Home Forums Campfire Forum Cougar tips?

Viewing 28 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • shaneharley
      Post count: 118

      I just got a call to go check out some nuisance cougars that are killing a lot of livestock and seem to have very little fear of people. So I am inexperienced in hunting cougar. Do you have any tips or advice? I was planning to look around and do some predator calling. No dogs are allowed in Oregon for hunting them unless you’re the state. So it is just me.

    • shreffler
      Post count: 69

      Well I don’t know anything about cougar hunting but my first piece of advice is take a handgun for backup, and maybe an extra pair of underwear ๐Ÿ˜†

      But in all seriousness, if they have a track record of not being afraid of people, safety first. I know this is common sense but cats aren’t an animal I would take lightly. Don’t go out there alone if you can help it or unarmed because those are some pretty nasty cats.

      I’ll leave the hunting tips to the professionals here ๐Ÿ˜†

      Good luck!

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      I don’t hunt predators but I do know that this time of year, you can readily call in bears and cats with fawn bleats. Bear mostly just come shambling straight in, but cats will circle and sneak in, so scent control is paramount. Tests show that bear spray works just fine on lions. We have plenty of bears and lions and my wife carries bear spray always, but never a gun. She’s been growled and hissed at when the dogs got too close to an occupied kitten den, as have I, but nothing more. Thing about cats is that they’re invisible and see you all the time while you rarely see them. Should be an exciting hunt! Judging by rare attack reports larger people are almost never accosted by lions while smaller people are at risk. Maybe wear high heels and a tophat? ๐Ÿ˜†

      attached file
    • shaneharley
      Post count: 118

      That’s encouraging news Dave. I’m 6’6″.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      The only cougar tip I can give you is to put the drinks on their tab. Good luck…8)

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      Smithhammer wrote: The only cougar tip I can give you is to put the drinks on their tab.

      :D:lol:

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      At the best of times this joint is turning into Comedy Central … and I love it! If I can’t be funny, at least I can be around funny people. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Col MikeCol Mike
      Member
      Post count: 910

      Come on Bruce-you ever see one wait around for the tab:lol:

      Shane –been a while since I was in serious cat country–best I can say is watch your back.

      Semper Fi

      Mike

    • WyoStillhunter
      Post count: 87

      During elk season of 1998 a young mountain lion came in to check out my cow chirps. She got pretty close without me being the wiser. I just happened to go in the cat’s direction when I decided to move up the ridge.

      We locked eyes for a few seconds before I fired my rifle. That was an electric moment for sure.

      The weird part of this story is that I actually had a lion tag in my pocket. It’s the only time I have ever purchased a lion tag. Now I have a lion rug on the wall above my desk.

      I was not in any danger and am confident that I could have scared this 2 1/2 year old female away if I had tried to. Her stomach was empty but she was in good shape. A mature male might have been a different story.

      Try a variety of varmint, or deer, or elk calls — whatever is natural to your area. If I decide to try for another lion that’s the approach I will take.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Shane, I’ve been thinking that if there are multiple cats and you can legally kill them, and the object is to kill them to get rid of a risk to livestock, rather than sport, I’d take a rifle out and just get ‘er done. You can also use an electronic game caller which will allow you to be a better position, like up a tree, and not have the cat focusing on you when it comes in. That’s illegal in some states but not many, and it’s totally unethical in sport hunting. But if you’re doing damage control anything goes.

      I don’t hunt predators, period, much less with a rifle. But a few years ago after weeks of having two coyotes harass my dogs and wife on their walks–one snuck in from behind to nip my wife on the butt but our Golden got there in time to make a save–I took the scoped .22 out on their next walk and, when they came charging in barking, as usual, I took care of the problem pronto. No regrets. There is sport hunting, and there is necessity.

    • shaneharley
      Post count: 118

      Yeah it’s a more get it done kind of thing. Matter of fact I’m going to encourage them to call the state and have the pros come do it. Because if the situation is how I’ve been led to believe then there is a real threat there nor only to livestock but the folks as well.

      I was kind of planning to take a rifle. Theres hunting and then there’s just doing what needs to be done. Again the pros would be the better choice here.

      I’ve been thinking about it the last couple of days and wish they would call the state. It would save me a trip out there that won’t result in anything unless I’m plumb lucky. But I made the commitment so off I go.

      Anyway thank you all for your thoughts and humor.

    • grumpygrumpy
      Member
      Post count: 962

      Not to worry. Too old for the cougars to be interested in me.

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      Never hunted cats but if it were me, knowing these guys are known to have lost some of the fear of humans, I’d carry a levergun, 30-30 minimum caliber. Larger dia bullets would be preferred, like 38-55/375 Win or 45-70. If it were sport it would be different, but I’d take my tip from the guides in Africa, and go big or go home.

      Me personally, I’d take my Marlin 1895 45-75 stoked with 300gr loads running about 2000fps.

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      Any progress here Shane? The only predator I’ve ever hunted was a fox that outfoxed me at every turn. I’m pretty intrigued by predator hunting, I guess because I’ve never properly done it or seen it done. Keep us updated ๐Ÿ˜€

      Jim

      PS

      Has anyone ever tried calling in a lion? I’ve only ever read of them being bowhunted with dogs.

    • shaneharley
      Post count: 118

      I went out there and looked around. There was 3 cats on the trail cam and one very big bear. Other than that I haven’t been back yet simply because I’m trying to get an add on room done for my daughter before school. Then deer season starts. So it might be awhile until I can go again depending on how hunting season treats me.

      The property owners didn’t seem to super anxious to get rid of the cats when I suggested they call the state. They mentioned that they wanted someone there who was having fun. So I’m getting my stuff done first. They understand.

      Thanks for your interest.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 569

      Shane,

      I don’t know any of the details, but since the property owners are reluctant to call the state and not rushed to kill the cats, maybe there is another approach. Some of the time the “problem” is with the livestock owners. Since these people didn’t directly contact the state and have the cats removed, I’m assuming they have a really small operations…? Or maybe the livestock are just for “fun” or pets…? If that’s the case, then they may be able to change their behaviors and save their livestocks’ and some cougars’ lives as well as some hassle on their part. Do they put the animals in a barn at night? Do they let them free range? Sounds like a female cougar with kittens, how old are the kittens? Was it them just trying to learn how to kill?

      I worked on a cougar study in southern CA and we had a subadult tom cougar trapped and killed by the state. He had eaten a couple goats from someone’s yard (pet animals, not a big operation). The people hadn’t been putting their animals in an enclosure at night (while living in known cougar habitat). This young male had managed to disperse across 3 major interstates, turned around at the border of Mexico, seen the pacific ocean, and more; he was trying to establish a territory and picked off some easy prey. Like us, without knowing a territory its hard to secure food. possibly, (and most likely) he would not have become a livestock-killer, but merely kept himself going until he could regularly kill deer.

      I tell this story because its often our own ignorance that puts predators in the position of been killed. So maybe some discussions with the people could change their behaviors/mind. If the cats present a real problem/danger then they should be removed quickly and efficiently.

      IMO,

      preston

    • shaneharley
      Post count: 118

      Yeah there’s one older cat and two younger ones but they are good sized. They were not all together in any cases.

      One of the neighbors had the state come out at one point but the trapper failed to catch any cats.

      One of them attacked a big dog that was with his owner and another guy while the owner was riding around on a four Wheeler. There are small kids in the area and the one property owner who doesn’t let people hunt has given me free range to hunt on his place.

      I can’t place myself in their minds as to the exact thought process but this is how they want it to roll.

      Some rural folks don’t want the state or feds in their business and might be more comfortable with a ‘regular’ person on their land.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Ptaylor wrote: Shane,

      I don’t know any of the details, but since the property owners are reluctant to call the state and not rushed to kill the cats, maybe there is another approach. Some of the time the “problem” is with the livestock owners. Since these people didn’t directly contact the state and have the cats removed, I’m assuming they have a really small operations…? Or maybe the livestock are just for “fun” or pets…? If that’s the case, then they may be able to change their behaviors and save their livestocks’ and some cougars’ lives as well as some hassle on their part. Do they put the animals in a barn at night? Do they let them free range? Sounds like a female cougar with kittens, how old are the kittens? Was it them just trying to learn how to kill?

      I worked on a cougar study in southern CA and we had a subadult tom cougar trapped and killed by the state. He had eaten a couple goats from someone’s yard (pet animals, not a big operation). The people hadn’t been putting their animals in an enclosure at night (while living in known cougar habitat). This young male had managed to disperse across 3 major interstates, turned around at the border of Mexico, seen the pacific ocean, and more; he was trying to establish a territory and picked off some easy prey. Like us, without knowing a territory its hard to secure food. possibly, (and most likely) he would not have become a livestock-killer, but merely kept himself going until he could regularly kill deer.

      I tell this story because its often our own ignorance that puts predators in the position of been killed. So maybe some discussions with the people could change their behaviors/mind. If the cats present a real problem/danger then they should be removed quickly and efficiently.

      IMO,

      preston

      The reason that cougars are such a huge problem in California is that it is illegal to hunt them. If they had regular hunting seasons like Colorado, idaho, etc, these issues would drop to almost nothing.

      I recently read that there are more “problem” lions killed in California now than there ever were when they had a regular season.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      etter1 wrote:

      I recently read that there are more “problem” lions killed in California now than there ever were when they had a regular season.

      Unfortunately, I’m not surprised. And, as Preston pointed out, it’s usually not the cat that is the “problem.” I wish that Ca (and many other states) would start instituting serious fines for people who do stupid things that attract animals to their property, and then call up and complain about the “problem animal.”

      I know that such regulations exist in some states already, but it seems very rare for people to be fined, and at that point, the damage has already been done to the now-habituated animal.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 569

      Etter1,

      It is commonly stated that more cougars are killed now that hunting has been banned. However, it all depends what year you choose to look at. Some years there were many more cats killed by hunters than currently killed for depredation, and some years it was more even, and some years there were less killed by hunters. It not as simple as more now than then.

      I don’t know enough (and I’m not sure that anybody does) to say that its only the lack of hunting that has resulted in increased cougar attacks in CA. However, I can speak to the fact that around the urban centers, LA, San Diego, San Fran, and Sac there are millions of people that live in, hike, bike, horse ride, and recreate through cougar-occupied habitat every day. The extremely low frequency of attacks, with this many people in cougar habitat, is a testament to their (cougar’s) unwillingness to attack us. If they did truly see us or our pets as a food source, then we’d have a problem the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Jim Corbett’s time.

      Shane,

      It does sound like those cougars present a real threat. Its going to be tough getting all three. Once they get fired at the other two will be pretty sneaky. Especially if a trapper has come in and couldn’t get them. Try to shoot the mother first. Good luck.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Ptaylor wrote: Etter1,

      It is commonly stated that more cougars are killed now that hunting has been banned. However, it all depends what year you choose to look at. Some years there were many more cats killed by hunters than currently killed for depredation, and some years it was more even, and some years there were less killed by hunters. It not as simple as more now than then.

      I don’t know enough (and I’m not sure that anybody does) to say that its only the lack of hunting that has resulted in increased cougar attacks in CA. However, I can speak to the fact that around the urban centers, LA, San Diego, San Fran, and Sac there are millions of people that live in, hike, bike, horse ride, and recreate through cougar-occupied habitat every day. The extremely low frequency of attacks, with this many people in cougar habitat, is a testament to their (cougar’s) unwillingness to attack us. If they did truly see us or our pets as a food source, then we’d have a problem the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Jim Corbett’s time.

      Shane,

      It does sound like those cougars present a real threat. Its going to be tough getting all three. Once they get fired at the other two will be pretty sneaky. Especially if a trapper has come in and couldn’t get them. Try to shoot the mother first. Good luck.

      Even if it’s half as many, why not just allow recreational hunters to do this part for the community? Not to mention the fact that those problem cats are not kept by the permit holders. I don’t know where the meat and hides go but I would bet it’s mostly wasted when turned over to DNR.

      California is just such a backward state in so many ways. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    • skifrk
      Post count: 387

      The only cougar tip I have is to watch out for them since they travel in a large pack at Elways restraunt in Denver,co:D All kidding aside my wife has been stalked by a cat when out mushroom hunting she happened to look up and see it so she backed out of the area. I have when hunting for coyotes in the mountains had a cat try and sneak around us but caught our wind and took off.

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      Cougars in CA could be EASILY controlled with well regulated sport hunting, and the resulting gain in funds to the DFW. Costs to kill “problem” cougars are an unnecessary expenditure. The DFW could limit the number of animals taken just like thy do bears and close the season when the number is reached. Plus limited sales of tags, on a draw basis would further add to available funds for their protection.

      Junk science, just like that used to make the “condor zone” was at play and it was almost entirely a political move. The anti’s poured millions into misleading campaign ads, and the rest is history.

      Prey species that are TRUELY in trouble have suffered more than humans. Desert bighorn sheep herds have been decimated, after years of hard work by DFW and volunteers to bring the herds to a close resemblance of a sustainable herd. The anti’s don’t care. Just like the wolf problem up north.

      Personally I think fines are a bad idea. They are doing nothing illegal, but in cases like pointed out on this forum, the DFW ought to use common sense and simply relocate the animal, or ignore the complaint.

      The number of lions killed by DFW each year in CA is posted on the Commissions web site.

      To the OP, how well do you know these ranchers? Are you sure there really IS a problem, and they are not just wanting YOU to kill them and possibly take the heat from the state, if you are successful? The fact that they do not want to call is an alarm to me.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 569

      Firstly I’d like to say that I am not against ALL predator hunting. I support fair chase hunting of species whose population is high enough to support the loss and the scientific-based management of those species. I don’t want this to turn into a shootout, we’re all on the same team.

      I don’t think its as simple as just allowing a hunting season for cougars. That alone will not solve the problem. For example, take Alberta, they have a very liberal cougar season, as well as still trapping, shooting, and poisoning wolves. Yet, there is still a huge livestock depredation loss to predators there. Clearly hunting alone is not doing anything to deter predators from eating cows.

      Again I’m not saying we shouldn’t hunt cougars, that is a different topic, but whether or not we hunt cougars is not the real issue. The issue is how we operate when sharing the land with predators. For example, when I worked in Alberta, a private ranching operation annually dumped a thousand head of yearling cattle in a valley where a wolf pack was known to den. Instead of simply grazing the yearlings in a different area during the spring denning season, they would get the provincial government to come in and shoot all the wolves. Then the wolves would come back. A cycle. But no change in behavior.

      Hunting of predators can be beneficial, like Handirifle said, when a cougar specialized in killing desert bighorn sheep, that one cougar was removed and so was the localized problem.

      But as I stated in an earlier post, often the problem is the person and not the animal.

      Again, I don’t want to start a shootout. I like discussing this because its a difficult problem and we don’t have all the answers. I enjoy reading your posts (Etter1, Handirifle, etc…) because it makes me think think about my presumptions and ideas and construct better ones.

      preston

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      Ptaylor wrote: Firstly I’d like to say that I am not against ALL predator hunting. I support fair chase hunting of species whose population is high enough to support the loss and the scientific-based management of those species. I don’t want this to turn into a shootout, we’re all on the same team.

      I don’t think its as simple as just allowing a hunting season for cougars. That alone will not solve the problem. For example, take Alberta, they have a very liberal cougar season, as well as still trapping, shooting, and poisoning wolves. Yet, there is still a huge livestock depredation loss to predators there. Clearly hunting alone is not doing anything to deter predators from eating cows.

      Again I’m not saying we shouldn’t hunt cougars, that is a different topic, but whether or not we hunt cougars is not the real issue. The issue is how we operate when sharing the land with predators. For example, when I worked in Alberta, a private ranching operation annually dumped a thousand head of yearling cattle in a valley where a wolf pack was known to den. Instead of simply grazing the yearlings in a different area during the spring denning season, they would get the provincial government to come in and shoot all the wolves. Then the wolves would come back. A cycle. But no change in behavior.

      Hunting of predators can be beneficial, like Handirifle said, when a cougar specialized in killing desert bighorn sheep, that one cougar was removed and so was the localized problem.

      But as I stated in an earlier post, often the problem is the person and not the animal.

      Again, I don’t want to start a shootout. I like discussing this because its a difficult problem and we don’t have all the answers. I enjoy reading your posts (Etter1, Handirifle, etc…) because it makes me think think about my presumptions and ideas and construct better ones.

      preston

      No war intended Preston, you have valid points.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 569

      Handirifle, I’m just so used to being on the defense automatically when predator hunting is brought up. I forgot how great of a group of people we have here.

      I contacted a friend of mine who has just completed a cougar study in northern CA over the past 4 years. He brought up a few interesting points.

      First, his take on depredations is that the problem cat is an individual with a specialization of some kind of prey (like previously mentioned with the bighorn sheep), and if you remove that cat you remove the problem. However, most of the recent attacks on people in CA have been juvenile cougars, and he couldn’t explain that. He did mention that over the past few years there have been 7 cats killed for depredation on one family’s ranch near Santa Cruz. This family has done nothing to help deter the cats (like putting their goats in an enclosure at night) and would like it if Wildlife Services just killed all the cougars. Which brings us to the next point.

      If cougars are opened for hunting, then they will (should be) managed as all game species are. Simply put, the principles behind this are to keep the population below the carrying capacity of the land, so that there is an abundance of food and thus lots of offspring. In his words, “But if it was actually “managed” with maximum sustainable yield or something the population would actually increase. That is why there are more lions in Idaho or Washington than in CA.”

      So the question I would ask you guys is, do you want a cougar hunting season specifically to reduce the number of cats? Or do you want them to be managed, by hunting, with a healthy population for the long term? And how do you think hunting will solve the problem of depredations or attacks?

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Even with a bachelor’s in wildlife biology, I cannot answer all of those questions with any accuracy. What I do know is that states that allow lion hunting have far fewer instances of human and livestock attacks and still maintain a healthy population.

      I also know that both lion hunting and bear hounding have been cancelled in California because of liberal, political pressure and not based on biology whatsoever.

      It’s sad that we now have to “manage” our wildlife but it’s a fact that we do. Predator numbers have to be controlled and there is no reason whatsoever to put it in the hands of government, rather than “sport” hunters.

      No argument between us fellas. We all seem to be on the same page basically.:D

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      I think what every “study” I have read on the cats here, fails to properly address, in depredation, is the cats that have come to “favor” certain foods, in my opinion, got that way because they are pushed from the areas that have abundant game they would normally be after.

      We had several cats spotted inside city limits in the high desert area, inside of about 18 months, that were obviously underfed, yet there was plenty of game in the surrounding areas. I can hardly remember a deer hunt anywhere in the Angeles National Forest, where there were not lion tracks. This in addition to the black bears.

      These cats would rather be anywhere than in city limits, and only go there to eat. The folks you mentioned with the goats have their opinion, I do not want them eliminated by any means. We see lions on occasion where I live now, but they cause zero livestock issues that I have heard, and we talk pretty regular. I know one cattle rancher that runs 24,000 acres and he has no problem with lions. They leave cattle alone as long as there is ample deer. If the cats are overpopulating, the deer herd suffers and the cats look elsewhere for food. Thus the need for control, in my opinion.

      Like I said, I really think they prefer to be nowhere near us.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 569

      Sounds like the point your trying to make, Etter, is that if some cougars have to be killed, why not let hunters do it. Is that right? I think that is a good point, but the hard part would be getting the hunters to randomly kill the depredating cats.

      I don’t know why they do it, if its due to overpopulation or hunger. For wolves, most biologists agree that cattle killing is a learned behavior and can be taught to or forgotten by a pack of wolves if members of the pack that know cattle are food are introduced or die. There’s a lot more to learn about predators and their prey selection for sure.

      You’re right about CA, too. The DFW has a tough job, because if they try to change a management plan, then it goes up for public review. And there a number or organizations just waiting to sue them. The reason bear/bobcat hounding wasn’t put on a ballot initiative was because they told the governor that if he didn’t sign the bill, then they would make a proposition to ban ALL use of dogs for hunting, including for birds. The DFW was so pissed about losing their ability to manage cougars that now there really isn’t any plan for them. Its a tough spot for DFW, hunters, and wildlife.

Viewing 28 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.