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Author Topic: Cougar population in WA state over time?  (Read 1874 times)

Offline smithkl42

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Cougar population in WA state over time?
« on: May 29, 2018, 08:57:56 AM »
Does anybody have any official or at least plausible numbers on how the cougar population in WA state has varied over time? I've read both that there are twice as many cougars now as there was back in the 60's, and also that there are only half as many as there used to be. But I haven't been able to find authoritative sources for either of those numbers. Any insight?

I'm asking because I've got three trail cameras out in the woods, and all three have caught cougars in the last couple months. More cougars than bears, in fact. Seems like the population is doing just fine, but I'd like more than anecdotal evidence...

Online JimmyHoffa

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2018, 09:08:39 AM »
Any official numbers would be hard to verify for dates before radio collars, gps trackers, trail cameras, etc.  The bios determining the official numbers now have said their numbers really only reflect what they believe to be adults based off territory size, and don't include cubs/juveniles.

Offline boneaddict

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2018, 09:09:55 AM »
very difficult numbers to compile Id imagine.  All I have for you is anecdotal.  The population is through the roof.  Id suspect way more than double than in the 60s

Offline Southpole

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2018, 09:13:03 AM »
I donít have the data that youíre looking for but when I first started getting on this forum a bit over 7 years ago some of the forum membersí trail camera footage would rarely catch a cougar. Now this past year, thatís pretty much all I see anymore. Plus a good majority of the discussions on here are usually predator related anymore. Pretty sad really.
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Offline AL WORRELLS KID

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2018, 10:38:05 AM »
In 1996, Washington voters passed an initiative, 655, to prohibit the use of hounds in hunting cougars.......... No Hounds = more Cougars.
 Got to be some hungry Cats out there with more competition for food.
 If they wont let us take them out, you may have to start Mountain Biking out of their reach!
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Offline vandeman17

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2018, 10:46:37 AM »
I can say in the 15 years or so that I have been running trail cameras I have been getting more and more each year. I used to get really excited to have a "cat pic" as I would only get a few between all my cameras. Last couple years it is more common to have a least one cat pic on each soak versus not having one. I barely stop to look at them as I scan through my pics.

Not scientific by any stretch but just my observation.
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Offline jasnt

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2018, 07:57:40 PM »
More than double in my opinion
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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2018, 08:22:02 PM »
There is no way for the WDFW to know how many cats are in Washington. If they give you any amount of numbers, you know they're lying. It will ruin theirs and Conservation Northwests agenda to keep hound hunting banned.
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Offline bowhunterforever

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2018, 12:48:02 AM »
More than double in my opinion
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Offline huntnphool

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2018, 01:07:43 AM »
In 1996, Washington voters passed an initiative, 655, to prohibit the use of hounds in hunting cougars.......... No Hounds = more Cougars.
 Got to be some hungry Cats out there with more competition for food.
 If they wont let us take them out, you may have to start Mountain Biking out of their reach!
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Offline buglebrush

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2018, 05:59:49 AM »
I can say in the 15 years or so that I have been running trail cameras I have been getting more and more each year. I used to get really excited to have a "cat pic" as I would only get a few between all my cameras. Last couple years it is more common to have a least one cat pic on each soak versus not having one. I barely stop to look at them as I scan through my pics.

Not scientific by any stretch but just my observation.

I have 9 cameras out year round, and this is my experience as well.  Also, I run other cameras in Idaho, and find far fewer cats there. 

Offline LHaub

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2018, 06:21:43 AM »
Was there another dead cougar east bound I90 near north bend exit 34 this morning

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2018, 08:10:34 AM »
This isn't exact science but it is a fair comparison over time. I keep track of cougar density by the number of tracks I find per day when cougar hunting. When I first started cougar hunting in the 70's we would hunt 1 week to find an adult cougar for a hunter. If there was no snow we would look in mud for tracks if we had a hunter who couldn't change their hunt dates. If there was snow we usually did not see a cougar track at all. If there was good snow, we might find a few old tracks and maybe a couple young cat tracks, but it usually took several days to find one good cat to go after.

Cougar numbers have steadily increased over time. By the early 90's I was offering guaranteed 3 day cougar hunts, we would average seeing a little over 5 tracks per day and would pick only the largest to go after each day. The last full year of cougar hunting we caught 58 cougar and our 23 hunters harvested 23 cougar, we left all the others in the tree. The best day I had that year was 15 fresh tracks in one day, all in different areas, if we thought the same cat crossed the road 4 times we only counted it as 1 cat.

In the early 2000's when we had the public safety cougar removal season the cougar population seemed just as strong if not stronger. I can't say for exact sure because we only got a few of those tags to hunt for. It wasn't like i spent every day cougar hunting for two months like it used to be.

I have not done a full day of counting cougar tracks in WA for several years. But in the last 10 years it seems the population has increased further because now we count how many cougar we see while hunting other animals. It used to be about 1 cougar seen in 3 to 5 years during hunting seasons before they outlawed cougar hunting with dogs. Three years ago we saw 10 cougar, so far this year we've seen 2 cougar and a wolf, every year now we will see multiple cougar while out hunting other animals.

If I spend a day out bear hunting in WA I will see cougar tracks in the dust or mud about every day, it used to be unlikely to see cougar tracks in the dust or mud for a week. I also hunt in several other states and I can tell you there is some other states with good cougar hunting, Idaho seems to be the best, but nothing I've seen compares with the cougar hunting we had in NE Washington.

The one other place I've seen with an equivalent cougar population is California. I spent a few weeks guiding bear hunters in CA, I would see cougar tracks in the dust just about every day there too. I have heard Vancouver Island has a high cougar density but I've never spent time there looking for tracks to get a comparison. I've also heard that Oregon now has a similar population as California and WA, all three of these states have outlawed cougar hunting with hounds.
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Offline bigmacc

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2018, 04:04:34 PM »


I must agree with those that are saying the population has more than doubled :bash: I seen 2 more this weekend in the Methow, a big collared cat up Boulder Creek and one up towards Ramsey Creek, hardly any deer except the ones that were hanging around peoples porches and gardens, just a real shame :'( I think that is around 25 that 4 of us have seen in the Methow over the last 5 years while either hiking, fishing, scouting or hunting. Sickening :bash:

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Re: Cougar population in WA state over time?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2018, 06:35:21 PM »


I must agree with those that are saying the population has more than doubled :bash: I seen 2 more this weekend in the Methow, a big collared cat up Boulder Creek and one up towards Ramsey Creek, hardly any deer except the ones that were hanging around peoples porches and gardens, just a real shame :'( I think that is around 25 that 4 of us have seen in the Methow over the last 5 years while either hiking, fishing, scouting or hunting. Sickening :bash:

Last year a friend of mine got pics. of if I remember right 5 different cougar in one mile long drainage within three miles of Twisp, one of those cats showed to have kittens.

So far this year in the same drainage one very skinny cougar.

Growing up in the Methow we very seldom seen a cougar, now just like wolf sightings, it's no big deal.

My wife and I talk to one of Winthrop's vets, he said last winter he had a mamma cougar and three kittens winter in near his house all winter, he said he had a stuffed reindeer on his front porch decorated up, he said the cougar drug it off the porch and tore it all up.

The not so smart wolf-lovers etc. come up with the idea that the cougars were here first etc. etc., until fluffy gets ate off the front porch everything is cool. Fools.

How times have changed..

 

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