Caturday Big Cat Blog

An interesting blog in Backpacker-

One especially relevant passage . . . “When you feed pets outside in a rural setting, other things often show up for dinner.”

Caturday Big Cat Blog. By Steve Howe. Backpacker.





  1. Virginia Avatar

    Cool story. The only cougar I have seen walked around a corner casually and down a road across from an A&W drive inn where my mother and I were eating lunch about 30 years ago. He quietly went out of sight and no one believed us when we told them what we had seen. It was awesome and I will never forget it. We have come upon kills that we were pretty sure were cougar kills in the mountains, but haven’t seen them. Hope to get lucky again before I die.

    1. paulWTAMU Avatar

      Was that in Idaho Springs Colorado by any chance?

  2. jdubya Avatar

    We had a nice big cougar walk by our front door after a deep snow about a month ago. I don’t think he/she was looking for pet food as much as for the pet itself.

  3. paulWTAMU Avatar

    I love and fear big cats. I grew up in cougar country, and well, yeah they’re cool 🙂 They can also be rather intimidating. The elementary school I attended was in a remote area, and they wound up shooting a cougar on the playground once (this was after I left–apparently they’d been finding track and sign on the playground). Also had one leave a dead deer on the field at the high school I went to once…life in cougar country, it’s a trip at times! Amazing cats though, I hope the comeback they’ve been having keeps on happening. Yeah, they introduce an element of risk, but it’s pretty manageable.

    Oh, the blogs author is right about the gun to; the cougar you see isn’t the one to worry about!

  4. frank Avatar

    Generally, the cougar that you don’t have to worry about is the one where the cougar does not live in that state, like most places east of the Mississippi.

    1. paulWTAMU Avatar

      Eh, they’re not *that* dangerous. If they were, Colorado would be uninhabited. There’ve been what, a dozen real cougar attacks there since the 1980s? Scott back at my high school, a child in RMNP, I think there was a fatality at Chatfield State Park, and a few non fatal attacks. They’re not unheard of, but I felt safer in my rural county than I did in Denver 😉 What’s needed is a realization that they are dangerous, we will need to kill and haze them occasionally, and that they’re still worth having despite that. Rural residents (and I speak as one who grew up rural) need to learn to manage their risk intelligently, but wildlife advocates need to realize as well that yes, these *are* potentially dangerous and sometimes, individual cats (or bears, and eventually probably wolves) need to be shot if they start getting too aggressive towards humans. Still, a dozen attacks in 20 years, versus how many murders in Denver in any given year? Yeah, I’ll take the risk of having cats around 😉

      1. frank Avatar

        Paul, I agree. I was joking about the people that believe that they inhabit every state. I have no worries about them whatsoever.

        1. paulWTAMU Avatar

          Gotcha 😉 I think they’re probably present in more states than people think, just because they’re *so* dang reclusive and hard to find. Heck, people didn’t think they were in the Texas panhandle, but there’s one that’s been spotted at an oil refinery my father in law works at near the N.M/TX border. But having a loner is a far cry from a breeding, self sustaining population.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Cougar are mildly dangerous, but if a wolf even bites a person you can bet the human howl will be far greater than with the lethal cougar attack.

    1. Hoosier Avatar


      Why do you think that is the case? My thought would be that wolves are more visable and many people can relate to them. I recently watched the wolf broadcast on the Idaho news and one interesting number comes to mind. Someone mentioned that Idaho has an estimated cat population of 3000.

      How are we so good at counting cats, but in the same breath lacking with wolf counts? The same cast stated the 846 (or close to that) population of wolves was a minimum!! How then is it that we are able to put a much higher number on a more elusive creature? (Sounds like someone isn’t telling the whole truth.)

      Many of the wolf defenders seem to counterbalance their arguement if they use these numbers as I think Susan mentioned or made comment to.

      I might also go as far to say the many outfitters can’t wait for a chance at a guided wolf hunt. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Especially if the wolves in the area are driving out the elk herd or one such section. What is also rather unique about this such “crap” is that Lamar has elk and wolves there year round. The elk travel where the food is and if preditors are near they move to a safe area. Well, if I am sitting in the woods hunting and an elk winds me guess what THEY MOVE! How stupid to say wolves are scaring off my elk…its nature, its wild, and it happens. Many outfitters are only complaining b/c that can’t just stop at their “honeyhole” and get the big one. Its like now they have to work a bit harder and they can’t make as much $. Besides could it be that the reason outfitters are assigned to an area is not to overcrowd certain zones?

      We all better starting looking a plan that helps the wolves and elk not just us!


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