No Country for Old Cougars

When Bron the cougar got old enough to live on his own, he faced the same threat as all male cougars: His father essentially told him to find his own turf—or else. Rather than risk getting killed by his territorial dad, Bron (a nickname given by the researchers who tracked him) set out from his home near Cle Elum, Washington, in search of a place of his own. This was no easy task in an era when much of the prime habitat is occupied by people or other cougars.

As this chart of Bron’s travels shows, he first wandered more than 160 kilometers south, following the crest of the Cascade Range and stopping periodically to feed on deer. Ending up near the Oregon border, Bron apparently didn’t like the open country where he found himself, because he turned around and headed back toward a more-heavily forested area southeast of Mount St. Helens.

Bron was still too young to compete with an older male, but he found a small home range where he could hide out and wait for a larger territory to open up, says Gary Koehler, a research scientist at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife who has studied Bron and other cougars in partnership with Wielgus and his students. Bron never made it to adulthood, though. Less than five months after the cat settled in his new home, a hunter shot Bron and turned in his GPS collar, which contained a record of the cat’s journey. ❧

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bron map No Country for Old Cougars

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5 Comments

  • Stanley Jones-Umberger December 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I strongly object to the term “Harvest by Hunter”. I never hear that term applied to human prey. Shot, killed, murdered are more accurate. Conservation Magazine will be around until there is nothing left because you make no effort to change attitudes.

    Reply

  • Cassie Cox December 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    I agree with the above said statement by Mr. Jones-Umberger, but I think you all understand that the people that are doing the hunting are human as well. No one wants to be seen as a murderer and sometimes feel that they are protecting their property, livestock, pets, and family by ridding the animal. You would definitely turn these people away by name-calling and pointing the finger. We would rather them listen to what we have to say and encourage them to become educated on matters before we can expect any change. In Texas mountain lions, as we call them, are considered a predator species and require no permits to hunt. Therefore we have to come up with reasons why these animals don’t have to be killed.

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  • Pat Cuviello April 14, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I agree with Stanley Jones-Umberger that the term “harvest” is an inappropriate term to use for killing mountain lions, or any other animal. “Harvest” is a euphemism meant only to soften the brutal act of killing. Until we stop using the euphemisms of those who would kill every last individual of a given specie we will not be able to convince others that killing off individuals, and species, is brutal and detrimental to their specie and ours.

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  • Jim C. December 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    I wonder if soulless trophy hunters would volunteer to be “harvested” when they reach retirement age? Probably not.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

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  • Bob M April 23, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Perfect example of an animal tending to its own business being killed for ‘sport’. Washington State collected a whopping $10 license tag from the hunter that gave him the right to kill the cat. The loss of eco-system services will bear on the rest of us.

    The verb ‘harvest’ was first used in 1947 to refer to the killing of wild animals. For the previous 500 years it referred to agricultural products.

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