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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

There is a direct correlation of increasing Puma hunter kills in Washington State with a decreasing Puma population..............Kills have increased 40% since 2010(108 shot or trapped in 2010 versus 156 in 2012)................Since peaking in the mid 90's at about 2000 animals, the past decade has the Puma population sinking back to the approximate 1500 animals thought to have inhabited the state in the mid 70's................Almost every wildlife resarcher feels this number puts the population in jeopardy of not being sustainable longe term............ Despite the "Puma Friendly" slogan of the Washington Dept. of Wildlife("ENSURE HEALTHY, PRODUCTIVE POPULATIONS"), anything but that is in practice being carried out day in and day out

600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


December 26, 2013
Contact: Wildlife Program, (360) 902-2515

Cougar hunting seasons to close Dec. 31
in several areas of the state
OLYMPIA - Cougar hunts in several areas of the state will close at dusk on Dec. 31 now that harvest guidelines for the animals have been reached in those areas, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Eight of the 49 cougar hunt areas will close, including Game Management Units (GMUs) 105, 117, 149, 154, 157, 162, 163, 328, 329, 335, 336, 340, 342, 346, 382, 388, 560, 574, and 578.

Those GMUs are located in portions of Stevens, Pend Oreille, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, Kittitas, Yakima, Klickitat, and Cowlitz counties.
Dave Ware, WDFW Game Division manager, said this is the second year the department has managed cougar hunts under a plan approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2012.

That plan establishes harvest guidelines for specific areas of the state, based on cougar populations in those areas, said Ware. Under the plan, WDFW can close areas where cougar harvest meets or exceeds guidelines, while continuing to allow for hunting opportunities elsewhere.

"The goal is to preserve a variety of cougar age classes in numerous areas throughout the state, particularly older animals which tend to be more effective at maintaining sustainable populations," Ware said.

Last year, hunters harvested 156 cougars statewide, up from 145 in 2011 and 108 in 2010. Ware said the number of cougars harvested this season is expected to be similar to last year.
Ware reminds hunters that during the late-season cougar hunt - Jan. 1 through March 31 - other areas of the state could close early.

 Before going afield, hunters should check WDFW's website at or call the cougar hunting hotline (1-866-364-4868) to check which areas of the state remain open.Any additional closures will be posted on the website and hotline, both of which will be updated weekly.

SUMMARY: Cougars in the State of Washington

Cougar Habitat and Population in Washington

The State of Washington encompasses approximately 71,342 square miles of land. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) states that cougars can be found in the forested regions of the state, which represent around 34,168 square miles.

This habitat is distributed throughout much of Washington, except for a large expanse of the Columbia River basin.

Map showing cougar habitat in large areas in the north and west of the state.

Click on map to enlarge.

Reports provided by WDFW and publications by leading cougar biologists indicate that Washington's cougar density is approximately 1.7 cougars per 100 square kilometers of habitat. With about 90,000 square kilometers of habitat (34,168 square miles), Washington's cougar population is currently somewhere around 1,500 animals and likely declining due to increased trophy hunting (July 2011).  

This number is fairly close to what WDFW thought existed back in 1976 — at the end of the bounty period — when populations were considered tragically low and at serious risk.  Despite four decades of 'protection' as a regulated game animal, these low numbers continue to signal the downward spiral of the species towards extirpation (extinction within a specific geographic region).

History of Cougar Management in Washington

Like most western states, cougars in Washington were first "managed" through a bounty process, then left for a few years to the good graces of whoever wanted to take the time to kill them, followed by the species classification by WDFW as a "game animal," a commodity for sale, and since 1997 at bargain basement prices.

It should be noted that all of those so-called management practices consist of a single common element: the lethal removal of cougars to benefit man. WDFW's most recent Cougar Management Plan (2009-2015) has proven itself to be no better. In fact, Washington's alleged "cougar management plan" is more a list of justifications for killing cougars than a serious proposal to manage a wildlife species in a way which creates and enhances a healthy and sustainable natural ecosystem.

WDFW's slogan is "sound stewardship," and some of their cougar management goals actually sound reasonable, especially the goal to "ensure healthy, productive populations." Similarly, WDFW has included an obvious appeasement to conservationists, by including a promise to manage Washington's cougars for "wildlife viewing and photography," no matter how unlikely those non-lethal recreational activities might be. But as with everything, "the price is in the pudding."

 Washington's latest cougar management plan starts out by admitting that there are far fewer cougars in Washington than previously thought. Down from the maximum estimate of 4,100 reported in 2003, to somewhere between 1,900 and 2,100 in 2009. From that point onward this acknowledgement of a cataclysmic reduction in the state's cougar population apparently has no relevance or impact on the plan's primary objectives: placating the unrealistic fears of rural legislators, and satisfying the desires of hunters.
Washington Cougar Population Graph

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