It used to take a pack of hounds and a special permit to hunt cougars in Oregon. And then running cougars became illegal. After that cougar numbers surged and the state had to figure out new ways to manage the population. Now all you need to do is add a tag to your regular deer or elk license, and you can legally take a trophy cat from your deer stand.
With the new law, over 34,000 tags were issued this past season. As a result, a record 241 cougars were shot. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, more than 90 percent of the cougars killed were at the hands of deer or elk hunters. It’s the new face of predator hunting.
Many of the successful hunters said they were simply hunting big game when they happened upon a cougar. Under the old laws, these hunters would have had to steer clear but now the option to shoot is there and most did. Time will tell if this is an effective cougar management option.