Cougar Hunting Education Is Important for Proper Conservation


Published: February - 2009

Cougar hunting education programs are more important for proper conservation than I ever thought. While preparing for a cougar hunt in British Columbia, I found a very informative course on mountain lions offered online by the Colorado Division of Wildlife at www.wildlife.state.co.us/hunting/mountainlion/. For anyone hunting cougars in Colorado, passing this course is required, but it is also of value to all hunters who plan to hunt lions elsewhere.

This course not only provides instruction on identifying the gender of mountain lions in the field, but also explains why this is important. Many states have quotas for mountain lions, often even establishing harvest limits by gender and specific hunting area. In many states, the seasons are closed as the quotas are reached, and in a few, the seasons are closed when the quotas on specific genders are met. Therefore, it is imperative in these states or provinces that you understand some of the guidelines provided by this course.

Besides gender identification, I also found other information provided in this course to be invaluable. While I have always wanted to kill a trophy cougar, I now have other reasons for passing on females. For one thing, I was unaware that females can give birth throughout the year, although most births occur between July and October. Other startling facts: About half of adult females produce kittens annually and another 25 percent still have dependent kittens (11 to 18 months old). Orphaned kittens younger than six months only have a four percent chance of surviving, and those older than six months only have a 71 percent survival rate. Another important fact is that females are away from their kittens about half of the time. In Utah, they found that females with kittens less than seven months old were away from their young 63 percent of the time, meaning that just because a female is by herself it doesn't mean she is without dependent young. So, the practice of killing only adult males, as long as it's consistent with the lion management plans, makes good sense and is not just a good trophy goal.........(continued)

 
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