December 9, 2023

Oregon Group Threatens to Stop Cougar Hunts

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The state of Oregon is moving forward on a revised cougar management plan that would ease some restrictions and allow for hunters to be able to take more cougars. The goal is to reduce the population numbers back to more managable numbers. Currently population estimates of the cougar run around 5,100. Officials would like to see that number dropped to around 3,100.

But not everyone in the state thinks this is a good idea. A group called Predator Defense is threatening the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, that if it approves the revised plan, they will mount a campaign to stop the hunt.

Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense says his group will form a political action committee, build up a war chest and file an initiative. Fahy says his group is furious.

Fahy is also accusing the DFW of using old and outdated data in making a determination to alter the cougar management plan. He says that the DFW decided that it wanted to make the hunters happy, so they dug up old out-of-date information to use to bolster their initiative. Fahy has asked Gov. Ted Kulongoski to begin an immediate independent investigation into the management practices of the DFW.

The Governor refused to start an investigation telling Fahy that he welcomes discussion on the topic of cougar hunting but that his discussion should be directed at the seven members of the Oregon Fish and Wild Commission.

Ron Anglin, a DFW administrator, says he believes the plan is sound and based on current facts and data. He did go on to explain that old data has also been reviewed and is available for public view. This data includes complaints filed by citizens and landowners about nuisance reports of cougars.

The revised plan mostly calls for increased hunting opportunities in areas adjacent to populations of humans where most of the complaints and damage from cougars come from.

The Oregon Hunters Association supports the revised plan. Duane Dungannon, a spokesman for the OHA says he wants hunters to have more lee-way to hunt the cougar in an effort to control populations and damage. He would like to see the ban on hunting cougars with hounds lifted.

Dungannon also says that he thinks Fahy is way out of touch with the mainstream of Oregon residents who believe that there are more than enough cougars to go around. He believes Fahy’s only agenda is to stop hunting of cougars and any animals completely.

Tom Remington