NFR: Demise of Livestock killing Cougar

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Itchy Dog, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. You might be interested to know that before hound hunting was outlawed by initiative, there was a pursuit only season in which hunters were allowed to pursue cougars with hounds and tree them without killing them.

    You would probably be surprised to know that most hound hunters are far more interested in pursuing and treeing cats then they are in actually killing them.
    These pursuit only hunts served to foster a fear of hounds in the cougar population and served to keep these predators away from populated areas. Unfortunately, the simplistic and emotional message of the animal rights lobby prevailed and we have arrived a situation that was predicted by many of us that opposed the ban on hound hunting.

    Before the citizens of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties (which hold sway over the rest of our state at the ballot box) voted to end hound hunting, catch and release was the rule, not the exception. I won’t pretend any ability to quantify this position statistically but I can offer this: WDFW has conducted several studies in which numerous houndsmen have volunteered countless hours to pursue cougars, tree them and collect DNA samples via dart guns. No cougars were killed during these hunts. Also, there is a continued interest in pursuing coyotes with hounds even though these hunts almost never end in the shooting of a coyote.

    Speaking from personal experience, the thrill of hunting with hounds comes from the cooperation between man and dog in pursuit of animals, much like bird hunting or CnR fishing. The actual kill is secondary. It is unfortunate that this form of wildlife management is no longer available as it seems to have been very effective in controlling cougars and bears and limiting their interaction with humans in populated areas. Obviously, WDFW has seen the benefit of these hunts and this is why hound hunting has been reinstated on a limited basis in areas where cat populations are high and human/cougar interactions have been a problem. Allowing a pursuit only season in other areas would probably have a similar benefit.

    Unfortunately it seems that the ideologues of the animal rights lobby are more concerned with an emotional/political victory than they are in the actual welfare of animals or the ecosystem as a whole.

  2. Very interesting! Thanks for the information.
  3. That is a nice looking Tom. To bad they had to kill it.
  4. Jon hit the nail on the head. We are still allowed to hunt cats w/hounds in Idaho and many people around here do it for the sport of the chase...much like the sport of the chase for a native steelhead. It is just a little excersise for the kitty.
  5. Jason, many people I've talked to thought that hound hunting for cougars was ridiculously easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. One hunt that comes to mind involved following our hounds all day from sunrise until it was nearly dark, in snow and -17 degree f. temps. At times we were wading through knee deep snow. The dogs lost the trail and picked it up again 3 times. One dog was lost and we didn't find her until 3 days later when she showed up at the spot where we originally dropped the tailgate. She had actually gained a few pounds from eating on a nearby deer kill that the cougar had left behind. A well trained hound is an amazing animal.

    It's kind of surprising what you can learn about animals and how they interact when you are hunting with hounds. Sometimes it IS easy and you tree the cat 300 yds from where you drop the tailgate. Other times you hunt for days without seeing a track. Either way you are constantly learning and honing your skills. It's a lot like fly fishing in that regard.

  6. You presume a lot. Personally, I would not feel any differently at all about cougars or wolves if they killed a domestic animal of mine. I would feel sadness for losing my dog, just as I would if it got hit by a car. I wouldn't respond by seeking out the death of the cougar any more than I would try to kill a driver who ran over my dog, or try to enact laws to prevent anyone from driving in my neighborhood.

    So, no, I wouldn't shoot them too. What I might do is put some thought into effective deterrents, such as a couple of big dogs or a llama, which have proven very vigilant and effective in protecting herd animals. Shooting a cat simply opens up a territory, which is then occupied by another cat. I ask again -- where do you draw the line? Kill 'em all?

    For what it's worth, most ranchers have access to compensatory government funds if their livestock are lost to a protected predator.
  7. While we pursue ESA listed wild steelhead where the goal is to pucture their bony mouths with a hunk of sharpened steel only to torture it for a few minutes before (hopefully) a release that doesn't result in it's death.

    It's easy to justify our own pursuits while looking down on other's.
  8. Cougars are not protected. They are not endangered. They are not threatened.
    As stated by an earlier poster, once they acquire a taste for easy prey they tend to continue to kill livestock.
    I can certainly agree that a cage match between a cougar and a llama would be interesting.:rofl:

  9. I agree that those articles provide some interesting reading.
    It seems that the combination of animal rights activism and attempts to "manage" the damage done by the initiative are causing far more problems than they are solving. This certainly begs the question, Wouldn't the cougar population and the human population both be better off without the ballot box biology mandated by the hound hunting ban?

  10. As someone "without a dog in the hunt" I really appreciate what Jon said. It seems logical to me that hunting with dogs, especially if the objective was not to kill, would go a long way towards conditioning cougars to fear and avoid dogs and men in particular and mankind in general.

    I recall listening to an interview on NPR with someone who'd written a book about the increasing friction between man and native predators; "The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature" by David Baron.

    During the interview he describes what he feels to be a representative first encounter with a cat by a well-meaning resident who sees the animal at the far end of the yard and gathers the family onto the back deck to watch the cat until it finally does move on. The cat, if it stays put at all, experiences something in that brief encounter that contradicts its instinctive fear of man, and a young cat in particular may get it first conditioning to NOT fear humans. A few more brushes like this, and you may have the beginnings of a cat that does not necessarily feel a need to avoid human contact. The author suggested that the best response to seeing an animal like this is not to gawk and point, but to scream, shout, and raise holy hell, thus reinforcing the instinct that a human is something to avoid.

    I think they're animals that deserve a place on the planet. I do not think of them as cuddly, Disneyized friends and hopefully, should I encounter one, would remember to act like something to be feared, not eaten.

    If, of course I had the chance...
  11. Your first statement is a fine example of pointless semantics. While not listed as endangered or threatened, they obviously enjoy a measure of protection. This is demonstrated conveniently by the fact that the livestock owner was obliged to call officials to remove the cat, rather than shooting it himself. I would suspect that he has financial recourse available for his loss, as eastern WA ranchers do.

    While a lion could certainly win a do-or-die matchup against a llama, that's hardly the point. Llamas have a well-deserved reputation for guard duty over herds of livestock. At 400 pounds, and with a nasty disposition, a llama or two represents a risk that a top feline predator doesn't need.

    The entire game plan of a big cat is based on minimizing risk, since an injury is all that's required to tip the balance in favor of prey animals like deer, making it impossible for the cat to hunt successfully. It's why leopards abandon a kill when a hyena shows up, or why a cougar runs up a tree instead of simply turning around and ripping your dogs to pieces.

    I should mention that I don't have any ethical complaints against lion hunters whatsoever. The population in Washington certainly allows for a sustainable hunting season. However, I definitely do not agree that the life of a lion should be discarded lightly over the life of, in this case, one sheep.
  12. The simple fact is if a lion eats a sheep, he will come back to eat more sheep. F&G is minimizing the risk of this lion eating another sheep.

    If someone had a Pitt Bull and it killed your pet dog/sheep/etc..would you want it around?

  13. Im completley aware its a blood sport, thats nothing but obvious as catch and release can result in mortality from time to time and flys are tied out of dead animals almost always unless you are a vegan and only use synthetic materials. But the general intent of C&R is not to kill or harm the fish in the long run even though it can happen, doesn't make it much more justified but its a leap by all meens from killing with intent. What I was trying to get across was I think they could have done C&R with that cat if they would have tried, reading the story it sounds like they killed it before even seeing the collar which isn't fair. Id much rather see photo's of these guys tracking down poachers with a smile on their face than out hunting. Its been a long winter and im sure the animal did what it had to do to survive at the time. Im not here to point fingers and im definitely not saying people don't have respect for nature if they fish or hunt, im just saying that alot of people wan't animals like this dead for the wrong reason and really no reason at all at times.

    I have lost numerous pets to coyotes and the like and I don't think at all that gives me permission to kill them in revenge. They don't kill other sentient beings out of hate like the human species does, they eat to survive and its too bad we have only given them a small chunk of earth to roam and do this on.
  14. Too mean to post
  15. The simple fact is: What is so hard about shooting a dart, putting the animal in a temporary cage, driving up into the mountains a couple hundred miles, and releasing it. Ok, 300 miles then.

    We killed the Buffalo, we killed the Beaver, will killed the Otters, we killed the Seals, we killed the Wolves, we killed the Salmon, we killed the Steelhead, we killed the Bald Eagles, we killed ..... on and on. Give me a frigging break.
  16. I don't think anyone in this thread has said killing the cat is something to be taken lightly. I see it the other way. People who take the life of an animal usually have a far greater respect for that animal than some animal rights activist who push for laws that only make themselves feel better.
  17. It would just come back and eat more sheep....maybe we should just kill all the sheep. As for the dart. Don't you think F&G's $$$ should be spent saving buffalo, beavers, otters, seals, wolves, salmon, steelhead, and bald eagles....

    Are beavers really dead?
  18. PT, I'd have to disagree on a couple of counts: First, several folks have made comments in this thread that strongly suggest they don't bat an eyelash when any cougar that needs killin' gets what's comin'. That's taking it lightly.

    Second -- I'm far from a tree-hugger or PETA activist conspiring to free lipstick rats, and as a moderate, I'd say that conservation law accomplishes a lot more than making people feel better about themselves.

    Fuller -- sounds like you're of the mind that any animal posing a threat needs to go. We don't agree. If I'm hiking the PCT and a lion takes me down, that's a risk I took in going to a wild place.

    I expect that you will have your druthers eventually. Tigers, jaguars, and cougars will probably survive only as inbred, genetically manipulated populations, completely under human control. That's certainly the path that has been established. Like I said, I'm glad I won't be around to see it.

  19. thats why i have stayed out of this. just typed a response but it was too mean to post so i deleted it. some people just dont get it.

    cougars are already inbred so too bad you're around to see it

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