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Sunday, February 06, 2011

D. R. SHOOP: Sad Story


“this cat is over 9ft long and approx 150lbs. Photo has not been altered.” Says the hunter who shot it in Orofino, Idaho

It may be legal to hunt these majestic cats, but I find it very sad none the less.

Mountain Lion


Syd said...

There is only one word to describe the hunters of such magnificent creatures. The word is SCUM.

Richie said...

What bothers me about this photo is the caption. The poster used the word "harvested". In Texas white-tailed deear abound, and yes, we hunt them (and then eat them) or else many starve. Texas wildlife management sample for deer population growth and set limits based on geographic area how many deer can be killed by hunters.

The use of the word "harvested" in this picture's caption seems to justify the hunter's need to kill the cat. It is illegal to kill mountain lions in Minnesota. This is dusgusting.



Retrieverman said...

I have to say that I respectfully disagree.

One of the reasons why this cat is doing so well in the United States-- and is, by all accounts, making a comeback to its former range-- is because it is managed as a game animal.

Except for Texas-- not the most forward thinking of conservation states-- these cats are hunted only in a season and by licensed hunters. That means that only a relative few cats are killed every year. However, cougar hunting brings in money for conservation in terms of license fees and the local rural economies, which are in dire straits in this recession.

Because the animals are valued as game animals, they are conserved.

The cougar is one of the success stories of American predator conservation. We have a much better record with this large Carnivore than, say, wolves or jaguars.

Hunting is also important for human-cougar relations. When predators are hunted, they learn to avoid people. This is important for large predatory cats. For example, the Sundarbans tigers are maneaters, not for any special reason, except the tigers of that region were never hunted. The tigers that exist now generally have a fear of people. This could have been inherited genetically-- the development of fear periods in different species in the dog family has been selectively bred for-- or the tigress taught their cubs to avoid people. Tigers, unlike cougars, are a textbook example of terrible management practice, but the remaining tigers are very unlikely to become maneaters.

I have no problem with hunting animals. That cougar died a more dignified death than if he'd grown old in the wild. With aged teeth, he wouldn't be able to hunt, and he would starve. His best option would be that a pack of wolves would kill him. Which of these is a better way to die?

Hunters are not the enemy of conservation; they are part of the solution. Most hunters are nature lovers who just happen to enjoy nature in a different way. My hunting grandfather told me that one does not go into the woods and hunt animals without an understanding that the animal can feel pain. It is our job, as enlightened predators, to kill cleanly and swiftly.

We've done some stupid things with cougars. We've killed off almost all of the eastern population in the US and Canada. Only the Florida subspecies still lives.

But we still have them and they are coming back.

We cannot say the same about indigenous British population of Eurasian lynx which has been extinct since the Dark Ages. It was killed because it was viewed as a pest or for the marketability of its fur, and when people kill pests or overtrap a furbearer, they will kill it off. But if you are conserving a game species, well, in the US we have large numbers of large game species. Both wild turkeys and white-tailed deer were nearly extinct at the turn of the last century, and now they are very common. That's mainly because they were preserved as game animals.

The same with the cougar.

Retrieverman said...

Americans do not have the same traditions as Europeans do.

Our native wildlife has never been privately held. And many settlers came here with hatred for game laws, which protected the landed aristocracy's private hunting preserves. And that attitude was a disaster for our wildlife.

However, we were able to bring about conservation through-- no better word for it-- socialism. Because all states in the union have public ownership of native animals, the state could come up with laws to regulate killing them.

Britain had private ownership of wildlife, which meant that the big landed gentry types could enclose off preserves for their hunting reasons. This goes back to the Royal Forests, where the peasants couldn't hunt at all. But they had some rights under the Charter of the Forest. After the Enclosure movement, these rights disappeared. People were driven off the land-- land that was later turned over to make shooting and stalking estates for the big whigs. And that resentment is the origins of the modern anti-hunting movement in Europe. See Robert Burns's "Now Westlin' Winds" to see how a working class Scotsman viewed shooting preserves.

America had socialist conservation measures and big public hunting areas, so that most of the people could partake in it. American doesn't have a culture of class struggle, but what little we have doesn't drag hunting and shooting into it. And attempts to bring anti-hunting into our left (of which I am a proud member) are a waste of time and resources. It just further alienates people and makes the left look ridiculous.

Retrieverman said...

I bet if you asked that hunter how he would feel if cougars went extinct, he'd be more upset than anyone.

This isn't a person that conservationists need going against them.

These are the people who are key to saving many species.

Richie said...

Retreiverman - I looked up the law where this animal was shot (assumming it was Minnesota) and it is illegal in that state to hunt cougars/mountain lions/pumas.

That suggests there is no season to hunt them there.

Retrieverman said...

Nope. It was shot in Idaho, though reported in the Star-Tribune, which is the main paper of the Twin Cities.

The caption on the photo, if you got to the link, clearly says that it was killed "ID" (Idaho), which does have a legal cougar season.

The hunter is from Minnesota, which is why it is in a Minnesota paper.

There are a few cougars in MN, but not many.

Provided we use sound scientific management plans-- not emotions-- cougars are going to make a comeback throughout North America. And if cougars have healthy fear of people, then cougar-human conflicts will be less likely and we can truly have a full, sustainable recover.

Retrieverman said...


Idaho has strict regulations on cougars.

The fact that Idaho uses hound might upset some, but keep this in mind, cougars that don't fear dogs eat dogs.

In the days when these animals were widely hunted with packs, it was claimed that a toy poodle could put a cougar in tree, simply because the cats feared dogs above all others.




How pro-cougar would someone be if the cougar killed his or her dog?

If they are hunted with dogs, they learn to fear dogs. That's why we have virtually no coyote problems here. Foxhounds have been converted into coyote hounds, and although the dogs rarely kill them, they do teach the coyotes to stay away from dogs and people.

I used to be against hunting predators. Until I came across this book: http://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Russia-Anxiety-Through-Ages/dp/1550593323

Essentially, if we are to use Russia's problems with wolves as a guide, we may have to hunt predators so that we can live with them.

And wolves, in general, are very, very unlikely to attack people.

Retrieverman said...

I should finish by saying I'm not anti large predator.

I am very pro-predator. We need wolves and cougars in the ecosystem.

Richie said...

My bad..... I missed the ID.

COMan said...

You say that, but these things kill. Peoples pets, livestock, and people like you.