State loosens cougar hunting restrictions

The regulations will impact 19 areas around the state.

New guidelines will allow more cougars to be hunted in several areas of the state. Courtesy photo

New guidelines will allow more cougars to be hunted in several areas of the state. Courtesy photo

Hunters in some areas of Washington state will be able to hunt more cougars after Washington Fish and Wildlife commissioners voted last month to increase limits in 19 areas.

The new guidelines will allow more cougars to be hunted in several areas of the state. The goal of the changes was to increase hunter opportunity. Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife game division manager Anis Aoude said there has been more interactions with people in some areas of the state.

“We had public comment from folks saying that there should be more hunting opportunities in those areas because they’re seeing lots of cougars,” Aoude said.

The state doesn’t manage cougars to reduce their population, but to manage surplus. They look at the intended rate of growth and base harvest guidelines on them to keep the population stable.

The decision has caused concern for Debra Chase, CEO of the Mountain Lion Foundation. The organization works to promote cougar population health across the U.S., and Chase said she’s opposed to hunting the animals.

Part of that is an interest in preserving cougars, and another is helping to keep other populations in check.

“As a keystone species, the cougar supports a myriad of life underneath it,” Chase said.

Cougars help thin the ranks of deer populations. As an opportunistic predator, it often goes for sick or old animals.

Chase is also concerned that interaction with humans could increase if cougars are over-hunted. She pointed to a recent paper written by John Laundre, of Western Oregon University.

The paper surveyed state and federal wildlife agency documents, and found “no evidence that sport hunting of pumas has produced the management outcomes sought by wildlife managers aside from providing a sport hunting opportunity.”

It said it’s unknown whether hunting cougars increases the number of deer. It further said several studies suggest that hunting increases the rate of cougar interactions with people and livestock. As evidence, it said higher kill rates for cougars coincided with higher numbers of these interactions in Washington and Utah, where data was available.

“Indiscriminate killing of pumas appears to disrupt social structure and stability, resulting in younger less experienced [cougars] having more conflicts with humans,” the paper states.

Still the risk of a cougar attack is extremely low, with about two reported per year across the 15 states where they’re found in the U.S.

Aoude, with Fish and Wildlife, said he was aware of some papers that looked at these issues, but wasn’t aware of any studies that showed causation.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Starting July 6, three road paving projects to prepare for

Two full road closures and night paving work is coming to Redmond Ridge at Novelty Hill Road, near Duvall, July 6 through August

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline. Courtesy image
Drug courts, officer de-escalation programs impacted by MIDD cuts

The fund provides money for mental illness and drug dependency programs across King County.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Most Read