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I live on Vancouver Island, which has the highest per square mile populations of cougars in NorthAmerica- and the highest number of cougar attacks.I have hunted all my life, and only seen two in the bush- and some hunters have never seen one.That, however is not to say they haven't seen me!
One thing no one should understimate is a cougars ability to take down prey- and although their prefered prey is deer, they will stalk and kill humans, although that is thankfully a rare occurance.We have a particular problem here- the wolf populations have exploded, there are few deer in the bush, and that has driven the remaining deer into the urban areas where they are flourashing, and the cats have followed the deer.Where it was rare to have a catsighting in the suberbs- maybe one every 5 years or so, now we have half a dozen a year.One killed a deer on my property and lay there in full sight of a well travelled road for several days while it ate the carcass,no one saw it, but the bed was evident.
Now- the point is this-once large preditors lose their fear of man, they become dangerous- because they are what they are- preditors.We do them no service not to hunt them as ultimately more of them will become killed because they are dangerous.Sort of like the same reason we don't feed bears- we want them to not becomed accustomed to associating humans with food sources.
 

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Hi dixielee, I read your story in CountrySide and my heart goes out ot you and your family. Thank you for shareing it, inspite of the pain. I really do think it will save someone else. It has helped me show more caution when I go out from the house, I will be carrying my 9mm, it just so happens that I saw 2 wolf size/looking canines last week, I opend the back door and there they where maybe a 100 ft away one just stood there looking at me as the other walked by in the trees behind it.

The coyotes have now been out in midday, the 1st I have seen since we moved here, at 3pm on a sunny day standing on top of the hill watching the house and the chickens.

And today a trip to the vet because something big got hold of our bigger blue heeler, his throat is torn open from the corner of his mouth on the right side of his face to just past midline under the throat, his left ear is torn as well, the vet said it was close for him. After the dog cleaned himself up a little, we can see teeth marks on his face and feet. Because of Jacob's past car wreck, the vet did not want to risk knocking him out for stitches so, puppy dog still has a gaping tear under his throat, I have to wash it out with antibiotics and wait for it to heal without stitches, then he will be fitted for a spike collar.

I must say for all the trouble Jacob has been, it would be hard to feel safe without him here to run interference between me and what ever is out there. after all that is his job, to give me time to get the gun.
 

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We have an old cougar that lives in the Lakeway (rich people live there) area and prowls from Lakeway to Cedar Park (about 7 miles from where I live in Austin, TX) and this area is in one of the rapidly expanding areas. It's been rumored that there are more than one cougar. There are tons of stupid deer that are forced by drought and people who stupidly plant stuff that they like to eat and gripe about how many deer there are here. We even had a biologist take down those deer (approx 200 -300) and only one had enough meat to be donated to the homeless! That tells you how badly those deer were managed.

Ted
 

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MK,

No, we're not easily allowed to own hand guns :) I'm happy enough with my rifle, shotgun, crossbow, and recurve anyway :D

What's Peter Jennings syndrome- must be some Americanism I'm not familiar with?

By no experience, I meant that it appeared you hadn't lost a family member to a cougar, which I think is a far more significant event than losing a cow. Expensive they may be, but they can, and should, be compensated for by the government (which holds responsibility for the wildlife) in a reasonable manner.

Cheers,

Jeff Hathaway
 

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Jeff Hathaway said:
MK,

No, we're not easily allowed to own hand guns :) I'm happy enough with my rifle, shotgun, crossbow, and recurve anyway :D

Cheers,

Jeff Hathaway
Dixielee, Old Bear, I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Yes, a cougar that is hunting humans needs to be put down. That said, I do wish to thank Jeff for providing a reasonable voice in a highly emotional debate.
We came to America and made it our home with disregard for keeping the natural balance between predators and prey. We face the results today, losing our lives as the wildlife does what comes naturally, eating what is easiest to catch or forage and eat. We came into the wildlife's world. We knocked it totally off balanced and killed out many species. In the efforts to restore a tiny bit of balance, we can but will not return the wild land to the wild animals because we need it for our urban sprawl. And that guarantees continued increases in the numbers of human-wildlife contacts. Killing just to kill it because it is a wild animal struggling to survive in a world we took over is wrong if it has not killed a human and can be identified as the one.
Many times, when a shark attacks and/or kills a swimmer, people rush out to kill the shark. Many of the great whites are killed and cut open to find rusting cans, plastic and the like - but no human remains. And the killer shark is later identified as a different species by a tooth left behind. Was the slaughter of the great whites justified? No, but no one expresses regret either.
God created a balance between the predator and the prey. Unfortunately we humans can be both. The scales are not unbalanced and can't be righted. Pun intended. judi
 

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A little over a year ago, I was on a snorkeling trip off the island of Molokini near Maui in about 20 ft. of water. A 7-8 ft. shark swam by suddenly along the bottom right below me. Funny, I was in awe but not scared at all. It was the first decent sized shark I've ever seen while snorkeling.

The divemaster, a native Hawaiin who made his living diving, told me it was a reef shark. They really don't bother people too much, and usually stay on the bottom. Then he added "but I usually kill every one I can anyway". I asked him why. He said they will usually try to steal away his catch while he's out fishing, so it's just his policy. He doesn't trust them.

That's my policy. Something hanging around my house that can kill or maim me or my family, I will kill it. Trust has EVERYTHING to do with it. They can't be trusted to leave humans alone, even when game, deer, etc. are plentiful. So, I just won't take any chances. Game warden said he doesn't blame me.

I am not a hunter, anymore. I have never in my life killed an animal for the fun of it. Wouldn't dream of killing an animal unless it was a nuisance or a threat, or if my family wanted or needed the food.
 

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Last night's news had an article about a cougar "family" that has shown up in a ritzy Colorado Springs neighborhood, pacing up and down people's properties. The cougars, a male, female and three cubs were described as "hungry and looking for food". They have already killed several pets in the neighborhood, but the game department is not going to interfer unless they attack a person. In the cat's defense, people have moved further and further up the mountain into what was formerly their territory, but I'm mighty glad I don't live in that area. People were just advised to be cautious, and to carry a big stick if they go walking or jogging at night. The cats have been seen during the daylight hours, too however. I just hope we don't have another situation like yours. Jan in Co
 

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We moved moved out of the city some years ago. Our wildlife consists of deer, a rare fox sighting, coyotes singing at night, some racoons, skunks, possom, and feral cats. When I read these posts I am amazed--bear and moose, and even cougars. And the wild boars that have been imported for hunting and now happily rooting it up. And all that outside the confines of a national park. It is comforting to know we didn't move THAT far out of town. Am so sorry to here of your losses from predators.
 

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DixieLee - I was very sorry to hear of your family's loss. We have cougars around our ranch here in southern CA, & we never go hiking without at least one dog - I run a pair of flockguardian dogs (250 lbs worth, for the pair) with my flocks of sheep & poultry.
 

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Dixielee and Oldbear, sorry for your loss. Haven't seen the Countrside article but followed your posts on Frugals. Here in Alaska the battle is with wolves. Here they are not in any way endangered or threatened. They are raising heck with the moose populations. Many greenies don't want them hunted or otherwise controlled.

Read a story in the paper about a lodge owner who maintains the winter trails near his lodge. Seems he went out right after one of the wintertime cross country run-ski-bike races they have up here and he found where wolves had been following/stalking some of the racers. The racers never knew they were there. Hope it doesn't take an incident like yours to wake some of these greenies up.

Oldbear...wishing you good luck in finding that cat.

Eric
 

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And I thought this thread had died... watch out, this is a long one!

"and to carry a big stick if they go walking or jogging at night."

Perhaps good advice generally, but with respect to cougars this is one of the silliest things I've heard :rolleyes: A big stick? Talk about a false sense of security! Now I might go for a walk in cougar country knowing that the risk is small and accepting it for what it is, but I wouldn't trust in a big stick and it disturbs me that this might be the official advice.

"I am amazed--bear and moose, and even cougars. And the wild boars that have been imported for hunting and now happily rooting it up. And all that outside the confines of a national park. It is comforting to know we didn't move THAT far out of town"

MaKettle, there are two statements here which I find interesting. The first, regarding the wildlife outside the national park. Do you mean that you expect these things to only be within national parks? We've already discussed this a bit.

The second is your last statement. I can completely understand that people want to be in the country but not in the wilderness. However these things are not static. Wildlife communities, even whole ecosystems change all around us, with or without our help/harm (mostly the latter, these days). If bears moved back into the area around you, would you want to have them removed because they weren't there when you moved in? Would this be some sort of breach of contract on the part of the countryside? Would you move back to the city? Or would you learn about the situation, modify your behaviour to minimize any risk, and accept the risk that is left while enjoying your life in the country? I don't mean this as an attack, just trying to understand how people react to these issues.

SteveD, interesting story about the Hawaiian. I still think he could perhaps modify his fishing methods and/or catch storage to avoid problems in the first place. Trust is an interesting word. Let's look at some other examples. I can trust that lightning will kill or maim me (not to mention fry my computer). I can trust that it will occur numerous times in my area this year. What I can't trust is when and where it will strike, but I can use my knowledge of things to minimize my chances of it happening to me. Can I be certain it won't? No, but I accept the risk as part of life and hope for the best. The difference, of course, is that I can't do anything to stop lightning. The question is, if I could, should I? The risks are pretty small, and what would the downside be? Personally, the joy I get from watching lightning in the sky more than surpasses the worry from the risk, and the fact that a small number of people die each year (way more than from cougars, though). Obviously I hope I'm not one of them, but I wouldn't change the situation. How about dogs? Do you trust dogs? I do, but my wife doesn't. Statistically, dogs are far more likely to kill you, or someone you love, than cougars. Should you remove them from your life (btw, they're one of the best cougar protection devices you could have!). Horses, cows, electricity, and lots of other things we 'trust' can be dangerous, and I bet you have plenty of them around your home. We're just more familiar with them and their risks, and most people accept their risks because the benefits are immediate and obvious. My dictionary definition of 'trust' includes 'to have faith in'. Now it may be due to my lack of religion, but I think 'faith' is not the best way to approach these things- a solid understanding of the risks, strategies to minimize them, and acceptance or avoidance of what you can't minimize seems more appropriate to me.

Now let's extrapolate beyond your yard, to include everyone else's. I agree that the behaviour of cougars is unpredictable, and they can certainly kill. You don't want them around your place. Neither does anyone else. How much land area is left that is not 'someone's place'? Is there enough for a reasonably sustainable cougar population? If not, then you're either saying that you want them to be exterminated, or that you don't want to accept the risk but others should (kind of like garbage dumps- no one wants one nearby but no one stops making garbage!). The first statement is a logical position though one that many people would disagree with. The second statement is selfish and arrogant, but one that many people make everyday without realizing it (and obviously, many people don't mind being selfish and arrogant :) ). So, is there enough land? Truthfully, I don't know. It certainly appears that there isn't in some areas. There definitely isn't in others. Undoubtably, no one is making any more land, so the situation isn't getting any better.

EricG- I'm not completely up to date on the Alaska situation, but I did a lot of reading about the Yukon wolf kill about 10 years ago as part of a Wildlife Management course. Most of the papers were from Alaskan researchers. One of the findings was that grizzly bear predation on calves was much more of a factor in supressing the moose population than wolves were. While I wouldn't oppose the hunting of wolves (great pelts!) in a sustainable manner, I think 'controlling the population' in a systematic manner must be done very carefully and with strong justification that is often just not there. What are the moose population densities? How do they compare to historic levels? What other factors are influencing it? Logging, btw, is one of the best things for moose (bad for woodland caribou though) as it creates better habitat for them. If logging in the area is lessened, after a few years the moose population will drop dramatically. Are moose at risk of becoming extirpated in Alaska? Or are there just fewer of them to hunt?

Time to get some work done :)

Jeff Hathaway
 

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Most humans vehemently dislike being reminded that we ourselves are "prey" to many of Earth's creatures, whether it is grizzlies, cougars or wolf packs, we are edible to many other members of the mammalian species. When there is not enough of a more easily obtainable prey, ie., rabbits, deer and other small critters, a hungry cougar is driven by hunger only to stalk humans. We have screwed up their domain enough that they can no longer find enough prey that does not include us, so we must take the responsibility for the consequences of this damage being done.

Grizzlies have been occasionally killing humans for thousands of years, yet we do not hate the sight of them, rather, they have our highest respect for their ability to do damage to our person, and we act accordingly around them. This is the attitude we must adopt towards cougars also, it is not easy, but it is the only responsible and ethical action that remains.

BTW, we have had a female cougar sighted on our property by turkey hunters a fews springs ago that they reported to the game warden, but Ohio officially has "no known cougars residing in state" as others have mentioned also, I'll trust the turkey hunters sighting and am prepared always when outside the house to possibly see or be confronted by one, without being armed with a gun or pistol, by the accompaniment by at least two of our large (over a 100 pound) German Shepard dogs, which have the free run of the farm at all times, this alone discourages most all predators, including raccoons and coyotes, from getting anywhere near us or our livestock. Coyotes and cougars both have an inherent dislike and fear of LARGE domestic dogs, and avoid confronting them at all costs. Ask your game warden, he/she will suggest the same thing.

My most sincere condolences for your terrible loss, but we must educate ourselves to learn to live with and around cougars just like we do with grizzlies and wolves
 
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