Oregon too heads for wildlife dark ages

In Idaho and Wyoming it’s wolves, but in Oregon the state legislature has focused on cougars (oh, they’ll do that in Idaho too, soon enough).

Here is the sad story as told by George Wuerthner. Oregon’s Cougar Slaughter: A Return to the Dark Ages. New West.

Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildfire is using the same tactics as the anti-wolf forces . . . Oh my God, you are going to be killed!

Will these people stop it!!? They tell us to fear terrorists, fear wildlife, keep the kids indoors because there is a sexual predator on every street corner, drug dealers are everywhere. So stay home, shut up, let us handle it.

Oh, and while you’re indoors, safe from exercise and fresh air, be sure to worry about getting fat.

Note: People asked if the governor of Oregon signed this into law. Yes he did. He is a Democrat, and he has also supported letting the timber industry kill thousands of bears because they damage young conifers on the tree farms of the Oregon timber industry.  

Update July 26: Wyoming wants to increase its cougar “harvest.” Jackson Hole News and Guide. State raises hunting pressure on Wyo. cats. Cougar Fund says Teton County hunting quotas are not based on science.







  1. Steve Avatar

    Will there ever be any good news?

  2. Kevin Avatar

    Any idea if the Oregon law will be signed by the governor?

  3. Jon Way Avatar

    Just amazing how the people that manage our wildlife are. I bet they have never even thought, hey maybe we shouldn’t allow hunting bordering national park lands (eg, Grand Teton) because people actually like to watch these animals and if they are killed people can’t watch them. Gee, why would you think of that?
    When will the day be that predators get the respect that dogs are now getting. I bet Mike Vick wished he killed cougars instead of fighting dogs.
    jon way

  4. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    Why are we paying these people????
    It doesn’t take a PHD to kill targeted wildlife.
    What a world we live in. Seems there is no end. Shame!
    How will our world ever recover from the Bushies???
    Why would anyone want the job after this cluster ****!
    You can’t trust any of them.

  5. jimbob Avatar

    Absolutely moronic with no scientific basis. We went through the same thing here in Arizona about 5 or 6 years ago. The Bighorn Sheep Society ( a hunting society that calls itself a “conservation organization”) began to villify cougars in the local media saying that Bighorn numbers were down due to excessive lion numbers. They then lobbied the Game and Fish Dept. to adopt a greater cougar kill quota to “increase Bighorn numbers”. Since they partnered in so many projects and funded so many things Game and Fish bent over backward to accommodate them. Several other “hunting organizations” joined in. At an open forum, I along with several conservation organizations and even Fish and Wildlife biologists spoke out against this proposal as the backwards “junk science” thinking that it is. Several of us pointed out the many factors that cause population decline that have nothing to do with predators, including the passing of disease from domestic sheep, which still share space to this day with these same bighorns! After reducing the cougar numbers there are no significant gains in the bighorn population. Now they are blaming the “drought”, habitat loss, and disease (ironically all factors that predators help control!) Interesting.

  6. Linda Hunter Avatar
    Linda Hunter

    at least it is refreshing to see an article like this published. Ralph thank you for your insightful comments as well. As a tracker I have noticed that cougar sightings in “town” happen when all the prey go to town because that’s where the vegetation is watered. . but when someone sees a cougar in town, immediately they assume it is because there are too many cougars in the backcountry. . . it is hard to find a cougar track in the backcountry now. .they all moved in with the deer (after all they can’t go to Safeway) so if they slaughter the cougars they can find – suddenly we will have NO cougars. And I always ask who could do the job a cougar does in keeping the herds healty, exercised and what would make life worth living to an ungulate if there were no cougars.

  7. elkhunter Avatar

    We have a quota here in UT for Lion harvest. Have been doin it for years, and my friends who chase cats say there is never a shortage of cats to chase. As for the AZ study with bighorns, I know they did the same thing here, they actually radio-collared cats, and if they killed more than 3 sheep in a 365 day period, they were killed. I have not read if that has had much of an impact, I do know that with bighorns, populations usually are just a couple hundred animals in a large region, so predation can have a huge impact on herds, especially if lots of lambs are killed. Its different with deer or elk where there are hundreds of thousands of them. As for the Bighorn Conservation groups, you should be very grateful for what they have done, without them you would have very little sheep to look at in the first place. Once again hunters doing alot more than just talk, putting their time and money where their mouths are. And all those factors that are mentioned obviously effect sheep populations, so if they are struggling from drought, competition from non-native species, etc. combined with predator stress you could see how a herd of 300 sheep could benefit from less predation by cougars? Just maybe. In fact Jimbob you should put forth some effort to reduce the amount of wild burro’s in the sheep’s habitat that were left behind by miners. They are everywhere!! And they compete with the sheep for food and water and habitat, I think that actually DOING something instead of complaining would have a better effect on the bighorn populations. And the bighorn groups are already lobbying to get those burro numbers reduced, you could help them.
    I wish sheep numbers would increase, I read a Lewis and Clark entry and he said that when he was in UT that there had to have been tens of thousands of wild sheep. That would be an impressive sight. Then we would not have to wait 20 years to obtain a tag!!

  8. be Avatar

    At the last IDFG open-hearing I attended there were a couple folk who called for more cat tags. It’ll be interesting to see how that developes…

  9. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    elk hunter,
    First, Lewis and Clark were two people so “he” never said “he” was in Utah.
    Second, Lewis and Clark never said “they” were in Utah because there was no Utah at that time.
    Third The Lewis and Clark Expedition was never even close to what is now Utah. The entry about sheep # was in regard to when the expedition was in what is now western Montana. And what is interesting is that all those big horn sheep in those numbers existed with cougars, wolves, bears, both black and grizzly, bobcat, lynx, coyotes, wolverines, and eagles.
    You are a truly interesting individual.

  10. elkhunter Avatar

    Jeff E, sorry I have not read intensely the writings of Lewis and Clark, I was just reading something on Bighorns somewhere and saw mention of it, I did not think to do an in-depth study of what happened, and thanks for pointing out to me that there was not a utah at that time, I was not aware! 🙂 Your entertaining. As for the populations of game I read somewhere that they were travelling through your great state of ID and almost starved to death for lack of game! I am sure you will have a wonderful excuse for that though. I will be entertained by your respnse. Also I read that overhunting by the early settlers was the main reason for the very low numbers of elk and sheep in UT. I am not an expert so dont take my word to the bank like it seems you want to, but that is what I read. But of course now we have lots of elk, and not very many sheep. Which from what I read, now bear in mind Jeff E. I am not an expert, but disease from domestic sheep and overhunting is the main reason that sheep have not had the comeback that elk have had in UT. And I would love them to come back, that would mean I could hunt sometime in the next 20 years. Once again Jeff E I am sorry I am not an expert in the travelings of bighorns, but I am sure there were alot more then than there is now. And from the evil Utah fish and game website they said unregulated hunting and disease was the main cause.

  11. elkhunter Avatar

    It was Father Escalante that I was reading about that said their were sheep everywhere, I can get the link for you if you want, so that you can immerse yourself in his words. Thanks

  12. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    So what your saying elkhunter is , according to your own state Fish & Game, predation by cougars or any other predator (besides humans) has any thing to do with low # of Big Horns in Utah.

  13. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    ….by the way elk hunter my daughter in Alaska didn’t draw on a subsistence moose hunt but we will be going after Dall Sheep with my brother -in-law and my daughter is allowed up to six deer, so we will be plenty busy. Now what do you think, should I buy a non-resident moose tag and hunt with my cousins out of Copper Center?

  14. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    I recently read an article about the bighorns in SW, WA and NE,OR, and the biologists stated the reason was disease from domestic sheep being aloud to graze in bighorn habitat. {hunting was not an issue} The bighorn were almost completely gone and numbers have just recently come up, because dom. sheep were not permitted near those areas. So now the sheep ranchers want to turn out their stock again. {until the bighorn almost disappear again}. But there are people working to keep the dom’s out for good .

  15. elkhunter Avatar

    Hunting was only an issue during the early settlement of UT. Jeff E, Moose hunt go for it, I would, Dall sheep hunts are very tough so I would get in shape if your not already. If it was just for meat I would not go, thats alot of work, but if you had the chance at a BIG bull i would, then you can give the meat to those that in need. Thats what I normally do. You should post some pictures of your sheep though. As far as the results of killing cougars that are preying on sheep I have not read up on it. But it would make sense if your losing %50 of your lambs in a herd with 250 sheep, for any reason, cougars or not, thats probably a big deal. So yes I would think that if your dealing with very small populations of sheep that predator control should be done to limit one more stress on them. And I agree with bailey, domestic sheep should no be allowed to graze near sheep habitat, and they should kill all non-native burro’s and goats in NV and AZ and NM that are competing with wild sheep for habitat.

  16. jimbob Avatar

    elkhunter you contradict yourself in your facts quite often. There were large numbers of all game hundreds of years ago. Do you know how they disappeared? That’s right–hunters (with help from over-grazers)! As for me doing “doing something” I thought I did by speaking up against stupidity!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan