Yup, you heard it correctly, it’s your fault as a hunter that a lion recently attacked two Washington State cyclists. According to Brooks Fahy the Director of Predator Defense, hunting and killing adult male lions puts the “social structure” of a cougar population into “social chaos,” with younger animals making up the bulk of a population.
With more young animals in the population the likelihood of encountering a lion that hasn’t learned that humans aren’t food is higher and therefore the resultant deadly interactions are just a byproduct that we can expect from hunters taking mature, mostly male, animals out of the population.
By making the hunting of lions with dogs illegal those states, like Washington, who have adopted this practice have unwittingly created a situation were lion hunting is, in effect, a fruitless endeavour and therefore an entire generation of cats has come to view humans as something other than THE apex predator in their ecosystem, making the animals bolder and more aggressive toward humans.
Now for the fun part, what’s your take?
I heard recently on the radio that game officials were able to track down the cougar that attacked the two mountain bikers (one dead and the second was put in the hospital) and killed the cougar. This sounds like a good way of dealing with MS-13.
If we’re killing big males, why would that have any bearing on babies? Don’t Mother’s raise babies without help from dad?
Yes but the large males will often kill babies so i can see where this argument is coming from. But the solution would be to allow more female lion tags. Not limiting hunting pressure. Especially in a state that does not allow hound hunting.
After 10 years I drew a tag in Montana this past season, my role as a game manager (aka hunter) was to fill my tag, my goal was a mature cat. I passed small males and happily arrowed a nice female that didn’t have kittens! The meat was delicious! Balancing our harvest objectives is the most sustainable way to manage!
Does the state of Washington publish harvest numbers ?
Urban sprawl is another factor. I live near and target shoot in the exact location this happened. It used to be “the woods.” The foothills of the Cascades are very close to Seattle. Developers don’t care that these areas are wintering grounds, and home to juvenile bears and cats. They simply have nowhere else to go. Coyotes in back yards for these Amazon and Microsoft workers make the local news like it’s Bigfoot.
Cougar hunting in Washington State is not a selective type hunt, but rather a hunt of opportunity. Most of the harvest is done by people out hunting for something else. I don’t see how they can say that this is because hunters are targeting the adult animals, when most of the cougars harvested in are juveniles. In order for Brooks Fahy’s argument to hold any water, Washington hunters would have to be able to target adults, but in the thick brush that makes up much of the state, this is impossible without the use of hounds. The real problem is that there isn’t any kind of effective management in place to keep cougar numbers in check, and now the population has exploded and juvenile cats are being pushed out to find new areas to hunt. With the population of people also increasing dramatically, it’s a perfect recipe for this kind of thing to happen.