Here are a few of the top stories on mountain lions from recent news articles. For more frequent updates, visit MountainLion.org and read the news daily.
Cougar Hunting Permits Available
In addition to Utah's regular cougar hunt, each management unit is allowed to issue extra permits as part of their "harvest objective strategy." If hunters have not had much success during past seasons, the larger quota is designed to compensate for the lack of lions killed. These supplemental permits can also be sold in areas where DWR would like to increase other big game species like bighorn sheep or mule deer, and assume cougars are over-predating. The Utah Wildlife Board has authorized the Division to set these quotas - without public input - through their Predator Management Policy.
At two-years old a cougar leaves its mother and disperses potentially hundreds of miles to find a territory of its own. Still perfecting its hunting skills to take down deer, a young cougar may supplement its diet with smaller, easy meals like raccoons, rodents and feral cats. This was the case in Montana when a young female cougar was seen resting in a tree near a man's home. Assuming the cat posed a threat, the man shot it out of the tree. Cougars generally avoid people and it is very likely this cat would have moved on had he left it alone. But because threats to public safety are in the eye of the beholder, tolerance for cougars is not mandated.
Once a few cougars have been verified in a state, it isn't long before cat hunters push for an open season. With scare tactics that our children are in danger, hunting tags are issued before biologists can even confirm there are more than a few cougars in the forest. Luckily, this is not yet the case in Michigan. After recent evidence of a cougar was confirmed, state wildlife biologist Brian Roell says it will remain illegal to kill the big cats. They will stay a non-game animal and research will continue to see if there is a breeding population. Roell also addressed the common misconception that cougars will damage the deer population, letting the public know habitat quality in winter ranges is a much larger factor than natural predation.