State loosens cougar hunting restrictions

The regulations will impact 19 areas around the state.

New guidelines will allow more cougars to be hunted in several areas of the state. Courtesy photo

New guidelines will allow more cougars to be hunted in several areas of the state. Courtesy photo

Hunters in some areas of Washington state will be able to hunt more cougars after Washington Fish and Wildlife commissioners voted last month to increase limits in 19 areas.

The new guidelines will allow more cougars to be hunted in several areas of the state. The goal of the changes was to increase hunter opportunity. Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife game division manager Anis Aoude said there has been more interactions with people in some areas of the state.

“We had public comment from folks saying that there should be more hunting opportunities in those areas because they’re seeing lots of cougars,” Aoude said.

The state doesn’t manage cougars to reduce their population, but to manage surplus. They look at the intended rate of growth and base harvest guidelines on them to keep the population stable.

The decision has caused concern for Debra Chase, CEO of the Mountain Lion Foundation. The organization works to promote cougar population health across the U.S., and Chase said she’s opposed to hunting the animals.

Part of that is an interest in preserving cougars, and another is helping to keep other populations in check.

“As a keystone species, the cougar supports a myriad of life underneath it,” Chase said.

Cougars help thin the ranks of deer populations. As an opportunistic predator, it often goes for sick or old animals.

Chase is also concerned that interaction with humans could increase if cougars are over-hunted. She pointed to a recent paper written by John Laundre, of Western Oregon University.

The paper surveyed state and federal wildlife agency documents, and found “no evidence that sport hunting of pumas has produced the management outcomes sought by wildlife managers aside from providing a sport hunting opportunity.”

It said it’s unknown whether hunting cougars increases the number of deer. It further said several studies suggest that hunting increases the rate of cougar interactions with people and livestock. As evidence, it said higher kill rates for cougars coincided with higher numbers of these interactions in Washington and Utah, where data was available.

“Indiscriminate killing of pumas appears to disrupt social structure and stability, resulting in younger less experienced [cougars] having more conflicts with humans,” the paper states.

Still the risk of a cougar attack is extremely low, with about two reported per year across the 15 states where they’re found in the U.S.

Aoude, with Fish and Wildlife, said he was aware of some papers that looked at these issues, but wasn’t aware of any studies that showed causation.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Owner of proposed Enumclaw Recycling Center ordered to close Auburn location

King County has been trying to shutter the Buckley Recycle Center for nearly 15 years, and claims the lack of progress at the Enumclaw site shows the owner has little interest in complying with county regulations.

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/Pixabay.com
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

Courtesy of Mountain View Fire and Rescue
Mountain View Fire and Rescue seeks levy on Aug. 4 primary ballot

Service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw and Kent.

Firefighters treat 3 in head-on collision | Fire blotter

Reporter staff Between June 29 and July 5, the Valley Regional Fire… Continue reading

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Courtesy of the Auburn School District
There will be school this fall in Auburn

The district is working on answering the question: What will it look like?

Pills stolen, windows smashed | Auburn police blotter

Between June 27 and July 3, the Auburn Police Department responded to… Continue reading

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Brian Tilley (left) and Katie Dearman work the wash station Friday at Kate’s Greek American Deli in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Governor’s no-mask, no-service order begins across Washington

“Just do not ring up the sale,” Gov. Jay Inslee said about customers who do not don the proper masks.

Most Read