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Utah Wants Open Season on Cougars

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The Utah legislature passed a bill on Wednesday that would radically change the rules on cougar hunting. HB 469 would make for an open season on cougars 365 days a year and you don’t need a tag, just a hunting license. As you can imagine critics are outraged by this bill that would basically treat a lion like a coyote. Utah currently has no shortage of coyotes. 

Anti-hunting groups claim this bill is not based around science or actual real numbers where proponents of the bill are more interested in saving Utah’s diminishing mule deer herd. Also attached with the bill are changes to the recent trail camera rules, outfitters, guides, and land acquisitions to ensure public access in the future. 

Faith Jolley of DWR said that “recent studies on select mule deer populations have indicated that cougars cause deer populations to fail to meet management objectives and increased harvest of cougars on those units has correlated with an increase in adult doe survival and growing the deer population”. She added that cougar numbers have increased over the past decade in the majority of Utah’s hunting areas. 

The Utah Houndsmen Association would like to see the bill struck down claiming that lions are needed for the ecosystem but the main concern is how the legislature circumvented to public process that’s been in place. The bill would go into effect May 3rd if signed into law by Governor Cox. 

Cougars on the Loose

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  1. Wow, can you believe finally some common sense. Cross your fingers….

  2. Hold the anti’s feet to the fire here…if they truly believe in management by science, then we’ll have a western grizzly season soon! …and wolf hunting in the midwest as well!

    • Exactly
      Time to hunt Grizzly

    • We now have cougar in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to go along with wolves, I live in southern Michigan but you hear how the wolves have decimated he deer herd in the Eastern part of the U.P. I just feel the hunting / Managing these animals would be helpful to all in that live in the U.P.
      Maybe an extended season for Lions in Utah would help the deer herd rebound. Here in southern Michigan we have coyotes every where and they seem to like easy prey like little dogs & house cats!

  3. Let the Flower Children howl.
    Can’t kill enough cougars

  4. Orion-Cazadorez

    Utah Houndsmen better realize they will have dozens of wolf packs coming to the state too. When these Houndsmen think wolves will honor the Colorado border with the massive wolf introduction in Colorado they are clueless. Wolves don’t know borders on a map. To argue that a burgeoning cougar population does not impact deer population is foolish. Year round otc mountain loin tags is a fantastic idea.

  5. As both a deer hunter and former hounds man, I hope this bill doesn’t pass. Cougars do kill deer, but not as many as the state would have you believe. Say Utah has 3,000 adult lions and each kills a deer a week, which is what many claim. That’s 156,000 deer a year. With hunting, vehicle accidents and winter kill there would be very few deer left. The numbers simply don’t add up. It’s a case of poor game management, and cougars are the scapegoat.

    • Jm,
      So what if each of the 3,000 cougars kill only one deer every 3 weeks. That would still be 50,000 deer per year as a low estimate. Cougars are not eating grass. They are eating meat. There are about 300,000 to 400,000 deer in Utah depending on the year. Lions are eating at least 10% of the deer in Utah every year. Trying to claim cougars don’t have a significant impact on mule deer is foolish. 20 years ago the lion population estimate was closer to 1000 but it has potentially tripled in the last two decades.
      If there is unlimited hunting 365 days per year without the aid of hounds, it will have minimal impact on the lion population. Unrestricted hound hunting and unprotected females/kittens would have a huge impact on the lion population.

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