as a better way to hunt them, there is a lot of good suggestions on here. I have started hunting them the last 3 years, can't seem to find them during the season, but run into lots when I,m not looking for them, the season is closed or quotas have been met. For instance, I didn't buy a tag this last deer seasony and ran into 4 while deer hunting, stumbled into a bunch of half buried kills in a particular area. I told another couple guys about the area and they went in and got one, don't know about the other 3(all different cats :tup:) I went home the next day, when you see that many cats and activity in a particular small area you know there is a lot of cats in that valley as a whole, killing a lot of mule deer! Oh yes, and WDFW sure is spending a lot on our predators as far as time, manpower, equipment etc., a lot of the ones we seen had fancy collars and transmitters on them, including the one those other fellas killed, for some reason they sure like them.....Bigger quotas or emergency hound hunting in areas that herds are being hit hard :tup:. I remember when cougar tags were 5 bucks(not that long ago either) now that they have developed a nice big population of predators they have cougar tags up to $24 now days. Sorry for the rant....

Offline Humptulips

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2018, 04:08:25 PM »
Most of the state's Cougar quota's were filled this last season, so we've done our part.

https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/cougar/

We need to lobby WDFW to get rid of the harvest guidelines and give them the same rules as coyotes.

This link does not provide competent data on how many quotas were filled.  They are all "closed" because cat hunting closed yesterday.

ya, day late and a dollar short, ah well, most of the E side units were filled and I think a lot of W side units as well.

Nope, not correct 55% of cougar management areas did not reach quota last year. That is an increase in harvest. The average number of PMAs reaching quota in any given year has been closer to 40%.
From what I can see snow and open ground are factors in areas reaching quota. Most west side PMAs where it is brushy and see less snow rarely reach quota.
If you are hunting I would say your odds are greatly increased if you can determine from tracks where they are at. That takes snow. What ever method, calling or just spot and stalk type hunting that is my one take away. Snow lets you narrow down the area likely to have cougar.

On the East side where most of the full quotas are we need either an increase in quota by increasing allowable percentages or higher estimated population numbers.
One the west side the only hope I see that doesn't go through the legislature is allowing cougar to be harvested with traps. Very doable IMO and I am seeing perceptibly more support from the Department. Not there yet but if more people would ask for it maybe.

WDFW is rewriting the Cougar management plan this year or so I have been told. This is the time to get changes so every organization needs to be bugging them about it.

Points I am trying to make:
Allowable harvest needs to be increased. There are studies which suggest harvest of much more then 16% could be sustained.
Increase the size of PMAs. No other animals in the State is so micro-managed. This would allow quotas from difficult to hunt areas to meld into more easily hunted areas that the cats will migrate into anyway.
Make trapping an allowable method of take for cougar.
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Is there a better way to reduce cougar numbers?
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2018, 04:49:35 PM »
Were lion quota numbers way lower when hound hunting was legal? I didn't live here then and don't really know anything about it. I found this article that shows harvest #'s pre-hound ban and post-hound ban.
http://www.mountainlion.org/us/wa/library/WA-R-Martorello-Beausoleil-2003-ABSTRACT-Characteristics-of-Cougar-Harvest-with-and-Without-the-Use-of-Dogs.pdf

Also looking at WDFW harvest reports, harvest #'s have been higher most years than they ever were during legal hound hunting years, 2016 being the highest ever at 277 lions.
I'm sure there's a reason for the lower numbers during the hound hunting years. Maybe it's because there were less cats because of hound hunting??
https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/harvest/



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