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Proceedings of the Seventh Mountain Lion Workshop

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PROCEEDINGS OF THE<br />

SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

15-17 MAY 2003 • THE VIRGINIAN LODGE • JACKSON, WYOMING<br />

Editors:<br />

Scott A. Becker<br />

Daniel D. Bjornlie<br />

Fred G. Lindzey<br />

David S. Moody<br />

Organizing Committee<br />

Scott Becker Ron Grogan<br />

Dan Bjornlie Fred Lindzey<br />

Tom Easterly Dave Moody<br />

Sponsored By:<br />

The Wyoming Chapter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Wildlife Society<br />

Wyoming Game and Fish Department<br />

Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit<br />

© 2003<br />

Wyoming Game and Fish Department<br />

260 Buena Vista<br />

Lander, Wyoming 82520


Suggested Citation Formats<br />

Entire Volume:<br />

Becker, S.A., D.D. Bjornlie, F.G. Lindzey, and D.S. Moody. eds. 2003. <strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong>. Lander, Wyoming.<br />

For individual papers:<br />

Author’s name(s). 2003. Title <strong>of</strong> Paper. Pages 00-00 in S.A. Becker, D.D. Bjornlie, F.G.<br />

Lindzey, and D.S. Moody, eds. <strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong>.<br />

Lander, Wyoming.<br />

Purchasing Additional Copies <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Proceedings</strong><br />

Please send a check made out to “Wyoming Chapter, TWS” for <strong>the</strong> amount <strong>of</strong> fifteen (15) US<br />

dollars to Tim Thomas, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, PO Box 6249, Sheridan, WY<br />

82801, USA; phone: (307) 672-7418; email: Tim.Thomas@wgf.state.wy.us. Information on<br />

different purchasing options may also be made through Tim.


TABLE OF CONTENTS<br />

Preface....................................................................................................................................................................vii<br />

In Memory<br />

Ian Ross ............................................................................................................................................................. viii<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Status Reports<br />

Session Chair: Dave Moody, Wyoming Game and Fish Department<br />

STATUS OF MOUNTAIN LION POPULATIONS IN ARIZONA<br />

Brian F. Wakeling ....................................................................................................................................................1<br />

CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

Doug Updike............................................................................................................................................................6<br />

COLORADO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

Jerry Apker.............................................................................................................................................................14<br />

FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION STATUS REPORT<br />

Mark Lotz and E. Darrell Land ..............................................................................................................................18<br />

IDAHO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

Steve Nadeau..........................................................................................................................................................25<br />

MONTANA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

Rich DeSimone and Rose Jaffe..............................................................................................................................29<br />

NEVADA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

Russell Woolstenhulme..........................................................................................................................................31<br />

NEW MEXICO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

Rick Winslow.........................................................................................................................................................39<br />

STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

Mike Kintigh ..........................................................................................................................................................43<br />

MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT FOR TEXAS<br />

John Young ............................................................................................................................................................49<br />

UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

Craig R. McLaughlin .............................................................................................................................................51<br />

WASHINGTON COUGAR STATUS REPORT<br />

Richard A. Beausoleil, Donald A. Martorello, and Rocky D. Spencer..................................................................60<br />

WYOMING MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

Scott A. Becker, Daniel D. Bjornlie, and David S. Moody....................................................................................64<br />

CRYPTIC COUGARS – PERSPECTIVES ON THE PUMA IN THE EASTERN, MIDWESTERN, AND GREAT PLAINS<br />

REGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA<br />

Jay W. Tischendorf ................................................................................................................................................71<br />

MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT: BRITISH COLUMBIA – Abstract<br />

Matt Austin ............................................................................................................................................................87<br />

IMPROVING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF MOUNTAIN LION MANAGEMENT TRENDS: THE VALUE OF CONSISTENT<br />

MULTI-STATE RECORD KEEPING - Abstract<br />

Christopher M. Papouchis and Lynn Michelle Cullens .........................................................................................88<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Interactions with Humans and Livestock<br />

Session Chair: Kenneth Logan, Colorado Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife<br />

iii


LESSENING THE IMPACT OF A PUMA ATTACK ON A HUMAN<br />

E. Lee Fitzhugh, Sabine Schmid-Holmes, Marc W. Kenyon, and Kathy Etling ...................................................89<br />

A CONCEPTUAL MODEL AND APPRAISAL OF EXISTING RESEARCH RELATED TO INTERACTIONS BETWEEN<br />

HUMANS AND PUMAS – Abstract<br />

David J. Mattson, Jan V. Hart, Paul Beier, and Jesse Millen-Johnson ................................................................104<br />

RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LAND TENURE SYSTEM, MOUNTAIN LION PROTECTION STATUS, AND LIVESTOCK<br />

DEPREDATION RATE – Abstract<br />

Marcelo Mazzolli .................................................................................................................................................105<br />

MOUNTAIN LION MOVEMENTS AND PERSISTENCE IN A FRAGMENTED, URBAN LANDSCAPE IN SOUTHERN<br />

CALIFORNIA – Abstract<br />

Seth P.D. Riley, Raymond M. Sauvajot, and Eric C. York..................................................................................106<br />

PUMA RESPONSES TO CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH RESEARCHERS – Abstract<br />

Linda L. Sweanor, Kenneth A. Logan, and Maurice G. Hornocker ....................................................................107<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Genetics and Disease<br />

Session Chair: Deedra Hawk, Wyoming Game and Fish Department<br />

PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF FLORIDA PANTHER GENETIC ANALYSES – Abstract<br />

Warren E. Johnson, Darrell Land, Jan Mortenson, Melody Roelke-Parker, and Stephen J. O’Brien..................108<br />

GENETIC STRUCTURE OF COUGAR POPULATIONS ACROSS THE WYOMING BASIN: METAPOPULATION OR<br />

MEGAPOPULATION – Abstract<br />

Chuck R. Anderson, Jr., Fred G. Lindzey, and Dave B. McDonald ....................................................................109<br />

ECOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE AND EVOLUTION OF A COMMON COUGAR RETROVIRUS – Abstract<br />

Roman Biek and Mary Poss.................................................................................................................................110<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Ecology<br />

Session Chair: Fred Lindzey, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit<br />

CHARACTERISTICS OF MOUNTAIN LION BED, CACHE AND KILL SITES IN NORTHEASTERN OREGON<br />

James J. Akenson, M. Cathy Nowak, Mark G. Henjum, and Gary W. Witmer...................................................111<br />

IMPACT OF EDGE HABITAT ON HOME RANGE SIZE IN PUMAS – Abstract<br />

John W. Laundré and Lucina Hernández.............................................................................................................119<br />

EFFECT OF ROADS ON HABITAT USE BY COUGARS – Abstract<br />

Dorothy M. Fecske, Jonathan A. Jenks, Frederick G. Lindzey, and Steven L. Griffin........................................120<br />

ECOLOGY OF SYMPATRIC PUMAS AND JAGUARS IN NORTHWESTERN MEXICO – Abstract<br />

Carlos A. Lopez Gonzalez and Samia E. Carrillo Percastegui.............................................................................121<br />

COUGAR ECOLOGY AND COUGAR-WOLF INTERACTIONS IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: A GUILD<br />

APPROACH TO LARGE CARNIVORE CONSERVATION – Abstract<br />

Toni K. Ruth, Polly C. Buotte, Howard B. Quigley, and Maurice G. Hornocker................................................122<br />

EVALUATION OF HABITAT FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE ABUNDANCE OF PUMAS IN THE CHIHUAHUAN<br />

DESERT – Abstract<br />

Joel Loredo Salazar, Lucina Hernández, and John W. Laundré ..........................................................................123<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong>/Prey Dynamics<br />

Session Chair: Steve Cain, Grand Teton National Park<br />

ARE PUMAS OPPORTUNISTIC SCAVENGERS? – Abstract<br />

Jim W. Bauer, Kenneth A. Logan, Linda L. Sweanor, and Walter M. Boyce .....................................................124<br />

COUGAR-INDUCED INDIRECT EFFECTS: DOES THE RISK OF PREDATION INFLUENCE UNGULATE FORAGING<br />

BEHAVIOR ON THE NATIONAL BISON RANGE? – Abstract<br />

David M. Choate, Gary E. Belovsky, and Michael L. Wolfe ..............................................................................125<br />

iv


COUGAR PREDATION ON PREY IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: A PRELIMINARY COMPARISON PRE- AND<br />

POST-WOLF REESTABLISHMENT – Abstract<br />

Toni K. Ruth, Polly C. Buotte, Kerry M. Murphy, and Maurice G. Hornocker ..................................................126<br />

FOUR DECADES OF COUGAR-UNGULATE DYNAMICS IN THE CENTRAL IDAHO WILDERNESS – Abstract<br />

Holly A. Akenson, James J. Akenson, Howard B. Quigley, and Maurice G. Hornocker....................................127<br />

COUGAR TOTAL PREDATION RESPONSE TO DIFFERING PREY DENSITIES: A PROPOSED EXPERIMENT TO TEST<br />

THE APPARENT COMPETITION HYPOTHESIS – Abstract<br />

Hugh Robinson, Robert Wielgus, Hilary Cruickshank, and Ca<strong>the</strong>rine Lambert .................................................128<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Population Monitoring and Management<br />

Session Chair: Kerry Murphy, Yellowstone National Park<br />

CHARACTERISTICS OF COUGAR HARVEST WITH AND WITHOUT THE USE OF DOGS<br />

Donald A. Martorello and Richard A. Beausoleil................................................................................................129<br />

RESPONSE BY THREE LARGE CARNIVORES TO RECREATIONAL BIG GAME HUNTING ALONG THE YELLOWSTONE<br />

NATIONAL PARK AND ABSAROKA-BEARTOOTH WILDERNESS BOUNDARY – Presentation Only<br />

Howard B. Quigley, Toni K. Ruth, Douglas W. Smith, Mark A. Haroldson, Polly C. Buotte, Charles C.<br />

Schwartz, Steve Cherry, Kerry M. Murphy, Dan Tyers, and Kevin Frey<br />

DEFINING AND DELINEATING DE FACTO REFUGIA: A PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF THE SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION<br />

OF COUGAR HARVEST IN UTAH AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CONSERVATION – Abstract<br />

David C. Stoner and Michael L. Wolfe................................................................................................................136<br />

MONITORING CHANGES IN COUGAR SEX/AGE STRUCTURE WITH CHANGES IN ABUNDANCE AS AN INDEX TO<br />

POPULATION TREND – Abstract<br />

Chuck R. Anderson, Jr. and Fred G. Lindzey ......................................................................................................137<br />

MANAGEMENT OF COUGARS (Puma concolor) IN THE WESTERN UNITED STATES – Abstract<br />

Deanna Dawn, Michael Kutilek, Rich Hopkins, Sulehka Anand, and Steve Torres ...........................................138<br />

DYNAMICS AND VIABILITY OF A COUGAR POPULATION IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST – Abstract<br />

Ca<strong>the</strong>rine Lambert, Robert B. Wielgus, Hugh S. Robinson, Donald D. Katnik, Hilary Cruickshank, and<br />

Ross Clarke ..........................................................................................................................................................139<br />

PROJECT CAT (COUGARS AND TEACHING): INTEGRATING SCIENCE, SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY IN<br />

DEVELOPMENT PLANNING – Abstract<br />

Gary M. Koehler and Evelyn Nelson...................................................................................................................140<br />

MONITORING MOUNTAIN LIONS IN THE TUCSON MOUNTAIN DISTRICT OF SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK,<br />

ARIZONA, USING NONINVASIVE TECHNIQUES – Abstract<br />

Lisa Haynes, Don Swann, and Melanie Culver ...................................................................................................141<br />

ESTIMATING COUGAR ABUNDANCE USING PROBABILITY SAMPLING: AN EVALUATION OF TRANSECT VERSUS<br />

BLOCK DESIGN – Abstract<br />

Chuck R. Anderson, Jr., Fred G. Lindzey, and Nate Nibbelink...........................................................................142<br />

EVALUATING MOUNTAIN LION MONITORING TECHNIQUES IN THE GARNET MOUNTAINS OF WEST CENTRAL<br />

MONTANA – Abstract<br />

Rich DeSimone ....................................................................................................................................................143<br />

PRESENCE AND MOVEMENTS OF LACTATING AND MATERNAL FEMALE COUGARS: IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE<br />

HUNTING REGULATIONS – Abstract<br />

Toni K. Ruth, Kerry M. Murphy, and Polly C. Buotte ........................................................................................144<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Conservation<br />

Session Chair: Christopher Papouchis, <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Foundation<br />

MYSTERY, MYTH AND LEGEND: THE POLITICS OF COUGAR MANAGEMENT IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM –<br />

Abstract<br />

Rick A. Hopkins...................................................................................................................................................145<br />

v


RECONCILING SCIENCE AND POLITICS IN PUMA MANAGEMENT IN THE WEST: NEW MEXICO AS A TEMPLATE<br />

– Abstract<br />

Kenneth A. Logan, Linda L. Sweanor, and Maurice G. Hornocker ....................................................................146<br />

COMMUNITY-BASED CONSERVATION OF MOUNTAIN LIONS – Abstract<br />

Lynn Michelle Cullens and Christopher Papouchis.............................................................................................147<br />

PUMA MANAGEMENT IN WESTERN NORTH AMERICA: A 100-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE – Abstract<br />

Steven Torres, Hea<strong>the</strong>r Keough, and Deanna Dawn............................................................................................148<br />

USING COUGARS TO DESIGN A WILDERNESS NETWORK IN CALIFORNIA’S SOUTH COAST ECOREGION – Abstract<br />

Paul Beier and Kristeen Penrod ...........................................................................................................................149<br />

MOUNTAIN LIONS AND BIGHORN SHEEP: FACING THE CHALLENGES – Abstract<br />

Christopher M. Papouchis and John D. Wehausen ..............................................................................................150<br />

POSTER PRESENTATIONS<br />

Session Chair: Scott Becker, Wyoming Game and Fish Department<br />

FACTORS AFFECTING DISPERSAL IN YOUNG MALE PUMAS<br />

John W. Laundré and Lucina Hernández.............................................................................................................151<br />

COUGAR EXPLOITATION LEVELS AND LANDSCAPE CONFIGURATIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR DEMOGRAPHIC<br />

STRUCTURE AND METAPOPULATION DYNAMICS – Abstract<br />

David C. Stoner and Michael L. Wolfe................................................................................................................161<br />

ASSESSING GPS RADIOTELEMETRY RELIABILITY IN COUGAR HABITAT – Abstract<br />

Trish Griswold, James Briggs, Gary Koehler, and Students at Cle Elum-Roslyn School District ......................162<br />

USING GPS COLLARS TO DETERMINE COUGAR KILL RATES, ESTIMATE HOME RANGES, AND EXAMINE<br />

COUGAR-COUGAR INTERACTIONS –Abstract<br />

Polly C. Buotte and Toni K. Ruth ........................................................................................................................163<br />

FUNCTIONAL RESPONSE OF COUGARS AND PREY AVAILABILITY IN NORTHEASTERN WASHINGTON – Abstract<br />

Hilary S. Cruickshank, Hugh S. Robinson, Ca<strong>the</strong>rine Lambert, Robert B. Wielgus ...........................................164<br />

WHAT DOES TEN YEARS (1993-2002) OF MOUNTAIN LION OBSERVATION DATA REVEAL ABOUT MOUNTAIN<br />

LION-HUMAN INTERACTIONS WITHIN REDWOOD NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS – Abstract<br />

Gregory W. Holm ................................................................................................................................................165<br />

DEPREDATION TRENDS IN CALIFORNIA – Abstract<br />

Sarah Reed, Christopher M. Papouchis, and Lynn Michelle Cullens ..................................................................166<br />

THE DISTRIBUTION OF PERCEIVED ENCOUNTERS WITH NON-NATIVE CATS IN SOUTH AND WEST WALES, UK:<br />

RELATIONSHIP TO MODELED HABITAT SUITABILITY – Abstract<br />

A.B. Smith, F.E. Street Perrott, and T. Hooper....................................................................................................167<br />

PUMA ACTIVITY AND MOVEMENTS IN A HUMAN-DOMINATED LANDSCAPE: CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE<br />

PARK AND ADJACENT LANDS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – Abstract<br />

Linda L. Sweanor, Kenneth A. Logan, Jim W. Bauer, and Walter M. Boyce .....................................................168<br />

MODELING OFFSPRING SEX RATIOS AND GROWTH OF COUGARS – Abstract<br />

Diana M. Ghikas, Martin Jalkotzy, Ian Ross, Ralph Schmidt, and Shane A. Richards .......................................169<br />

MOUNTAIN LION SURVEY TECHNIQUES IN NORTHERN IDAHO: A THREE-FOLD APPROACH – Abstract<br />

Craig G. White, Peter Zager, and Lisette Waits...................................................................................................170<br />

MOUNTAIN LIONS IN SOUTH DAKOTA: RESULTS OF A 2002 PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY – Abstract<br />

Larry M. Gigliotti, Dorothy M. Fecske, and Jonathan A. Jenks ..........................................................................171<br />

CRITICAL COUGAR CROSSING AND BAY AREA REGIONAL PLANNING – Abstract<br />

Michele Korpos....................................................................................................................................................172<br />

List <strong>of</strong> Participants............................................................................................................................................173<br />

vi


PREFACE<br />

vii<br />

PREFACE<br />

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department took great pride in hosting <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong><br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong>, which was held in conjunction with <strong>the</strong> Thirty-Ninth North American<br />

Moose Conference and <strong>Workshop</strong> and <strong>the</strong> Fifth Western States and Provinces Deer and Elk<br />

<strong>Workshop</strong>. More than 190 people attended <strong>the</strong> mountain lion workshop representing 27 states, 3<br />

Canadian provinces, Mexico, Brazil, and <strong>the</strong> United Kingdom. Numerous state and federal<br />

agencies, tribal nations, private organizations, academia, and members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> general public were<br />

represented which attest to <strong>the</strong> varied and growing interest in mountain lions throughout North<br />

and South America.<br />

This workshop would not have been a success without <strong>the</strong> aid and cooperation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

contributors and participants. Financial support, equipment, and manpower provided by <strong>the</strong><br />

Wyoming Chapter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Wildlife Society, <strong>the</strong> Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and <strong>the</strong><br />

Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Wyoming made this<br />

workshop possible. A special thanks goes to <strong>the</strong> members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> organizing committee for <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

aid with all aspects <strong>of</strong> pre- and post-workshop activities, to <strong>the</strong> session chairs for keeping <strong>the</strong><br />

workshop moving in a timely fashion, and to <strong>the</strong> invited speakers who gave thoughtful insight<br />

into past, present, and future mountain lion management practices and research techniques.<br />

Many thanks to <strong>the</strong> Western Association <strong>of</strong> Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) for<br />

sanctioning <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong>; from this point forward, all mountain lion<br />

workshops will be sanctioned by WAFWA.<br />

Finally, we would like to thank all <strong>the</strong> presenters in <strong>the</strong> oral and poster sessions for <strong>the</strong><br />

depth <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir research and <strong>the</strong> quality <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir presentations. As a result <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> efforts you all put<br />

forth, a standard has been set for presentations at future mountain lion workshops. Keep up <strong>the</strong><br />

great work!<br />

Scott Becker and Dave Moody<br />

<strong>Workshop</strong> Co-Chairs


IN MEMORY<br />

P. Ian Ross<br />

Born December 16, 1958 in Goderich, Ontario.<br />

Died June 29, 2003, age 44, near Nanyuki, Kenya.<br />

Ian was a true outdoorsman from <strong>the</strong> beginning, running a trapline while in high school in<br />

sou<strong>the</strong>rn Ontario. After graduating from <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Guelph (1982), his first experiences<br />

with grizzly bears came in northwestern Alberta, where he studied <strong>the</strong> impacts <strong>of</strong> industrial<br />

development. It was <strong>the</strong> beginning <strong>of</strong> an illustrious 20-year career conducting research on large<br />

mammals in western Canada.<br />

He worked on cougars in southwestern Alberta from <strong>the</strong> early 1980’s until 1994. That project<br />

became one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> longest running research projects on Puma concolor in North America. The<br />

cougar project received national recognition on radio and television and Ian used that attention to<br />

foster a thoughtful and effective wildlife conservation message. He participated in <strong>the</strong> drafting<br />

<strong>of</strong> a management plan for cougars in Alberta as well as a conservation strategy for large<br />

carnivores in Canada. He was <strong>the</strong> senior author on 9 papers in peer-reviewed journals in<br />

addition to many o<strong>the</strong>r technical reports and popular articles.<br />

After <strong>the</strong> cougar project wrapped up, Ian conducted environmental impact studies in western and<br />

nor<strong>the</strong>rn Canada. He recently rewrote <strong>the</strong> grizzly bear status report for COSEWIC. He also<br />

worked tirelessly with The Wildlife Society-Alberta Chapter dealing with wildlife conservation<br />

issues. He served as President <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Chapter in 1997. Ian also continued to capture wildlife,<br />

including grizzly bears, for research projects, and in doing so assisted many graduate students<br />

with <strong>the</strong>ir research. He conducted his capture work using an exacting pr<strong>of</strong>essional approach<br />

while retaining an empathy for <strong>the</strong> wildlife he was pursuing. He cared for each individual and<br />

did his utmost to conduct captures in a humane manner.<br />

Ian was a committed and emotional friend and family man. Having no children <strong>of</strong> his own he<br />

was a hero to his young nieces, nephews and children <strong>of</strong> friends. He always remembered<br />

everyone’s birthdays. He hiked <strong>the</strong> foothills <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rockies west <strong>of</strong> Calgary, as well as <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

desert southwest, <strong>the</strong> Canadian Arctic, Mexico and Africa. He loved to hunt and his dinner table<br />

was a testiment to his hunting prowess. His conservation ethic permeated all <strong>of</strong> his life. He did<br />

not consume needlessly and he encouraged all <strong>of</strong> us to do <strong>the</strong> same.<br />

In January 2003, Ian returned to field research when he joined Dr. Laurence Frank on <strong>the</strong><br />

Liakipia Predator Project, a project designed to find ways to allow for <strong>the</strong> coexistence <strong>of</strong> hyenas,<br />

lions, and leopards and people in <strong>the</strong> agricultural matrix that exists outside national parks in most<br />

<strong>of</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn Africa. Two days before his death he was on top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world having collared his<br />

first leopard. On <strong>the</strong> evening he died Ian was tracking a radio-collared lion from a light aircraft.<br />

Searchers located its wreckage <strong>the</strong> next morning. Ian Ross died at <strong>the</strong> peak <strong>of</strong> his career, doing<br />

what he loved.<br />

By<br />

Martin Jalkotzy<br />

Arc Wildlife Services<br />

3527 - 35 Ave. SW<br />

Calgary, AB, T3E 1A2, Canada<br />

viii


ix<br />

IN MEMORY


STATUS OF MOUNTAIN LION POPULATIONS IN ARIZONA<br />

BRIAN F. WAKELING, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Game Branch, 2221 West<br />

Greenway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85023 USA<br />

Abstract: Arizona's mountain lion (Puma concolor) population numbers about 1,000-2,500 animals, and just over<br />

350 mountain lions were harvested through sport and depredation take in 5 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> last 6 years. Arizona bag limit is 1<br />

lion per person per year annually, except in a few units where multiple bag limits have been implemented; no<br />

multiple bag limit has been reached to date. Management for this big game animal is guided by strategic plan,<br />

species management guidelines, hunt guidelines, and a predation management policy. Management is currently<br />

under review by an internal team that is examining several predator species, including mountain lions. The internal<br />

review should be complete by <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 2003. Public safety incident reports have increased substantially since<br />

1998.<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion populations within<br />

Arizona remain robust and are currently<br />

estimated at 1,000-2,500 despite a prolonged<br />

drought throughout <strong>the</strong> southwestern United<br />

States. Portions <strong>of</strong> Arizona have received<br />

record low precipitation during 2002, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> decade <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1990s was <strong>the</strong> driest on<br />

records for several portions <strong>of</strong> Arizona.<br />

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus)<br />

populations have declined, and in 2003 <strong>the</strong><br />

Arizona Game and Fish Commission<br />

authorized <strong>the</strong> lowest number <strong>of</strong> permits for<br />

deer hunting since <strong>the</strong> limited-draw permit<br />

system was established in Arizona.<br />

Figure 1. Arizona mountain lion harvest<br />

trends excluding tribal lands, 1984-2002.<br />

1<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion harvest has remained high, as<br />

annual statewide harvests have exceeded our<br />

strategic plan objectives (Arizona Game and<br />

Fish Department 2001) in 5 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> last 6<br />

years (Figure 1).<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions are classified as big<br />

game by Arizona statute. Commission order<br />

has established <strong>the</strong> bag limit at 1 mountain<br />

lion per year, except in a few units.<br />

Successful hunters are required to report<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir harvest within 10 days and answer a<br />

series <strong>of</strong> standard questions. Beginning in<br />

July 2003, hunters will be asked to<br />

voluntarily provide a tooth, which may be<br />

used to estimate age through cementum<br />

annuli and determine gender using genetic<br />

techniques. The Department is investigating<br />

making <strong>the</strong> tooth submission mandatory.<br />

The management objectives for this species,<br />

as well as all big game species, are outlined<br />

in <strong>the</strong> agency strategic plan, Wildlife 2006<br />

(Arizona Game and Fish Department 2001)<br />

and species management guidelines. The<br />

strategic plan goals, objectives, and speciesspecific<br />

strategies for mountain lion<br />

management, that include:<br />

Objectives<br />

1. Maintain annual harvest at 250 to 300<br />

mountain lions (including depredation


2 STATUS OF MOUNTAIN LION POPULATIONS IN ARIZONA · Wakeling<br />

take).<br />

2. Provide recreational opportunity for<br />

3,000 to 6,000 hunters per year.<br />

3. Maintain existing occupied habitat and<br />

maintain <strong>the</strong> present range <strong>of</strong> mountain<br />

lions in Arizona.<br />

Species-Specific Strategies<br />

1. Maintain a complete database from all<br />

harvest sources, through a mandatory<br />

check-out system, including age, sex,<br />

kill location, etc. to index population<br />

trend.<br />

2. Conduct a hunter questionnaire<br />

biannually.<br />

3. Evaluate <strong>the</strong> management implications<br />

<strong>of</strong> population and relative density<br />

estimates.<br />

4. Implement hunt structures to increase<br />

and direct harvest emphasis toward<br />

areas with high lion populations, and<br />

where depredation complaints are<br />

substantiated, and evaluate <strong>the</strong><br />

effectiveness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se efforts.<br />

5. Determine population numbers and<br />

characteristics on a hunt-area basis.<br />

6. Increase public awareness <strong>of</strong> mountain<br />

lions and <strong>the</strong>ir habits, to reduce<br />

conflicts with humans.<br />

7. Implement <strong>the</strong> Department’s Predation<br />

Management Policy.<br />

In addition, management direction is<br />

provided by species management guidelines<br />

and hunt guidelines. In October 2000, <strong>the</strong><br />

Arizona Game and Fish Commission<br />

approved <strong>the</strong> predation management policy<br />

that provides <strong>the</strong> agency guidance as to<br />

when and how to engage in predation<br />

management.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion management has changed<br />

as a direct result <strong>of</strong> biological investigations<br />

into predation effects. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion<br />

predation is being documented as a factor<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

that may be regulating prey populations<br />

(Ballard et al. 2001) in some areas <strong>of</strong><br />

Arizona, to include bighorn sheep (Ovis<br />

canadensis) (Kamler et al. 2002) and<br />

pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)<br />

(Ockenfels 1994a, b). These prey<br />

populations are at low levels, and reducing<br />

predator populations is likely to allow those<br />

prey populations to increase in number<br />

(Ballard et al. 2001). The standard bag limit<br />

for mountain lions has been altered in<br />

specific areas to allow for <strong>the</strong> harvest <strong>of</strong> 1<br />

mountain lion per day until a predetermined<br />

number <strong>of</strong> mountain lions are removed that<br />

equal about 50-75% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> estimated<br />

mountain lion population within that unit, at<br />

which time <strong>the</strong> bag limit reverts back to <strong>the</strong><br />

standard bag limit <strong>of</strong> 1 mountain lion per<br />

calendar year. The only exception to this is<br />

in <strong>the</strong> southwestern portion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state<br />

where if even a single mountain lion is<br />

taken, <strong>the</strong> hunt area will be closed.<br />

Multiple bag limits were implemented in<br />

Units 13A and 13B in 1999, 16A South and<br />

18B South in 2001, 22 South in 1999, and<br />

Units 21 West, 28 South, and 37B North<br />

will be implemented this year. Research<br />

studies in Unit 22 South on bighorn sheep,<br />

that included investigations into nutrition,<br />

disease, and predation, indicate that <strong>the</strong><br />

multiple bag limit on mountain lions in that<br />

area, with increased effort by sportsmen to<br />

harvest mountain lions, seems to be<br />

positively influencing desert bighorn sheep<br />

recruitment and adult female survival. To<br />

implement a multiple bag limit on mountain<br />

lions, biologists must identify a prey species<br />

that has been reduced due to mountain lion<br />

predation (e.g., a declining population below<br />

management objectives) or a management<br />

action that is likely to be impacted by<br />

mountain lion predation (e.g., a planned<br />

translocation) to initiate and identify what<br />

management objectives must be met (e.g., 3<br />

years <strong>of</strong> 50:100 lamb:ewe ratios) before <strong>the</strong><br />

multiple bag limit is removed. Because this


is a relatively recent management approach<br />

in Arizona, refinements to implementation<br />

and new opportunities will undoubtedly<br />

develop. For instance, portions <strong>of</strong> Arizona<br />

have robust mountain lion populations that<br />

sustain large amounts <strong>of</strong> depredation<br />

removal (Cunningham et al. 1995) and may<br />

be able to provide recreational harvest at a<br />

higher level. These areas might provide<br />

opportunities to manage recreational harvest<br />

with multiple bag limits in <strong>the</strong> future, and<br />

attempt to transfer depredation take into<br />

recreational harvest.<br />

The Department has recently established<br />

an internal team to review management<br />

approaches for several predator species, to<br />

include mountain lions. This team will be<br />

reviewing social and biological issues and<br />

best management practices, and<br />

recommending possible changes to<br />

Arizona's management. This team will<br />

serve as an umbrella team for several<br />

subteams that will work on <strong>the</strong> biological<br />

basis for management, ga<strong>the</strong>r information on<br />

social acceptance, and conduct public<br />

outreach and education.<br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions are distributed<br />

throughout most <strong>of</strong> Arizona, in varying<br />

densities (Figure 2). This distribution was<br />

reevaluated in 2002 by Department<br />

biologists and wildlife managers, and<br />

although subtle changes have been noted in<br />

<strong>the</strong> densities <strong>of</strong> lions, little change to <strong>the</strong><br />

distribution was identified. This map is still<br />

undergoing refinement and should be<br />

considered a draft. Additional information<br />

used by <strong>the</strong> Arizona Game and Fish<br />

Department in managing mountain lion<br />

population trends includes harvest,<br />

depredation reports, and age and gender<br />

from mandatory hunter reports.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion population estimates are<br />

based on density estimates developed from<br />

research studies, literature, and pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

experience within Arizona habitats. These<br />

STATUS OF MOUNTAIN LION POPULATIONS IN ARIZONA · Wakeling 3<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Figure 2. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion distribution and<br />

density estimates (draft) in Arizona<br />

excluding tribal lands, 2002.<br />

density estimates are reevaluated at<br />

infrequent intervals. Prior to 2002, <strong>the</strong> last<br />

reevaluation was conducted in 1993,<br />

although a few management units were<br />

reevaluated in 1998.<br />

HARVEST INFORMATION<br />

Licensed hunters may pursue mountain<br />

lions in Arizona if <strong>the</strong>y purchase a<br />

nonpermit tag prior to hunting. The annual<br />

bag limit is 1 lion, except for areas where a<br />

multiple bag limit is in place as discussed in<br />

<strong>the</strong> introduction. Strategic plan objectives<br />

for statewide harvests are based on historical<br />

harvest that removed about 10-15% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

estimated statewide population. Recently,<br />

harvest combined with depredation removal<br />

has exceeded <strong>the</strong> strategic plan objective<br />

(Table 1). Phelps (2003) reported data on<br />

harvest prior to 1998. Still, statewide<br />

harvest is probably


4 STATUS OF MOUNTAIN LION POPULATIONS IN ARIZONA · Wakeling<br />

Table 1. Arizona mountain lion harvest summary excluding tribal lands, 1998-2002.<br />

Total Harvest<br />

Sport<br />

Harvest<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Gender <strong>of</strong> Sport<br />

Harvest<br />

Year<br />

Tags<br />

Issued Sport Depredation O<strong>the</strong>r b<br />

Using Dogs Male Female<br />

1998 6590<br />

1999 6885<br />

2000 7478<br />

2001 8109<br />

2002 7900 a<br />

289 52 1 192 150 136<br />

247 49 2 161 126 120<br />

276 53 0 193 133 141<br />

326 58 0 214 176 144<br />

263 50 5 175 154 115<br />

a<br />

2002 tags sold is preliminary.<br />

b<br />

Includes known kills o<strong>the</strong>r than sport or depredation (e.g., highway mortality, capture mortality, and illegal take).<br />

limits are established to take 50-75% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

mountain lions that occupy an area when <strong>the</strong><br />

aforementioned criteria are met. To date,<br />

none <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> multiple bag limits have been<br />

achieved.<br />

Arizona mountain lion seasons are<br />

currently open yearlong. About 7,900<br />

nonpermit tags were sold to hunters in 2002<br />

(Table 1). During 1998-2002, about 67%<br />

were taken with <strong>the</strong> aid <strong>of</strong> hounds, whereas<br />

24% were taken incidental to o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

activities. Currently, Arizona does not have<br />

a pursuit-only season.<br />

DEPREDATIONS AND HUMAN<br />

INTERACTIONS-CONFLICTS<br />

Complaints that come to <strong>the</strong> Arizona<br />

Game and Fish Department can take 1 <strong>of</strong> 2<br />

routes: nuisance wildlife or depredation.<br />

Nuisance complaints are dealt with through<br />

advice and education. Should a mountain<br />

lion pose a threat to public safety, <strong>the</strong><br />

Department will dispatch a wildlife manager<br />

to deal with <strong>the</strong> immediate situation,<br />

although we frequently contract with USDA<br />

APHIS Wildlife Services to conduct<br />

removal efforts. Between 1998 and 2002,<br />

312 public safety incidents have been<br />

reported involving mountain lions. The<br />

trend <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se reports over time has been<br />

steeply increasing (29 in 1998, 105 in 2002;<br />

Table 2). This increase in reports may be<br />

Table 2. Public incident reports that included<br />

mountain lions in Arizona excluding tribal<br />

lands, 1998-2002.<br />

Year<br />

1998<br />

1999<br />

2000<br />

2001<br />

2002<br />

Number <strong>of</strong> Incidents<br />

Reported<br />

29<br />

43<br />

46<br />

89<br />

105<br />

attributed to mountain lions pursuing prey<br />

near residential areas (which may be<br />

exacerbated by drought conditions),<br />

increasing residential development in<br />

mountain lion habitat, and <strong>the</strong> public's<br />

greater familiarity with <strong>the</strong> reporting<br />

process. During that time, few mountain<br />

lions (


objectives for mountain lions and ranges<br />

between 49 and 58 mountain lions annually<br />

(Table 1). The actual number <strong>of</strong> depredation<br />

incidents by year is difficult to accurately<br />

ascertain.<br />

ONGOING RESEARCH<br />

Arizona is fortunate to have a Research<br />

Branch within our Wildlife Management<br />

Division that may focus on issues<br />

surrounding wildlife management. In <strong>the</strong><br />

past, this has included many studies directly<br />

relating to mountain lions and that we<br />

currently base much <strong>of</strong> our mountain lion<br />

management. Currently, <strong>the</strong> Department<br />

does not have any ongoing research directly<br />

aimed at mountain lion management,<br />

although a study in Unit 22 that includes <strong>the</strong><br />

impacts <strong>of</strong> mountain lions on desert bighorn<br />

sheep is being completed. Studies by o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

organizations involving urban mountain<br />

lions are in <strong>the</strong> initial phases near Flagstaff<br />

and Tucson.<br />

LITERATURE CITED<br />

ARIZONA GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT.<br />

2001. Wildlife 2006. Arizona Game<br />

and Fish Department, Phoenix.<br />

BALLARD, W.B., D.L. LUTZ, T.W. KEEGAN,<br />

L.H. CARPENTER, AND J.C. DEVOS, JR.<br />

2001. Deer-predator relationships: a<br />

review <strong>of</strong> recent North American studies<br />

with emphasis on mule and black-tailed<br />

STATUS OF MOUNTAIN LION POPULATIONS IN ARIZONA · Wakeling 5<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

deer. Wildlife Society Bulletin 29:99-<br />

115.<br />

CUNNINGHAM, S.C., L.A HAYNES, C.<br />

GUSTAVSON, AND D.D. HAYWOOD.<br />

1995. Evaluation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> interaction<br />

between mountain lions and cattle in <strong>the</strong><br />

Aravaipa-Klondyke area <strong>of</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>ast<br />

Arizona. Arizona Game and Fish<br />

Department Technical Report 17,<br />

Phoenix.<br />

KAMLER, J.F., R.M. LEE, J.C. DEVOS, JR.,<br />

W.B. BALLARD, AND H.A. WHITLAW.<br />

2002. Survival and cougar predation <strong>of</strong><br />

translocated bighorn sheep in Arizona.<br />

Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Management<br />

66:1267-1272.<br />

OCKENFELS, R.A. 1994a. Factors affecting<br />

adult pronghorn mortality rates in central<br />

Arizona. Arizona Game and Fish<br />

Department Wildlife Digest Abstract 16,<br />

Phoenix.<br />

OCKENFELS, R.A. 1994b. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion<br />

predation on pronghorn in central<br />

Arizona. Southwestern Naturalist<br />

39:305-306.<br />

PHELPS, J. 2003. Status report on mountain<br />

lions in Arizona. Pages 8-10 in L. A.<br />

Harveson, P. M. Harveson, and R. W.<br />

Adams, eds. <strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sixth<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong>, Texas Parks<br />

and Wildlife Department, Austin.


CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

DOUG UPDIKE, Wildlife Programs Branch, California Department <strong>of</strong> Fish & Game, 1812 9 th<br />

Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, USA, email: dupdike@dfg.ca.gov<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

California has a statewide mountain lion<br />

management plan. In 1990, mountain lions<br />

were legally classified as a “specially<br />

protected mammal” by <strong>the</strong> passage <strong>of</strong> a<br />

voter initiative (Proposition 117, June 1990<br />

ballot). Prior to that initiative, lions were<br />

classified as “game mammals.”<br />

The objectives for mountain lion<br />

management in California is to maintain<br />

healthy, wild populations <strong>of</strong> mountain lions<br />

for <strong>the</strong> benefit and enjoyment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> people<br />

in <strong>the</strong> State, to alleviate public safety<br />

incidents and reduce damage to private<br />

property (pets and livestock) by mountain<br />

lions. <strong>Mountain</strong> lions are not hunted in<br />

California, and <strong>the</strong>y may be killed only to<br />

preserve public safety, alleviate damage to<br />

private property or to protect listed bighorn<br />

sheep.<br />

Number<br />

350<br />

300<br />

250<br />

200<br />

150<br />

100<br />

50<br />

0<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Depredation Permits (1972 - 2002)<br />

6<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

<strong>Lion</strong>s are currently distributed<br />

throughout all suitable habitats within<br />

California. <strong>Lion</strong> numbers appear to be<br />

stable at an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 adults.<br />

The number <strong>of</strong> lions in California is<br />

based upon extrapolating densities<br />

determined with <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> radio collars.<br />

These studies have been conducted in<br />

various locations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> State. The number<br />

<strong>of</strong> lions is determined by multiplying <strong>the</strong><br />

densities and <strong>the</strong> area represented by <strong>the</strong><br />

ecological province. The studies that<br />

provide local lion density data have been<br />

conducted over a period <strong>of</strong> a couple decades.<br />

Consequently, <strong>the</strong> Department recognizes<br />

<strong>the</strong> estimate has limited application.<br />

The Department issues depredation<br />

permits to property owners who have<br />

experienced damage from a mountain lion<br />

(Figure 1).<br />

1972<br />

1974<br />

1976<br />

1978<br />

1980<br />

1982<br />

1984<br />

1986<br />

1988<br />

1990<br />

1992<br />

1994<br />

1996<br />

1998<br />

2000<br />

2002<br />

Year<br />

Permits Issued<br />

<strong>Lion</strong>s Killed<br />

Figure 1. The number <strong>of</strong> mountain lion depredation permits issued and <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong><br />

lions that have been killed as a result in California, 1972-2002.


HARVEST INFORMATION<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion hunting is prohibited in<br />

California. No lions have been taken by<br />

licensed hunters since 1972. It is also illegal<br />

for lions that have been legally taken in<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r states to be imported into California.<br />

DEPREDATIONS AND HUMAN<br />

INTERACTIONS/CONFLICTS<br />

The Department’s Public Safety<br />

Guidelines are attached. This policy is<br />

intended to guide <strong>the</strong> actions and decisions<br />

<strong>of</strong> Department personnel who respond to<br />

mountain lion incidents.<br />

A summary <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> human/lion<br />

incidents is provided in Table 1.<br />

We provide educational material to <strong>the</strong><br />

public to foster an understanding and<br />

appreciation <strong>of</strong> lions. A recent (May-June<br />

2000) issue <strong>of</strong> Outdoor California was<br />

devoted entirely to mountain lions. Most <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> articles are viewable at:<br />

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/coned/ocal/features.html<br />

In addition, we have produced a<br />

brochure, “Living with California <strong>Mountain</strong><br />

<strong>Lion</strong>s” which is viewable at:<br />

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lion/index.html<br />

Depredation permits may be issued by<br />

<strong>the</strong> Department subject to <strong>the</strong> conditions<br />

found in Section 402, California Code <strong>of</strong><br />

Regulations, as follows:<br />

CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Updike 7<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

a. Revocable permits may be issued by <strong>the</strong><br />

department after receiving a report, from<br />

any owner or tenant or agent for <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>of</strong><br />

property being damaged or destroyed by<br />

mountain lion. The department shall<br />

conduct and complete an investigation<br />

within 48 hours <strong>of</strong> receiving such a<br />

report. Any mountain lion that is<br />

encountered in <strong>the</strong> act <strong>of</strong> inflicting injury<br />

to, molesting or killing livestock or<br />

domestic animals may be taken<br />

immediately if <strong>the</strong> taking is reported<br />

within 72 hours to <strong>the</strong> department and<br />

<strong>the</strong> carcass is made available to <strong>the</strong><br />

department. Whenever immediate<br />

action will assist in <strong>the</strong> pursuit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

particular mountain lion believed to be<br />

responsible for damage to livestock or<br />

domestic animals, <strong>the</strong> department may<br />

orally authorize <strong>the</strong> pursuit and take <strong>of</strong> a<br />

mountain lion. The department shall<br />

investigate such incidents and, upon a<br />

finding that <strong>the</strong> requirements <strong>of</strong> this<br />

regulation have been met, issue a free<br />

permit for depredation purposes, and<br />

carcass tag to <strong>the</strong> person taking such<br />

mountain lion.<br />

b. Permittee may take mountain lion in <strong>the</strong><br />

manner specified in <strong>the</strong> permit, except<br />

that no mountain lion shall be taken by<br />

means <strong>of</strong> poison, leg-hold or metaljawed<br />

traps and snares.<br />

Table 1. Summary <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> human/lion incidents in California, 1995-2002.<br />

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002<br />

# <strong>of</strong> incidents 381 587 539 353 697 372 456 379<br />

# <strong>of</strong> safety<br />

incidents<br />

18 14 15 11 16 8 14 13<br />

take 9 7 11 12 10 7 11 13<br />

male 3 3 1 6 6 4 8 6<br />

female 3 1 6 6 3 3 3 5<br />

unknown 3 3 4 0 1 0 0 2<br />

# <strong>of</strong> sightings 191 346 340 214 382 174 240 224


8 CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Updike<br />

c. Permittee may take mountain lion in <strong>the</strong><br />

manner specified in <strong>the</strong> permit, except<br />

that no mountain lion shall be taken by<br />

means <strong>of</strong> poison, leg-hold or metaljawed<br />

traps and snares.<br />

d. Both males and females may be taken<br />

during <strong>the</strong> period <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> permit<br />

irrespective <strong>of</strong> hours or seasons.<br />

e. The privilege granted in <strong>the</strong> permit may<br />

not be transferred, and only entitles <strong>the</strong><br />

permittee or <strong>the</strong> employee or agent <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> permittee to take mountain lion.<br />

Such person must be 21 years <strong>of</strong> age or<br />

over and eligible to purchase a<br />

California hunting license.<br />

f. Any person issued a permit pursuant to<br />

this section shall report by telephone<br />

within 24 hours <strong>the</strong> capturing, injuring<br />

or killing <strong>of</strong> any mountain lion to an<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department or, if<br />

telephoning is not practical, in writing<br />

within five days after capturing, injuring<br />

or killing <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mountain lion. Any<br />

mountain lion killed under <strong>the</strong> permit<br />

must be tagged with <strong>the</strong> special tag<br />

furnished with <strong>the</strong> permit; both tags must<br />

be completely filled out and <strong>the</strong><br />

duplicate mailed to <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Fish and Game, Sacramento, within 5<br />

days after taking any mountain lion.<br />

g. The entire carcass shall be transported<br />

within 5 days to a location agreed upon<br />

between <strong>the</strong> issuing <strong>of</strong>ficer and <strong>the</strong><br />

permittee, but in no case will a permittee<br />

be required to deliver a carcass beyond<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

<strong>the</strong> limits <strong>of</strong> his property unless he is<br />

willing to do so. The carcass <strong>of</strong><br />

mountain lions taken pursuant to this<br />

regulation shall become <strong>the</strong> property <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> state.<br />

h. Animals shall be taken in a humane<br />

manner so as to prevent any undue<br />

suffering to <strong>the</strong> animals<br />

i. The permittee shall take every<br />

reasonable precaution to prevent <strong>the</strong><br />

carcass from spoiling until disposed <strong>of</strong> in<br />

<strong>the</strong> manner agreed upon under<br />

subsection (f) <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se regulations<br />

j. The permit does not invalidate any city,<br />

county, or state firearm regulation.<br />

k. Permits shall be issued for a period <strong>of</strong> 10<br />

days. Permits may be renewed only<br />

after a finding by <strong>the</strong> department that<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r damage has occurred or will<br />

occur unless such permits are renewed.<br />

The permittee may not begin pursuit <strong>of</strong> a<br />

lion more than one mile nor continue<br />

pursuit beyond a 10-mile radius from <strong>the</strong><br />

location <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> reported damage.<br />

CURRENT RESEARCH<br />

a. Population genetics <strong>of</strong> lions<br />

b. <strong>Lion</strong>/deer/bighorn sheep predator prey<br />

relationships in Inyo/Mono counties and<br />

San Diego County<br />

c. <strong>Lion</strong> movements and corridors in Los<br />

Angeles/Ventura counties<br />

d. Impacts <strong>of</strong> habitat conversions and<br />

transportation corridors or lion<br />

movements and habitat use.


PUBLIC SAFETY WILDLIFE GUIDELINES – 2072<br />

Consistent with Section 1801 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Fish<br />

and Game Code, <strong>the</strong>se Public Safety<br />

Wildlife Guidelines provide procedures to<br />

address public safety wildlife problems.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions, black bears, deer, coyotes,<br />

and large exotic carnivores that have<br />

threatened or Attacked humans are wildlife<br />

classified as public safety problems. Public<br />

safety wildlife incidents are classified into<br />

three types:<br />

A. Type Green (sighting)<br />

A report (confirmed or unconfirmed) <strong>of</strong><br />

an observation that is perceived to be a<br />

public safety wildlife problem. The mere<br />

presence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wildlife species does not<br />

in itself constitute a threat.<br />

B. Type Yellow (threat)<br />

A report where <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

public safety wildlife is confirmed by a<br />

field investigation, and <strong>the</strong> responding<br />

person (law enforcement <strong>of</strong>ficer or<br />

Department employee) perceives <strong>the</strong><br />

animal to be an imminent threat to<br />

public health or safety. Imminent threat<br />

means <strong>the</strong>re is a likelihood <strong>of</strong> human<br />

injury based on <strong>the</strong> totality <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

circumstances.<br />

C. Type Red (attack)<br />

An attack by a public safety wildlife<br />

species on a human resulting in physical<br />

contact, injury, or death.<br />

These guidelines are not intended to<br />

address orphaned, injured, or sick wildlife<br />

that have not threatened public safety. To<br />

achieve <strong>the</strong> intent <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se guidelines, <strong>the</strong><br />

following procedures shall be used.<br />

I. Wildlife Incident Report Form<br />

Fill out a Wildlife Incident Report<br />

Form (WMD-2) for all reports <strong>of</strong> public<br />

safety wildlife incidents. The nature <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> report will determine <strong>the</strong> response or<br />

CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Updike 9<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

investigative action to <strong>the</strong> public safety<br />

problem. For those reports that require a<br />

follow-up field investigation, <strong>the</strong><br />

Wildlife Incident Report Form will be<br />

completed by <strong>the</strong> field investigator. All<br />

completed Wildlife Incident Report<br />

Forms shall be forwarded through <strong>the</strong><br />

regional <strong>of</strong>fices to <strong>the</strong> Chief, WPB.<br />

II. Response to Public Safety Wildlife<br />

Problems<br />

The steps in responding to a public<br />

safety wildlife incident are diagramed<br />

below (Figure 3).<br />

Any reported imminent threats or<br />

attacks on humans by wildlife will<br />

require a follow-up field investigation.<br />

If a public safety wildlife species is<br />

outside its natural habitat and in an area<br />

where it could become a public safety<br />

problem, and if approved by <strong>the</strong> Deputy<br />

Director for <strong>the</strong> WIFD, it may be<br />

captured using restraint techniques<br />

approved by <strong>the</strong> Wildlife Investigations<br />

Laboratory (WIL). The disposition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

captured wildlife may be coordinated<br />

with WIL.<br />

A. Type Green (sighting)<br />

If <strong>the</strong> investigator determines that no<br />

imminent threat to public safety exists,<br />

Figure 3. Steps in responding to a public<br />

safety wildlife incident.


10 CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Updike<br />

<strong>the</strong> incident is considered a Type Green.<br />

The appropriate action may include<br />

providing wildlife behavior information<br />

and mailing public educational materials<br />

to <strong>the</strong> reporting party.<br />

B. Type Yellow (threat)<br />

Once <strong>the</strong> field investigator finds<br />

evidence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> public safety wildlife<br />

and perceives <strong>the</strong> animal to be an<br />

imminent threat to public health or<br />

safety, <strong>the</strong> incident is considered a Type<br />

Yellow. In <strong>the</strong> event <strong>of</strong> threat to public<br />

safety, any Department employee<br />

responding to a reported public safety<br />

incident may take whatever action is<br />

deemed necessary within <strong>the</strong> scope <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> employee's authority to protect<br />

public safety. When evidence shows that<br />

a wild animal is an imminent threat to<br />

public safety, that wild animal shall be<br />

humanely euthanized (shot, killed,<br />

dispatched, destroyed, etc.). For Type<br />

Yellow incidents <strong>the</strong> following steps<br />

should be taken:<br />

1. Initiate <strong>the</strong> Incident Command<br />

System. The Incident Commander<br />

(IC) consults with <strong>the</strong> regional<br />

manager or designee to decide on <strong>the</strong><br />

notification process on a case-bycase<br />

basis. Full notification includes:<br />

<strong>the</strong> field investigator's supervisor, <strong>the</strong><br />

appropriate regional manager, <strong>the</strong><br />

Deputy Director, WIFD, Chief,<br />

Conservation Education and<br />

Enforcement Branch (CEEB), Chief,<br />

WPB, WIL, Wildlife Forensics Lab<br />

(WFL), <strong>the</strong> designated regional<br />

information <strong>of</strong>ficer, and <strong>the</strong> local law<br />

enforcement agency.<br />

2. If full notification is appropriate,<br />

notify Sacramento Dispatch at (916)<br />

445-0045. Dispatch shall notify <strong>the</strong><br />

above-mentioned personnel.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

3. Secure <strong>the</strong> scene as appropriate.<br />

Take all practical steps to preserve<br />

potential evidence. The IC holds<br />

initial responsibility and authority<br />

over <strong>the</strong> scene, locating <strong>the</strong> animal,<br />

its resultant carcass, and any o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

physical evidence from <strong>the</strong> attack.<br />

The IC will ensure proper transfer<br />

and disposition <strong>of</strong> all physical<br />

evidence.<br />

4. In most situations, it is important to<br />

locate <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fending animal as soon<br />

as practical. WIL may be <strong>of</strong><br />

assistance. The services <strong>of</strong> USDA,<br />

Wildlife Services (WS) can be<br />

arranged by <strong>the</strong> regional manager or<br />

designee contacting <strong>the</strong> local WS<br />

District Supervisor. If possible, avoid<br />

shooting <strong>the</strong> animal in <strong>the</strong> head to<br />

preserve evidence.<br />

5. If an animal is killed, <strong>the</strong> IC will<br />

decide on <strong>the</strong> notification process<br />

and notify Sacramento Dispatch if<br />

appropriate. Use clean protective<br />

gloves while handling <strong>the</strong> carcass.<br />

Place <strong>the</strong> carcass inside a protective<br />

durable body bag (avoid dragging<br />

<strong>the</strong> carcass, if possible).<br />

C. Type Red (attack)<br />

In <strong>the</strong> event <strong>of</strong> an attack, <strong>the</strong><br />

responding Department employee may<br />

take any action necessary that is within<br />

<strong>the</strong> scope <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> employee's authority to<br />

protect public safety. When evidence<br />

shows that a wild animal has made an<br />

unprovoked attack on a human, that wild<br />

animal shall be humanely euthanized<br />

(shot, killed, dispatched, destroyed, etc.).<br />

For Type Red incidents <strong>the</strong> following<br />

steps should be taken:<br />

1. Ensure proper medical aid for <strong>the</strong><br />

victim. Identify <strong>the</strong> victim (obtain<br />

<strong>the</strong> following, but not limited to:<br />

name, address, phone number).


2. Notify Sacramento Dispatch at (916)<br />

445-0045. Dispatch shall notify <strong>the</strong><br />

field investigator's supervisor, <strong>the</strong><br />

appropriate regional manager, <strong>the</strong><br />

Deputy Director, WIFD, Chief,<br />

CEEB, Chief, WPB, WIL, WFL, <strong>the</strong><br />

designated regional information<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer, and <strong>the</strong> local law<br />

enforcement agency.<br />

3. Initiate <strong>the</strong> Incident Command<br />

System. If a human death has<br />

occurred, an Enforcement Branch<br />

supervisor or specialist will respond<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Incident Command Post and<br />

assume <strong>the</strong> IC responsibilities. The<br />

IC holds initial responsibility and<br />

authority over <strong>the</strong> scene, locating <strong>the</strong><br />

animal, its resultant carcass, and any<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r physical evidence from <strong>the</strong><br />

attack. The IC will ensure proper<br />

transfer and disposition <strong>of</strong> all<br />

physical evidence.<br />

4. Secure <strong>the</strong> area as needed. Treat <strong>the</strong><br />

area as a crime scene. In order to<br />

expedite <strong>the</strong> capture <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fending<br />

animal and preserve as much onscene<br />

evidence as possible, <strong>the</strong> area<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> incident must be secured<br />

immediately by <strong>the</strong> initial responding<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer. The area should be excluded<br />

from public access by use <strong>of</strong> flagging<br />

tape or similar tape (e.g., "Do Not<br />

Enter") utilized at crime scenes by<br />

local law enforcement agencies. One<br />

entry and exit port should be<br />

established. Only essential<br />

authorized personnel should be<br />

permitted in <strong>the</strong> excluded area. A<br />

second area outside <strong>the</strong> area <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

incident should be established as <strong>the</strong><br />

command post.<br />

5. In cases involving a human death,<br />

WFL personnel will direct <strong>the</strong><br />

ga<strong>the</strong>ring <strong>of</strong> evidence. Secure items<br />

such as clothing, tents, sleeping bags,<br />

CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Updike 11<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

objects used for defense during <strong>the</strong><br />

attack, objects chewed on by <strong>the</strong><br />

animal, or any o<strong>the</strong>r materials which<br />

may possess <strong>the</strong> attacking animal's<br />

saliva, hair, or blood.<br />

6. If <strong>the</strong> victim is alive, advise <strong>the</strong><br />

attending medical personnel about<br />

<strong>the</strong> Carnivore Attack-Victim<br />

Sampling Kit for collecting possible<br />

animal saliva stains or hair that<br />

might still be on <strong>the</strong> victim. If <strong>the</strong><br />

victim is dead, advise <strong>the</strong> medical<br />

examiner <strong>of</strong> this evidence need. This<br />

sampling kit may be obtained from<br />

<strong>the</strong> WFL.<br />

7. It is essential to locate <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fending<br />

animal as soon as practical. WIL<br />

may be <strong>of</strong> assistance. The services <strong>of</strong><br />

WS can be arranged by <strong>the</strong> regional<br />

manager or designee contacting <strong>the</strong><br />

local WS District Supervisor. If<br />

possible, avoid shooting <strong>the</strong> animal<br />

in <strong>the</strong> head to preserve evidence.<br />

8. If an animal is killed, <strong>the</strong> IC will<br />

notify Sacramento Dispatch. Treat<br />

<strong>the</strong> carcass as evidence. Use clean<br />

protective gloves and (if possible) a<br />

facemask while handling <strong>the</strong> carcass.<br />

Be guided by <strong>the</strong> need to protect <strong>the</strong><br />

animal's external body from: loss <strong>of</strong><br />

bloodstains or o<strong>the</strong>r such physical<br />

evidence originating from <strong>the</strong> victim;<br />

contamination by <strong>the</strong> animal's own<br />

blood; and contamination by <strong>the</strong><br />

human handler's hair, sweat, saliva,<br />

skin cells, etc. Tape paper bags over<br />

<strong>the</strong> head and paws, <strong>the</strong>n tape plastic<br />

bags over <strong>the</strong> paper bags. Plug<br />

wounds with tight gauze to minimize<br />

contamination <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> animal with its<br />

own blood. Place <strong>the</strong> carcass inside a<br />

protective durable body bag (avoid<br />

dragging <strong>the</strong> carcass, if possible).<br />

9. WFL will receive from <strong>the</strong> IC and/or<br />

directly obtain all pertinent physical


12 CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Updike<br />

evidence concerning <strong>the</strong> primary<br />

questions <strong>of</strong> au<strong>the</strong>nticity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

attack and identity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fending<br />

animal. WFL has first access and<br />

authority over <strong>the</strong> carcass after <strong>the</strong><br />

IC. WFL will immediately contact<br />

and coordinate with <strong>the</strong> county<br />

health department <strong>the</strong> acquisition <strong>of</strong><br />

appropriate samples for rabies<br />

testing. Once WFL has secured <strong>the</strong><br />

necessary forensic samples, <strong>the</strong>y will<br />

<strong>the</strong>n release authority over <strong>the</strong><br />

carcass to WIL for disease studies.<br />

10. An independent diagnostic<br />

laboratory approved by WIL will<br />

conduct necropsy and disease studies<br />

on <strong>the</strong> carcass. The WIL will retain<br />

primary authority over this aspect <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> carcass.<br />

D. Responsibilities <strong>of</strong> WIL<br />

WIL investigates wildlife disease<br />

problems statewide and provides<br />

information on <strong>the</strong> occurrence <strong>of</strong> both<br />

enzootic and epizootic disease in<br />

wildlife populations. Specimens<br />

involved in suspected disease problems<br />

are submitted to WIL for necropsy and<br />

disease studies. Most animals killed for<br />

public safety reasons will be necropsied<br />

to assess <strong>the</strong> status <strong>of</strong> health and whe<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> disease may have caused<br />

<strong>the</strong> aggressive and/or unusual behavior.<br />

Type Yellow public safety animals<br />

killed may be necropsied by WIL or an<br />

independent diagnostic laboratory<br />

approved by WIL. Contact WIL<br />

immediately after a public safety animal<br />

is killed to determine where it will be<br />

necropsied. Arrangements are to be<br />

made directly with WIL prior to<br />

submission <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> carcass to any<br />

laboratory.<br />

Type Red public safety animals<br />

killed will be necropsied by an<br />

independent diagnostic laboratory<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

approved by WIL. Contact WIL prior to<br />

submission <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> carcass to any<br />

laboratory to allow <strong>the</strong> Department<br />

veterinarian to discuss <strong>the</strong> disease testing<br />

requirements with <strong>the</strong> attending<br />

pathologist. A disease testing protocol<br />

has been developed for use with Type<br />

Red public safety wildlife.<br />

E. Responsibilities <strong>of</strong> WFL<br />

WFL has <strong>the</strong> statewide responsibility<br />

to receive, collect, examine and analyze<br />

physical evidence, issue reports on<br />

evidence findings, and testify in court as<br />

to those results. WFL's primary<br />

functions in public safety incidents is to<br />

verify or refute <strong>the</strong> au<strong>the</strong>nticity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

purported attack and to corroborate or<br />

refute <strong>the</strong> involvement <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> suspected<br />

<strong>of</strong>fending animal.<br />

Type Yellow public safety animals<br />

killed may be examined by WFL<br />

personnel. The examination <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

carcass will be coordinated with WIL.<br />

All Type Red public safety animals<br />

killed must be examined by WFL<br />

personnel or a qualified person approved<br />

by WFL supervisor using specific<br />

procedures established by WFL.<br />

If a human death occurs,<br />

coordination <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> autopsy between <strong>the</strong><br />

proper <strong>of</strong>ficials and WFL is important so<br />

that WFL personnel can be present<br />

during <strong>the</strong> autopsy for appropriate<br />

sampling and examination. In <strong>the</strong> event<br />

<strong>of</strong> human injury, it is important for WFL<br />

to ga<strong>the</strong>r any relevant physical evidence<br />

that may corroborate <strong>the</strong> au<strong>the</strong>nticity <strong>of</strong><br />

a wildlife attack, prior to <strong>the</strong> treatment <strong>of</strong><br />

injuries, if practical. If not practical,<br />

directions for sampling may be given<br />

over <strong>the</strong> telephone to <strong>the</strong> emergency<br />

room doctor by WFL.<br />

F. Media Contact<br />

Public safety wildlife incidents


attract significant media attention. Issues<br />

regarding site access, information<br />

dissemination, <strong>the</strong> public's safety,<br />

carcass viewing and requests to survey<br />

<strong>the</strong> scene can be handled by a designated<br />

employee. Each region shall designate<br />

an employee with necessary ICS training<br />

to respond as a regional information<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer to public safety wildlife<br />

incidents.<br />

Type Yellow public safety wildlife<br />

incidents may require <strong>the</strong> notification <strong>of</strong><br />

a designated employee previously<br />

approved by <strong>the</strong> regional manager or<br />

designee to assist <strong>the</strong> IC in responding to<br />

CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Updike 13<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

<strong>the</strong> media and disseminating<br />

information. The IC has <strong>the</strong> authority to<br />

decide if <strong>the</strong> designated employee<br />

should be dispatched to <strong>the</strong> site.<br />

All Type Red public safety wildlife<br />

incidents require that a designated<br />

employee, previously approved by <strong>the</strong><br />

regional manager or designee, to assist<br />

<strong>the</strong> IC in responding to <strong>the</strong> media and<br />

disseminating information, is called to<br />

<strong>the</strong> scene.<br />

The Department will develop and<br />

provide training for designated<br />

employees to serve as information<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficers for public safety wildlife<br />

incidents.


COLORADO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

JERRY A. APKER, Colorado Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife, 0722 South Road 1 East, Monte Vista, CO<br />

81144, USA, email: jerry.apker@state.co.us<br />

MOUNTAIN LION CLASSIFICATION<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion (Puma concolor) received<br />

no legal protection and were classified as a<br />

predator in Colorado from 1881 until 1965.<br />

During this time take <strong>of</strong> puma at any time,<br />

any place was encouraged by bounties and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r laws. The first bounty was enacted in<br />

1881 at $10, in 1925 laws instructed game<br />

wardens to destroy predatory animals by<br />

trapping, poisoning, or hunting, and in 1929<br />

<strong>the</strong> bounty was increased to $50. For<br />

comparison <strong>the</strong> 1929 bounty, if <strong>of</strong>fered in<br />

2003 dollars, would be $540. The bounty<br />

was abolished in 1965, but some provisions<br />

for landowner take <strong>of</strong> a depredating puma<br />

remains in Colorado laws to this day. In<br />

1965, puma were reclassified as big game.<br />

Each Data Analysis Unit (DAU) within<br />

<strong>the</strong> State has a management plan developed<br />

with objectives for hunter harvest, game<br />

damage, and human-puma conflicts.<br />

Objectives are stated as <strong>the</strong> maximum level<br />

on a three-year running average.<br />

Implementation <strong>of</strong> DAU plans began in<br />

2001. Recent interest in annual puma kill<br />

revealed conflicting direction depending<br />

upon which objectives managers weighed<br />

most heavily. These conflicts pointed out a<br />

shortfall within <strong>the</strong> plans in that <strong>the</strong>y do not<br />

state a specific strategic goal for <strong>the</strong> DAU.<br />

Currently this must be inferred in <strong>the</strong> text <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> plan. Some DAUs are managed to<br />

suppress puma populations while o<strong>the</strong>rs are<br />

managed to maintain stable populations –<br />

recognizing <strong>the</strong> inherent difficulty in<br />

determining population changes. Within <strong>the</strong><br />

next year all management plans will be<br />

required to develop a strategic goal. We<br />

14<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

consider this an essential step for informing<br />

management decisions within a DAU about<br />

season structure and annual license<br />

allocation.<br />

In 1996 <strong>the</strong> Colorado Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Agriculture (CDA) was granted “exclusive<br />

jurisdiction over <strong>the</strong> control <strong>of</strong> depredating<br />

animals that pose a threat to an agricultural<br />

product or resource”. Thus, CDA has<br />

exclusive authority to determine <strong>the</strong><br />

disposition <strong>of</strong> an individual puma if it is<br />

depredating on livestock, while <strong>the</strong> Colorado<br />

Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife (CDOW) retains<br />

authority to manage puma populations and<br />

all forms <strong>of</strong> recreational or scientific use.<br />

DISTRIBUTION, ABUNDANCE AND<br />

MONITORING<br />

The state is divided into 21 DAUs for<br />

<strong>the</strong> purposes <strong>of</strong> puma management (Figure<br />

1). DAUs are assemblages <strong>of</strong> Game<br />

Management Units (GMUs) within which<br />

Figure 1. Data analysis Units and relative<br />

abundance <strong>of</strong> puma within each DAU in<br />

Colorado.


Figure 2. Areas <strong>of</strong> puma occupancy in<br />

Colorado.<br />

puma occupancy has been mapped (Figure<br />

2).<br />

Colorado does not regularly estimate<br />

puma populations because no reliable, cost<br />

effective sample based population<br />

estimation technique currently exists. A<br />

projection <strong>of</strong> possible population has been<br />

made based on densities reported in<br />

literature for intensively studied populations.<br />

Low and high densities were selected from<br />

study areas that had habitat types most<br />

similar to Colorado. Densities were <strong>the</strong>n<br />

applied by biologists to area <strong>of</strong> puma habitat<br />

within DAUs. Areas not considered puma<br />

habitats, such as extreme high elevations,<br />

intensively farmed land, cities, highways, or<br />

reservoirs, were first deleted. Biologists<br />

were allowed to apply more constrained<br />

densities based upon <strong>the</strong>ir knowledge <strong>of</strong><br />

prey abundance or relative puma abundance.<br />

Finally, biologists were asked to pinpoint<br />

<strong>the</strong> puma density most applicable to DAUs<br />

within <strong>the</strong>ir management responsibility.<br />

These exercises resulted in a crude projected<br />

puma population <strong>of</strong> 3,000 to 7,000, with<br />

3,500 to 4,500 most probable. Based upon<br />

<strong>the</strong> foregoing, each DAU is assigned a<br />

relative abundance rating <strong>of</strong> high, moderate,<br />

or low with intergrades where estimated<br />

puma density is close to break points. High<br />

COLORADO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Apker 15<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

abundance is assigned at DAU densities <strong>of</strong><br />

over 3 puma/100 km 2 , moderate abundance<br />

at 2 to 3 puma/100 km 2 , and low abundance<br />

at anything less than 2 puma/100 km 2<br />

(Figure 1).<br />

Hunter harvest and total mortality is<br />

examined at <strong>the</strong> DAU level to monitor<br />

mortality for crude indications <strong>of</strong> population<br />

change. Puma mortality is documented<br />

through mandatory checks <strong>of</strong> hunter kill and<br />

mandatory reports for non-hunter mortality<br />

and is kept in a database. The database for<br />

hunter kill has been kept since 1980, and for<br />

non-hunter mortality since 1991. Mortality<br />

data is examined on three and ten year<br />

running averages due to relatively high<br />

annual variation. Data on depredation<br />

claims since is also maintained in a<br />

database.<br />

HARVEST AND HUNTING<br />

REGULATION<br />

Since 1972 a quota system has been used<br />

to manage hunter distribution and kill. From<br />

1992 <strong>the</strong> quota has increased from 459 to<br />

790 in 2002. However, <strong>the</strong> quota does not<br />

represent <strong>the</strong> harvest objective since <strong>the</strong><br />

quota is never achieved. Through<br />

compilation <strong>of</strong> DAU management plan<br />

objectives <strong>the</strong> harvest objective for <strong>the</strong> state<br />

is about 350 puma. Annual license sales<br />

have also increased since 1992 from about<br />

900 to just over 1,700 in 2002. While both<br />

quotas and license sales have increased over<br />

<strong>the</strong> past 10 years, percent <strong>of</strong> quota<br />

achievement and success relative to license<br />

sales have declined gradually (Figure 3).<br />

These trends are expected with increased<br />

available hunting opportunity toward a<br />

cryptic species. With more potential hunters<br />

<strong>the</strong>re is an increased likelihood that <strong>the</strong>re<br />

will be proportionately more hunters with<br />

less experience and less commitment or<br />

impetus to harvest an animal. Some have<br />

speculated that <strong>the</strong> trends indicate that overharvest<br />

has occurred, however <strong>the</strong> female


16 COLORADO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Apker<br />

Percent Q. Achievement & Success<br />

90%<br />

80%<br />

70%<br />

60%<br />

50%<br />

40%<br />

30%<br />

20%<br />

10%<br />

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001<br />

% Quota Achievement % Harvest Success by licenses sold<br />

Quota # Licenses Sold<br />

1700<br />

1500<br />

1300<br />

1100<br />

Figure 3. Colorado license sales, quota,<br />

percent success and percent quota<br />

achievement for puma.<br />

component <strong>of</strong> hunter harvest has not<br />

increased substantially which would be an<br />

indicator <strong>of</strong> over-harvest.<br />

Criteria used to guide quota setting are<br />

as follows:<br />

1. Strategic objective <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> DAU or<br />

group <strong>of</strong> GMUs within a DAU. If<br />

management is directed at<br />

maintaining a stable population, <strong>the</strong>n<br />

<strong>the</strong> following also apply.<br />

2. Population for <strong>the</strong> DAU is projected<br />

based upon low and high density<br />

potential. Off-take should not<br />

exceed a bracketed range <strong>of</strong> 15% <strong>of</strong><br />

low-end population estimate and 8%<br />

<strong>of</strong> high-end population estimate.<br />

3. Short (3 year) and long-term trend<br />

(10 years) in proportion <strong>of</strong> females in<br />

mortality should be stable or<br />

downward and not over 50%.<br />

4. Damage claim amounts on 3-year<br />

average should not exceed DAU<br />

objective levels.<br />

5. Catch per unit effort indice (effort <strong>of</strong><br />

houndsmen to harvest).<br />

900<br />

700<br />

500<br />

300<br />

100<br />

Quota or License #'s<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Hunter harvest and total mortality<br />

figures for 2002 have not been completely<br />

tabulated at <strong>the</strong> time <strong>of</strong> this report. The<br />

average hunter harvest from 1992-1994 is<br />

308 with 41% female. The average hunter<br />

harvest from 1999-2001 is 365 with 45%<br />

female (Figure 4).<br />

Generally, from 1965 to <strong>the</strong> mid-late<br />

1970s seasons were mid fall through early<br />

spring. In <strong>the</strong> late 1970s through 1994<br />

seasons were liberalized, running almost<br />

continually through <strong>the</strong> year excluding late<br />

August – mid November deer or elk hunting<br />

seasons. Since 1995, seasons were revised<br />

to provide greater protection for pregnant<br />

females or females with dependent young,<br />

running on a calendar year basis from<br />

January 1 – March 31 and mid November –<br />

December 31. With a few exceptions <strong>the</strong><br />

bag limit has remained 1 per year <strong>of</strong> ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

sex and some form <strong>of</strong> puma license has been<br />

required since 1965.<br />

Hunting with hounds is permitted with<br />

hunting pack size limited to 8 dogs. Almost<br />

all puma are harvested with <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong><br />

hounds. There is no pursuit only season.<br />

With certain technical restrictions on each,<br />

legal weapons for take include rifle,<br />

500<br />

450<br />

400<br />

350<br />

300<br />

250<br />

200<br />

150<br />

100<br />

50<br />

0<br />

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001<br />

Hunter Harvest<br />

- Male<br />

Hunter Harvest<br />

- Female<br />

Total<br />

Mortality<br />

Figure 4. Puma harvest and total mortality<br />

levels in Colorado.


handgun, shotgun, muzzleloading rifles,<br />

hand-held bows, and crossbows. It is illegal<br />

to kill a kitten or a female accompanied by<br />

kittens.<br />

DEPREDATION AND PUMA-HUMAN<br />

CONFLICT<br />

Colorado is liable for damage caused by<br />

big game, with certain limitations and<br />

restrictions. From 1972 until 2001 CDOW<br />

had to pay for damage by puma and black<br />

bear to any real or personal property. Black<br />

bear damage claims <strong>of</strong>ten included vehicles,<br />

buildings, appliances, etc., as well as<br />

livestock, but puma damage claims have<br />

been restricted to cattle, sheep, or o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

animals. Beginning in 2001, State liability<br />

was limited to agricultural products and<br />

property used in <strong>the</strong> production <strong>of</strong> raw<br />

agricultural products. Liability was also<br />

changed so that <strong>the</strong> State is not liable for<br />

more than $5,000 per animal.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> exception <strong>of</strong> 2000 <strong>the</strong> number<br />

<strong>of</strong> damage claims and <strong>the</strong> cost <strong>of</strong> damage<br />

have declined since 1997 (Figure 5). High<br />

damage costs in 2000 were mostly due to 6<br />

claims for <strong>the</strong> loss <strong>of</strong> 8 exotic domestic<br />

animals such as alpaca, llama, and<br />

250000<br />

225000<br />

200000<br />

175000<br />

150000<br />

125000<br />

100000<br />

75000<br />

50000<br />

25000<br />

0<br />

1979<br />

1981<br />

1983<br />

1985<br />

1987<br />

1989<br />

1991<br />

1993<br />

1995<br />

Sheep Cattle O<strong>the</strong>r Stock<br />

Figure 5. Amount paid on claims for<br />

depredation by puma in Colorado.<br />

1997<br />

1999<br />

2001<br />

COLORADO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Apker 17<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

commercially owned elk. Procedures for<br />

handling damage claims are governed by<br />

statute, regulations, and a game damage<br />

procedures manual.<br />

The State has no specific policy<br />

document providing direction for handling<br />

puma-human conflicts. However, following<br />

a human fatality in 1991, DOW staff<br />

developed procedures that have generally<br />

been adopted. Encounters involving puma<br />

are categorized as sightings, encounter<br />

involving pets, aggressive behavior toward<br />

humans, or attack on humans. Agency<br />

responses to <strong>the</strong>se types <strong>of</strong> encounters vary<br />

from providing education and information to<br />

pursue-kill <strong>the</strong> puma. In <strong>the</strong> past 5 years,<br />

fewer than 5-10 encounters beyond sightings<br />

are documented each year.<br />

On average over <strong>the</strong> past 5 years about<br />

20 puma per year are killed for reasons o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

than hunting. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se, 12 per year, are<br />

control actions on depredating animals. The<br />

remainders are <strong>the</strong> result <strong>of</strong> road kills or<br />

illegal kills. Less than 1 per year on average<br />

are killed due to human safety concerns.<br />

PUMA RESEARCH PROGRAMS<br />

There are no current research<br />

investigations being conducted on puma.<br />

The Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife is in <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong><br />

hiring a research scientist specializing in<br />

carnivores with emphasis on puma initially.


FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION STATUS REPORT<br />

MARK LOTZ, Pan<strong>the</strong>r Section Biologist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,<br />

566 Commercial Blvd., Naples, FL 34104-4709, USA, email: Mark.Lotz@fwc.state.fl.us<br />

E. DARRELL LAND, Pan<strong>the</strong>r Section Leader, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation<br />

Commission, 566 Commercial Blvd., Naples, FL 34104-4709, USA, email:<br />

Darrell.Land@fwc.state.fl.us<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

The Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r (Puma concolor<br />

coryi) has been classified as endangered by<br />

<strong>the</strong> state <strong>of</strong> Florida since 1958 and by <strong>the</strong><br />

federal government since 1967. Formerly,<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs inhabited <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>astern United<br />

States, ranging from sou<strong>the</strong>rn Florida to<br />

Arkansas and northward to Tennessee and<br />

South Carolina. Loss and fragmentation <strong>of</strong><br />

habitat coupled with unregulated killing<br />

over <strong>the</strong> past two centuries have reduced and<br />

isolated <strong>the</strong> pan<strong>the</strong>r to <strong>the</strong> point where only<br />

one population exists on approximately<br />

8,810 km 2 <strong>of</strong> habitat in south Florida (Maehr<br />

1990). The Florida Fish and Wildlife<br />

Conservation Commission (FWC) and <strong>the</strong><br />

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)<br />

are <strong>the</strong> two lead authorities involved in all<br />

aspects <strong>of</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r recovery and<br />

protection. O<strong>the</strong>r agencies involved in<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>r recovery include <strong>the</strong> Florida<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Environmental Protection,<br />

Florida Division <strong>of</strong> Forestry, National Park<br />

Service, South Florida Water Management<br />

District, as well as numerous nongovernmental<br />

organizations such as Florida<br />

Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife<br />

Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Florida Audubon Society. A recovery<br />

plan for <strong>the</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r was written in<br />

1981 with revisions in 1987 and 1995 with<br />

<strong>the</strong> objective <strong>of</strong> achieving three viable selfsustaining<br />

populations within <strong>the</strong> historic<br />

range. FWC initiated intensive research<br />

efforts in 1981 and <strong>the</strong>se studies continue<br />

18<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

today. By <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 2002, FWC has<br />

handled 115 pan<strong>the</strong>rs for radio-telemetry<br />

studies and marked 142 neonate kittens at<br />

dens. FWC and many collaborators have<br />

published more than 200 papers and reports<br />

detailing pan<strong>the</strong>r life history, habitat use,<br />

mortality, dispersal, home range dynamics,<br />

biomedical findings, genetics, population<br />

modeling, and food habits.<br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs are threatened by<br />

demographic instability inherent in small,<br />

geographically isolated populations and<br />

erosion <strong>of</strong> genetic diversity from restricted<br />

gene flow and inbreeding. Genetic diversity<br />

is <strong>the</strong> basis for production <strong>of</strong> fit individuals<br />

as well as providing population elasticity in<br />

order to respond to changing environmental<br />

and habitat conditions. Historically, natural<br />

exchange <strong>of</strong> genetic material occurred<br />

among <strong>the</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r population in <strong>the</strong><br />

sou<strong>the</strong>astern United States and contiguous<br />

populations <strong>of</strong> P. c. cougar to <strong>the</strong> north, P.<br />

c. hippolestes to <strong>the</strong> northwest and P. c.<br />

stanleyana to <strong>the</strong> west (Young and Goldman<br />

1946). Genetic exchange between<br />

populations ceased as <strong>the</strong> coastal plain was<br />

gradually cleared and settled. Florida<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs steadily declined in abundance and<br />

distribution as a result. Inbreeding increased<br />

when potential breeders could no longer<br />

move among fragmented populations and<br />

<strong>the</strong> declining population size compounded<br />

demographic and genetic factors. A<br />

population viability analysis was conducted<br />

in 1992, which predicted <strong>the</strong> extinction <strong>of</strong>


<strong>the</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r within 24-63 years (Seal<br />

1992) and lead to <strong>the</strong> creation <strong>of</strong> A Plan for<br />

Genetic Restoration and Management <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>r (Seal 1994).<br />

Genetic restoration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Florida<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>r was implemented in 1995 with <strong>the</strong><br />

release <strong>of</strong> 8 female Texas cougars (P. c.<br />

stanleyana) into areas occupied by Florida<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs. Five <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 8 cougars produced a<br />

total <strong>of</strong> 20 <strong>of</strong>fspring and many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

<strong>of</strong>fspring have survived and reproduced.<br />

The genetic restoration plan identified a goal<br />

<strong>of</strong> incorporating a 20% introgression <strong>of</strong><br />

Texas puma genes into <strong>the</strong> pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

population and a preliminary assessment<br />

suggested that we may have achieved or<br />

slightly exceeded that level (Land and Lacy<br />

2000). As <strong>of</strong> January 2003, 5 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> original<br />

8 released Texas puma have since died and<br />

<strong>the</strong> remaining 3 females, thought to be<br />

reproductively senescent, were removed<br />

from <strong>the</strong> wild. We will continue monitoring<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>r genetic restoration by comparing<br />

reproductive performance, survival,<br />

phenotypic traits, and genetic characteristics<br />

among Texas and Florida descendants. Our<br />

goal is to develop a long-term management<br />

plan based on our study results to maintain<br />

genetic diversity, health, and long-term<br />

survival <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> south Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

population.<br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs occupy a core range in<br />

south Florida primarily in Collier, Hendry,<br />

Lee, and Dade counties. Major public lands<br />

include Big Cypress National Preserve,<br />

Everglades National Park, Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

National Wildlife Refuge, Fakahatchee<br />

Strand State Preserve, Picayune Strand State<br />

Forest, and Okaloacoochee Slough State<br />

Forest. Large privately held ranches, used<br />

primarily for cattle and crop production, also<br />

constitute some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most important<br />

habitat for pan<strong>the</strong>rs. Verified evidence,<br />

through road-kills, photos, or tracks, has<br />

also been found in Glades, Sarasota, and<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

FLORIDA STATUS REPORT · Lotz and Land 19<br />

Palm Beach Counties within <strong>the</strong> past 2 years<br />

(Land et al. 2002, Shindle et al. 2001).<br />

However, <strong>the</strong>se have all been dispersed or<br />

transient males. No females have been<br />

documented outside <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> core range. One<br />

radio-collared male pan<strong>the</strong>r dispersed a<br />

straight-line distance <strong>of</strong> 224 km from his<br />

natal range (Maehr et al. 2002).<br />

The first Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r was radiocollared<br />

in 1981 by <strong>the</strong> Florida Game and<br />

Fresh Water Fish Commission (renamed to<br />

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation<br />

Commission in 2000). Throughout <strong>the</strong><br />

1980’s <strong>the</strong> population was estimated to be<br />

30-50 adults. The population has been<br />

increasing since about <strong>the</strong> mid 1990’s and<br />

today is estimated to be 80-100 adults. The<br />

release <strong>of</strong> Texas cougars for genetic<br />

restoration purposes in 1995 has contributed<br />

to this increase. Our population estimate is<br />

derived by counting currently radio-collared<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs and tallying observations <strong>of</strong><br />

uncollared pan<strong>the</strong>r sign encountered during<br />

yearly field activities.<br />

DEPREDATIONS AND HUMAN<br />

CONFLICTS<br />

FWC does not have a specific pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

depredation or o<strong>the</strong>r human conflict protocol<br />

in place, but we do have a nuisance black<br />

bear policy that could provide guidance.<br />

The nuisance bear policy involves<br />

addressing <strong>the</strong> source <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> problem,<br />

typically <strong>the</strong> removal or protection <strong>of</strong> bear<br />

attractants, prior to any stepwise progression<br />

<strong>of</strong> capture/handling <strong>of</strong> bears, removals, and<br />

ultimately, euthanasia. There have been no<br />

documented pan<strong>the</strong>r attacks on humans in<br />

Florida with only anecdotal accounts <strong>of</strong><br />

attacks prior to 1900 (Tinsley 1970). FWC<br />

regularly receives complaints about wildlife<br />

attacks on domestic livestock, many <strong>of</strong><br />

which are claimed to be pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

depredations. However, upon investigation,<br />

<strong>the</strong> vast majority <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se incidents involve<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r predators including black bear, bobcat,<br />

fox, raccoon, opossum, coyote, and


20 FLORIDA STATUS REPORT · Lotz and Land<br />

domestic dog. We are aware <strong>of</strong> three valid<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>r depredations that were reported to<br />

FWC. The first involved a pan<strong>the</strong>r that<br />

seized a small dog by <strong>the</strong> head and<br />

subsequently dropped <strong>the</strong> dog alive after <strong>the</strong><br />

owner appeared at <strong>the</strong> door. A second<br />

depredation involved <strong>the</strong> killing <strong>of</strong> small<br />

goats from a rural homeowner’s yard in an<br />

area occupied by pan<strong>the</strong>rs. These<br />

complainants were given advice on how to<br />

protect <strong>the</strong>ir pets/livestock and to date no<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r depredations have been reported.<br />

The last case was more complicated because<br />

it involved pan<strong>the</strong>rs that were taking<br />

advantage <strong>of</strong> a hunting preserve that was<br />

newly created by <strong>the</strong> Seminole Tribe on<br />

tribal lands. Non-native ungulates were<br />

stocked in an area known to be occupied by<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs and predictably, <strong>the</strong> pan<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

preyed upon <strong>the</strong>se ungulates. FWC and <strong>the</strong><br />

USFWS could do very little to address <strong>the</strong>se<br />

depredations because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Endangered<br />

Species Act and because <strong>the</strong> preserve was<br />

developed on areas used by pan<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

Although <strong>the</strong> tribe made a request for<br />

reimbursement <strong>of</strong> losses, no compensation<br />

was provided. Over time, <strong>the</strong> Seminole<br />

Tribe has adjusted <strong>the</strong> type <strong>of</strong> game animals<br />

that are stocked in <strong>the</strong> preserve, primarily<br />

stocking and selling wild hog hunts, and<br />

<strong>the</strong>se lower cost animals that are taken by<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs are less <strong>of</strong> a financial loss than <strong>the</strong><br />

various exotic deer species <strong>the</strong>y once<br />

stocked. Cattle ranchers apparently are<br />

unconcerned about potential pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

depredations based on <strong>the</strong> lack <strong>of</strong><br />

complaints, and FWC food habits work has<br />

revealed that cattle are rarely taken by<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs. The presence <strong>of</strong> feral hogs on<br />

cattle ranches provide an abundant, easily<br />

taken prey base that may obviate <strong>the</strong> need<br />

for pan<strong>the</strong>rs to tackle cattle.<br />

RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS<br />

Current Research<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>r Genetic Restoration and<br />

Management<br />

This has been our focal study since 1995<br />

when 8 female Texas cougars were<br />

released to <strong>of</strong>fset <strong>the</strong> problems <strong>of</strong><br />

inbreeding. Genetic diversity and health<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r population needs<br />

to be restored to ensure survival, even<br />

with adequate habitat conservation and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r enhancement measures. Genetic<br />

restoration is a direct and immediate<br />

action that will restore genetic variability<br />

and vitality for a healthier, more resilient<br />

population. The Plan for Genetic<br />

Restoration and Management <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>r (Seal 1994) called for a<br />

20% introgression level <strong>of</strong> Texas genes<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> population and<br />

preliminary analysis indicates we are on<br />

target. All Texas females have died or<br />

been removed. A minimum <strong>of</strong> 59<br />

intercross animals were produced and it<br />

is assumed that 44 still exist within <strong>the</strong><br />

population. Fifteen are radio-collared.<br />

This study was extended in order to<br />

collect and analyze critical samples from<br />

subsequent generations <strong>of</strong> Texas puma<br />

descendants. Our goal is to develop a<br />

long-term management plan based on<br />

our study results to maintain genetic<br />

diversity, health, and long-term survival<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> south Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r population.<br />

A final report is anticipated next year.<br />

Feasibility <strong>of</strong> Using GPS Radio-collars<br />

on Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

The use <strong>of</strong> GPS technology in wildlife<br />

applications has garnered much interest<br />

in recent years but <strong>the</strong> current state <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> technology and its applicability to<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs has yet to be determined.<br />

Among <strong>the</strong> objectives <strong>of</strong> this study are to<br />

compare and evaluate GPS and aerial<br />

telemetry relocations, calculate <strong>the</strong><br />

percentage <strong>of</strong> successful GPS<br />

relocations, and evaluate <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> GPS<br />

collars on Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs and make


ecommendations for future use. We<br />

placed 4 GPS collars from Telemetry<br />

Solutions (1130 Burnett Avenue, Suite J,<br />

Concord, CA 94520) on pan<strong>the</strong>rs during<br />

our 2001-2002 capture season. Two<br />

were Posrec collars that stored data on<br />

board until <strong>the</strong> collar was retrieved and<br />

<strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r two were Simplex units that<br />

had <strong>the</strong> ability to transmit data for<br />

remote downloads as well as store-onboard<br />

capabilities. Additionally, each<br />

collar was equipped with a VHF beacon<br />

in order to detect and recover carcasses,<br />

pinpoint and visit dens, and enable<br />

comparisons between GPS locations and<br />

aerial VHF relocations. Each pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

equipped with a GPS collar was located<br />

thrice weekly during our regularly<br />

scheduled telemetry flights. All GPS<br />

collars have been recovered and we are<br />

currently evaluating data and<br />

performance. Two pan<strong>the</strong>rs wearing<br />

Posrec collars died 7 months after<br />

deployment, one Simplex model<br />

failed completely after only 4 months,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> remaining Simplex’s main<br />

battery failed after 6 months, disrupting<br />

GPS capabilities, but VHF function was<br />

maintained through <strong>the</strong> back-up battery.<br />

A final report is scheduled to be<br />

completed by <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 2003.<br />

Feasibility <strong>of</strong> Using Remote Cameras to<br />

Survey Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> what is known about Florida<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs, including population<br />

demographics, has come from radiotelemetry<br />

studies over <strong>the</strong> past 20 years.<br />

However, standardized survey<br />

techniques that estimate pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

population parameters with associated<br />

measures <strong>of</strong> statistical confidence and<br />

that document significant changes in<br />

<strong>the</strong>se parameters over time have not<br />

been applied. The objective <strong>of</strong> this study<br />

is to assess whe<strong>the</strong>r infrared-triggered<br />

camera surveys for pan<strong>the</strong>rs provide<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

FLORIDA STATUS REPORT · Lotz and Land 21<br />

adequate data for inclusion into capturerecapture<br />

models based on <strong>the</strong> Lincoln-<br />

Peterson estimator. Remote camera<br />

surveys could complement existing labor<br />

and cost-intensive survey methodology<br />

to provide a more accurate estimate <strong>of</strong><br />

pan<strong>the</strong>r population parameters and<br />

document significant changes in <strong>the</strong>se<br />

parameters over time. Passive infrared<br />

cameras (Cam Trakker, CamTrak<br />

South Inc., Watkinsville, GA) were<br />

deployed systematically on two areas<br />

within <strong>the</strong> current occupied range <strong>of</strong><br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs. The Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

National Wildlife Refuge provided an<br />

opportunity to assess camera survey<br />

methodology in a core area with a<br />

sample population <strong>of</strong> radio-collared and<br />

uncollared pan<strong>the</strong>rs. Long Pine Key<br />

within Everglades National Park<br />

provided an opportunity to assess<br />

camera survey methodology in a quasigeographically<br />

closed population <strong>of</strong><br />

radio-collared and uncollared pan<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

Cameras were systematically placed in<br />

each study area and trials <strong>of</strong> 15 and 30<br />

days were run with 15 and 30 cameras<br />

per session. Field work was completed<br />

in 2002 and a final report is expected<br />

later this year.<br />

Feasibility <strong>of</strong> Extracting Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

DNA from Scats<br />

Pan<strong>the</strong>r scats could potentially <strong>of</strong>fer <strong>the</strong><br />

safest and most cost effective tool for<br />

censussing numbers <strong>of</strong> pan<strong>the</strong>rs,<br />

measuring population genetic health, and<br />

identifying origins <strong>of</strong> Puma sign found<br />

outside <strong>of</strong> core pan<strong>the</strong>r areas. The<br />

purpose <strong>of</strong> this study is to evaluate <strong>the</strong><br />

use <strong>of</strong> pan<strong>the</strong>r scats as a source <strong>of</strong> DNA<br />

samples for on-going genetic<br />

monitoring. Existing tissue samples<br />

were used to calibrate and verify <strong>the</strong><br />

utility <strong>of</strong> extracting and analyzing DNA<br />

from scats. Scat collection routes were<br />

established along existing trails on four


22 FLORIDA STATUS REPORT · Lotz and Land<br />

areas and regularly surveyed by ATV.<br />

Over 400 km <strong>of</strong> trail were surveyed with<br />

scats encountered every 45 km on<br />

average. Additionally, scats were<br />

collected opportunistically during o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

field activities. Results are currently still<br />

being analyzed but microsatellite<br />

amplification <strong>of</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r DNA<br />

was successfully extracted in 60% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

samples. Although collecting pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

scat is labor intensive, utilizing DNA<br />

extracted from Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r scat holds<br />

promise as an unobtrusive technique to<br />

monitor <strong>the</strong> genetic health and individual<br />

makeup <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> population. A final report<br />

will be completed later this year.<br />

Pan<strong>the</strong>r Peripheral Area Survey<br />

The only verified breeding population <strong>of</strong><br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs is in <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

portion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state, south <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Caloosahatchee River and Lake<br />

Okeechobee, in <strong>the</strong> Big Cypress and<br />

Everglades physiographic regions. This<br />

population has been growing since <strong>the</strong><br />

mid 1990’s and so far 3 radio-collared<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs have crossed <strong>the</strong> river.<br />

Additionally, three uncollared pan<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

have been verified north <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> river in<br />

recent years: two by tracks and/or<br />

photos, <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r was road-killed. All <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se have been males that dispersed<br />

from <strong>the</strong> core population. Only three are<br />

presumed to still be alive. Since resident<br />

male pan<strong>the</strong>rs typically encompass<br />

several females within <strong>the</strong>ir territory it is<br />

hypo<strong>the</strong>sized that searching <strong>the</strong>se ranges<br />

will afford <strong>the</strong> best opportunity <strong>of</strong><br />

finding o<strong>the</strong>r pan<strong>the</strong>rs if <strong>the</strong>y exist. This<br />

5-year study to determine <strong>the</strong> occurrence<br />

and status <strong>of</strong> pan<strong>the</strong>rs on peripheral<br />

areas <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir presently known range has<br />

entered its final year. Systematic sign<br />

surveys have been conducted in areas<br />

where two male pan<strong>the</strong>rs had established<br />

territories. No sign <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r pan<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

was found. A final report is scheduled<br />

for 2003.<br />

Effect <strong>of</strong> Genetic Introgression on<br />

Prevalence and Intensity <strong>of</strong><br />

Gastrointestinal Helminth Infections in<br />

Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

The effects <strong>of</strong> genetic restoration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r are being examined on<br />

many fronts. Complementing o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

projects, this study will indirectly assess<br />

<strong>the</strong> suspected improvement in immune<br />

function in intergrades by comparing<br />

gastrointestinal tract parasite burdens to<br />

that seen in original Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

Concurrently we will assess <strong>the</strong> efficacy<br />

<strong>of</strong> field an<strong>the</strong>lmintic treatment <strong>of</strong><br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs. Before introgression,<br />

gastrointestinal parasite burdens were<br />

assessed in 11original Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

Gastrointestinal tracts from a minimum<br />

<strong>of</strong> 7 pan<strong>the</strong>rs descended from Texas<br />

puma will be assessed by 2005 at which<br />

time a final report will be prepared.<br />

RECENT PUBLICATIONS<br />

CUNNINGHAM, M.W., M.R. DUNBAR, C.D.<br />

BUERGELT, B. HOMER, M. ROELKE-<br />

PARKER, S.K. TAYLOR, R. KING, S.B.<br />

CITINO, AND C. GLASS. 1999. Atrial<br />

septal defects in <strong>the</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Diseases 35(3): 519-<br />

530.<br />

DEES, C.S., J.D. CLARK, AND F.T. VAN<br />

MANEN. 2001. Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r habitat<br />

use in response to prescribed fire.<br />

Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Management 65:141-<br />

147.<br />

DUNBAR, M.R., M.W. CUNNINGHAM, AND<br />

S.T. LINDA. 1999. Vitamin A<br />

Concentrations in Serum and Liver from<br />

Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>rs. Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife<br />

Diseases 35(2): 171-177.<br />

JANIS, M.W. AND J.D. CLARK. 2002.<br />

Response <strong>of</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs to<br />

recreational deer and hog hunting.


Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Management.<br />

66:839-848.<br />

KRAMER, P.C. AND K.M. PORTIER. 2001.<br />

Modeling Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r movements in<br />

response to human attributes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

landscape and ecological settings.<br />

Ecological Modeling 140:51-80.<br />

LAND, E.D., D.R. GARMIN, AND G.A. HOLT.<br />

1998. Monitoring female Florida<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs via cellular telephone. Wildlife<br />

Society Bulletin. 26(1): 29-31.<br />

LAND, E.D. AND R.C. LACY. 2000.<br />

Introgression level achieved through<br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r genetic restoration.<br />

Endangered Species Update 17: 99-103.<br />

MAEHR, D.S. 1998. The Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r in<br />

modern mythology. Natural Areas<br />

Journal. 18(2): 179-184.<br />

MAEHR, D.S. AND J.P. DEASON. 2002.<br />

Wide-ranging carnivores and<br />

development permits: constructing a<br />

multi-scale model to evaluate impacts on<br />

<strong>the</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r. Clean Technologies<br />

and Environmental Policy. 3:398-406.<br />

MAEHR, D.S., R.C. LACY, E.D. LAND, O.L.<br />

BASS, JR., AND T.S. HOCTOR. 2002.<br />

Evolution <strong>of</strong> population viability<br />

assessments for <strong>the</strong> Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r: a<br />

multiperspective approach. Pages 284-<br />

311 in: Population Viability Analysis.<br />

University <strong>of</strong> Chicago Press, Chicago.<br />

MAEHR, D.S., E.D. LAND, D.B. SHINDLE,<br />

O.L. BASS, AND T.S. HOCTOR. 2002.<br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r dispersal and<br />

conservation. Biological Conservation<br />

106:187-197.<br />

MANSFIELD, K.G. AND E.D. LAND. 2002.<br />

Cryptorchidism in Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs:<br />

prevalence, features, and effects <strong>of</strong><br />

genetic restoration. Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife<br />

Diseases 38(4):693-698.<br />

ROTSTEIN, D.S., S. TAYLOR, J. HARVEY, J.<br />

BEAN. 1999. Hematologic effects <strong>of</strong><br />

Cytauxzoonosis in Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>rs and<br />

Texas Cougars in Florida. Journal <strong>of</strong><br />

Wildlife Diseases 35(3): 613-617.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

FLORIDA STATUS REPORT · Lotz and Land 23<br />

ROTSTEIN, D.S., R. THOMAS, K. HELMICK,<br />

S. CITINO, S. TAYLOR, M. DUNBAR.<br />

1999. Dermatophyte infections in freeranging<br />

Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>rs (Felis concolor<br />

coryi). Journal <strong>of</strong> Zoo and Wildlife<br />

Medicine 30(2): 281-284.<br />

ROTSTEIN, D.S., S.K. TAYLOR, J. BRADLEY,<br />

AND E.B. BREITSCHWERDT. 2000.<br />

Prevalence <strong>of</strong> Bartonella henselae<br />

antibody in Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs. Journal <strong>of</strong><br />

Wildlife Diseases 36(1):157-160.<br />

ROTSTEIN, D.S., S.K. TAYLOR, A.<br />

BIRKENHAUER, M. ROELKE-PARKER,<br />

AND B.L. HOMER. 2002. Retrospective<br />

study <strong>of</strong> proliferative papillary vulvitis<br />

in Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs. Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife<br />

Diseases 38:115-123.<br />

TAYLOR, S.K., E.D. LAND, M. LOTZ, M.<br />

ROELKE-PARKER, S.B. CITINO, AND D.<br />

ROTSTEIN. 1998. Anes<strong>the</strong>sia <strong>of</strong> freeranging<br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>rs, 1981-1998.<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> American Association <strong>of</strong><br />

Zoo Veterinarians, Omaha, Nebraska.<br />

TAYLOR, S.K., C.D. BUERGELT, M.E.<br />

ROELKE-PARKER, B.L. HOMER, AND<br />

D.S. ROTSTEIN. 2002. Causes <strong>of</strong><br />

mortality <strong>of</strong> free-ranging Florida<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs. Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Diseases<br />

38:107-114.<br />

LITERATURE CITED<br />

LAND, D., M. CUNNINGHAM, R. MCBRIDE,<br />

D. SHINDLE, AND M. LOTZ. 2002.<br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r genetic restoration and<br />

management. Annual Report 2001-<br />

2002. Florida Fish and Wildlife<br />

Conservation Commission, Tallahassee.<br />

111pp.<br />

LAND, E.D. AND R.C. LACY. 2000.<br />

Introgression level achieved through<br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r genetic restoration.<br />

Endangered Species Update 17: 99-103.<br />

MAEHR, D.S. 1990. The Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

and private lands. Conservation Biology<br />

4(2): 167-170.<br />

MAEHR, D.S., E.D. LAND, D.B. SHINDLE,<br />

O.L. BASS, AND T.S. HOCTOR. 2002.


24 FLORIDA STATUS REPORT · Lotz and Land<br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r dispersal and<br />

conservation. Biological Conservation<br />

106:187-197.<br />

SEAL, U.S., AND WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS.<br />

1992. Genetic management strategies<br />

and population viability <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Florida<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>r. Yulee, Florida: U.S. Fish and<br />

Wildlife Service.<br />

SEAL, U.S., editor. 1994. A plan for genetic<br />

restoration and management <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r (Felis concolor coryi).<br />

Conservation Breeding Specialist Group,<br />

Apple Valley, MN. 24pp.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

SHINDLE, D., D. LAND, M. CUNNINGHAM,<br />

AND M. LOTZ. 2001. Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r<br />

genetic restoration and management.<br />

Annual Report 2000-2001. Florida Fish<br />

and Wildlife Conservation Commission,<br />

Tallahassee. 102pp.<br />

TINSLEY, J.B. 1970. The Florida Pan<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Great Outdoors Publishing Company.<br />

St. Petersburg, FL.<br />

YOUNG, S.P. AND E.A. GOLDMAN. 1946.<br />

The puma – mysterious American cat.<br />

Dover Publications, Inc., New York.<br />

385pp.


IDAHO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

STEVE NADEAU, Wildlife Staff Biologist, Idaho Department <strong>of</strong> Fish and Game, 600 South<br />

Walnut, Box 25, Boise, Idaho 83707, USA, email: snadeau@idfg.state.id.us<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

<strong>Lion</strong>s were classified as big game<br />

animals in 1972. The 1990 <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong><br />

Management Plan, called for <strong>the</strong> reduction<br />

in harvest <strong>of</strong> female lions, and maintain a<br />

harvest <strong>of</strong> approximately 250 lions<br />

statewide. However, lion harvest peaked<br />

statewide in 1998 when 798 lions were<br />

harvested. Consequently, a new lion plan<br />

was developed to address <strong>the</strong> changes in <strong>the</strong><br />

populations and allow more hunting<br />

opportunity. Idaho completed <strong>the</strong> latest<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Management Plan in 2002.<br />

The lion plan called for maintaining current<br />

lion distribution statewide as a goal.<br />

However, individual regions may adjust<br />

harvest to ei<strong>the</strong>r increase or decrease<br />

populations depending upon <strong>the</strong> objectives<br />

for that area. Seasons were made more<br />

lenient, running from August 30 – March 31<br />

in most units. In some areas, 2-lion bag<br />

limits were initiated. Hounds were allowed<br />

in most units, and non-resident hound<br />

hunting was expanded. Female quotas were<br />

still used in most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

state.<br />

HISTORY<br />

The legal status and public perception <strong>of</strong><br />

mountain lions in Idaho has changed over<br />

time. In <strong>the</strong> late 1800’s and early 1900’s,<br />

mountain lions and o<strong>the</strong>r predators such as<br />

wolf, coyote, grizzly and black bears were<br />

perceived as significant threats to livestock<br />

and human interests and were systematically<br />

destroyed. Between 1915 and 1941, hunters<br />

employed cooperatively by <strong>the</strong> State,<br />

livestock associations, and <strong>the</strong> Federal<br />

25<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

Government killed 251 mountain lions in<br />

Idaho; <strong>the</strong> take by private individuals is not<br />

known. During <strong>the</strong> period 1945-1958,<br />

bounties were paid for mountain lions in<br />

Idaho with an annual average <strong>of</strong> 80<br />

mountain lions turned in for payment<br />

(Figure 1). The 1953-54 winter period<br />

yielded <strong>the</strong> highest recorded bounty harvest<br />

<strong>of</strong> 144 mountain lions (Figure 1). Bounty<br />

payments ranged from $50 in <strong>the</strong> early<br />

1950’s to $25 per lion during <strong>the</strong> last 4 years<br />

<strong>of</strong> payments.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion sport harvest became<br />

increasingly popular after 1958. Average<br />

annual harvest was estimated at 142 lions<br />

from 1960 through 1971 (Figure 2). During<br />

this period <strong>the</strong>re were no restrictions or<br />

regulations on <strong>the</strong> harvest <strong>of</strong> mountain lions.<br />

An estimated 303 lions were harvested<br />

during <strong>the</strong> 1971-72 season.<br />

Research conducted by Maurice<br />

Hornocker in <strong>the</strong> Frank Church River <strong>of</strong> No-<br />

Number <strong>of</strong> <strong>Lion</strong>s Killed<br />

160<br />

140<br />

120<br />

100<br />

80<br />

60<br />

40<br />

20<br />

0<br />

1950<br />

1951<br />

1952<br />

1953<br />

1954<br />

1955<br />

1956<br />

1957<br />

1958<br />

1959<br />

Figure 1. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion bounty records,<br />

1950 – 1959. From 1950-1954 bounty was $50<br />

per lion; 1955-1959 <strong>the</strong> bounty was $25 per<br />

lion.


26 IDAHO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Nadeau<br />

<strong>Lion</strong> Harvest<br />

350<br />

300<br />

250<br />

200<br />

150<br />

100<br />

50<br />

0<br />

1960<br />

1962<br />

1964<br />

1966<br />

1968<br />

1970<br />

1972<br />

1974<br />

1976<br />

Unregulated Harvest Regulated<br />

1978<br />

1980<br />

Figure 2. Unregulated mountain lion harvest<br />

from 1960-71, and regulated harvest from<br />

1972 -1981.<br />

Return Wilderness from 1964-1973 added<br />

significantly to our knowledge. As a result<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> research, <strong>the</strong> mountain lion was<br />

reclassified as a big game species in 1972.<br />

Harvest was <strong>the</strong>n able to be regulated and<br />

resulted in some closed units, bag limits, and<br />

shortened seasons. Mandatory reporting<br />

was started in 1973, and a tag has been<br />

required since 1975.<br />

Populations <strong>of</strong> elk and deer continued to<br />

increase across <strong>the</strong> state during <strong>the</strong> 1980’s<br />

and early 1990’s, and <strong>the</strong> resulting mountain<br />

lion population did as well. The apparent<br />

increase in lion populations allowed <strong>the</strong><br />

department to increase opportunity for<br />

harvest. Harvest continued to increase as a<br />

result <strong>of</strong> liberalized seasons and increased<br />

populations and peaked in 1997 (Figure 3).<br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

<strong>Lion</strong>s were distributed across most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

suitable habitat in <strong>the</strong> state (Figure 4).<br />

Management tended to keep lion<br />

populations at a low density in developed<br />

areas or areas with high road density.<br />

However, most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> areas that received<br />

high harvest lay adjacent to lightly roaded<br />

reservoir areas that seemed to continue to<br />

provide dispersing animals. Distribution<br />

900<br />

800<br />

700<br />

600<br />

500<br />

400<br />

300<br />

200<br />

100<br />

0<br />

1982<br />

1984<br />

1986<br />

1988<br />

1990<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Harvest<br />

1992<br />

Year<br />

1994<br />

1996<br />

1998<br />

2000<br />

<strong>Lion</strong> Harvest<br />

Figure 3. Statewide mountain lion harvest.<br />

The year on <strong>the</strong> x-axis represents <strong>the</strong> date <strong>the</strong><br />

season started, i.e. seasons run from fall<br />

through spring.<br />

Figure 4. Statewide mountain lion harvest by<br />

management unit and lion DAU where<br />

rankings are based on lions harvested/100mi 2<br />

where very low=. 03, low=. 3-.5, moderate=.<br />

6-1.0, high=1.1-2.0, and very high=2.6-3.0.<br />

The shaded units have female lion quotas.


appeared to be somewhat stable, though<br />

overall abundance may be declining.<br />

Population estimates have not been<br />

made for Idaho in recent years, though some<br />

radio collaring mortality information in<br />

Idaho indicated a high rate <strong>of</strong> sustainable<br />

harvest in some areas. Given an estimated<br />

harvest rate statewide <strong>of</strong> approximately<br />

15%, we would estimate approximately<br />

4,600 lions (+ 2,000). Research has been<br />

ongoing to attempt to develop a population<br />

index, however, nothing has been finalized<br />

(Zager et al. 2002). All lions harvested must<br />

be reported. Pelts were tagged and a<br />

premolar was removed for aging. Prior to<br />

2000, lion ages were estimated using tooth<br />

drop measurements. Based on various tests,<br />

tooth sectioning replaced tooth drop as a<br />

more reliable estimate <strong>of</strong> age and has been<br />

used since 2000. For data analysis purposes,<br />

units were grouped by similar characteristics<br />

into Data Analysis Units (DAUs). Age data<br />

and harvest rates were used to attempt to<br />

identify population trends for a lion by<br />

DAU. Populations modeling using <strong>the</strong>se<br />

harvest data were used to estimate<br />

population demographics and relative<br />

abundance.<br />

<strong>Lion</strong> densities were highest in <strong>the</strong><br />

nor<strong>the</strong>rn part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state where white-tailed<br />

deer and elk were common. Harvest by<br />

DAU size was used to standardize and<br />

compare lion harvest rates and estimated<br />

lion abundance (Figure 4).<br />

HARVEST INFORMATION<br />

There were 99 big game management<br />

units in Idaho, which were grouped into 18<br />

mountain lion management DAUs (Figure<br />

4). The sou<strong>the</strong>rn part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state was<br />

predominantly managed under a female<br />

quota system, and <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

state was mostly general hunts with most<br />

seasons running from August 30 – March<br />

31. Quotas and seasons were set by unit or<br />

DAU, usually based on historical harvest<br />

rates, big game objectives, depredations,<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

IDAHO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Nadeau 27<br />

perceived lion population condition, lion<br />

hunter success rates and perceptions, public<br />

input, and commission desires.<br />

Biological objectives for lions were not<br />

well established by DAU, though age data<br />

were collected on all lions harvested. A<br />

minimum <strong>of</strong> 20% males 5+ years <strong>of</strong> age in<br />

<strong>the</strong> harvest was established as a test<br />

objective in some DAUs to adaptively<br />

manage populations by attempting to grow<br />

or reduce populations through harvest<br />

management, and monitor resultant age<br />

structures in <strong>the</strong> harvest. Regional wildlife<br />

managers in <strong>the</strong> state were given a great deal<br />

<strong>of</strong> flexibility to be able to set objectives for a<br />

given DAU. <strong>Lion</strong> harvest increased steadily<br />

through <strong>the</strong> 1980’s and 1990’s and peaked at<br />

798 mountain lions harvested in 1997. <strong>Lion</strong><br />

harvest declined in most areas <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state<br />

following <strong>the</strong> 1997 season despite a<br />

liberalized lion hunting season in most <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> state (Figure 3).<br />

Hunting with hounds accounted for<br />

about 80% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> annual lion harvest in<br />

Idaho. The rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> harvest occurred<br />

incidentally to o<strong>the</strong>r big game hunting<br />

(13%), spot and stalk (5%), or predator<br />

calling (1%). The use <strong>of</strong> electronic calls<br />

was allowed in 2 management units where<br />

predation was a concern and access was<br />

limited. Dogs were prohibited through<br />

much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> general deer and elk rifle<br />

seasons. Pursuit with dogs was allowed in<br />

units with female quotas once <strong>the</strong> quota was<br />

reached. In a few <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se units, hunting for<br />

males was allowed once <strong>the</strong> female quota<br />

was reached.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion tag sales increased 25%<br />

from 1998–2002, and in 2002 were at an all<br />

time high <strong>of</strong> 20,640 total tags sold (Table 1).<br />

Reduced prices, increased nonresident sales<br />

<strong>of</strong> special tags, and liberalized seasons and<br />

nonresident hound hunter regulations all<br />

added to increased sales. Additionally, in<br />

some parts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state outfitters were<br />

engaged to increase harvest <strong>of</strong> lions to help


28 IDAHO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Nadeau<br />

Table 1. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion tag sales in Idaho<br />

from 1998 through 2002.<br />

Year Resident<br />

Tags<br />

Nonresident<br />

Tags<br />

Total<br />

Tags<br />

Sold<br />

1998 16,196 351 16,547<br />

1999 17,072 813 17,885<br />

2000 18,369 961 19,330<br />

2001 18,561 888 19,449<br />

2002 19,757 883 20,640<br />

reduce predation problems on elk and<br />

bighorn sheep.<br />

DEPREDATIONS AND HUMAN<br />

CONFLICTS<br />

Currently, Idaho law allows for killing<br />

lions or bears that are in <strong>the</strong> act <strong>of</strong><br />

“molesting” livestock. This law also<br />

requires that lions killed in this fashion need<br />

to be reported to <strong>the</strong> Department. Idaho law<br />

also allows lions that are perceived as<br />

threats to human safety to be killed.<br />

Department policy provides that lions that<br />

have caused problems or have depredated<br />

should be captured and euthanized. Most<br />

depredations are reported to U.S. Wildlife<br />

Services and <strong>the</strong>y handle <strong>the</strong> removal.<br />

Policy also provides that lions that present a<br />

threat due to proximity to residential<br />

housing or o<strong>the</strong>r area <strong>of</strong> human habituation<br />

or activity should be moved or chased in a<br />

preemptive fashion. Depending on <strong>the</strong><br />

circumstance, if <strong>the</strong> animal has become<br />

habituated or caused problems, <strong>the</strong> lion can<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

be destroyed. Orphaned kittens are not<br />

rehabilitated for release back into <strong>the</strong> wild.<br />

Idaho averaged 3-4 safety related<br />

complaints annually from 1998-2002 and<br />

about 50% required capture or removal <strong>of</strong> a<br />

lion. There has been 1-recorded human<br />

injury in Idaho caused by lions, and that<br />

occurred in 1999 to a 13-year-old boy.<br />

<strong>Lion</strong> related depredations that required<br />

compensation averaged about 1-2 per year.<br />

Average annual compensation form 1998-<br />

2002 was $4717 for lion depredations on<br />

livestock. During that same time, 46 lions<br />

were removed due to depredation situations.<br />

RESEARCH<br />

The Department has been researching<br />

techniques for population monitoring in<br />

north central Idaho by conducting aerial<br />

track surveys (Gratson and Zager 2000), and<br />

a mark-recapture technique using rub<br />

stations and biopsy darts (Zager et al. 2002).<br />

These efforts are still preliminary in nature.<br />

LITERATURE CITED<br />

GRATSON, M.W., AND P. ZAGER. 2000. Elk<br />

ecology. Study IV. Factors influencing<br />

elk calf recruitment. Job No. 2. Calf<br />

mortality causes and rates. Federal Aid<br />

in Wildlife Restoration, Job Progress<br />

Report, W-160-R-26. Idaho Department<br />

<strong>of</strong> Fish and Game, Boise.<br />

ZAGER, P., M.W. GRATSON, AND C. WHITE.<br />

2002. Elk ecology. Study IV. Factors<br />

influencing elk calf recruitment. Job No.<br />

2. Calf mortality causes and rates.<br />

Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, Job<br />

Progress Report. W-160-R-29. Idaho<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Fish and Game, Boise.


MONTANA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

RICH DeSIMONE, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 1420 East Sixth Avenue, Helena, MT<br />

59620, USA, email: rdesimone@state.mt.us<br />

ROSE JAFFE, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 1420 East Sixth Avenue, Helena, MT 59620,<br />

USA, email: rjaffe@state.mt.us<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions in Montana are classified<br />

as a big game species. Overall management<br />

direction is provided in <strong>the</strong> Montana Fish,<br />

Wildlife & Parks’ (MFWP) 1996<br />

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) –<br />

Management <strong>of</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong>s in<br />

Montana. According to <strong>the</strong> EIS, objectives<br />

concerning lion management are “… to<br />

maintain mountain lion and prey<br />

populations, to maintain mountain lion<br />

populations at levels that are compatible<br />

with outdoor recreational desires, and to<br />

minimize human-lion conflicts and livestock<br />

depredation”.<br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

Figure 1. Montana mountain lion hunting districts.<br />

29<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions are currently distributed<br />

over approximately 75% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state. <strong>Lion</strong>s<br />

have filled habitats in western and central<br />

Montana and are continuing to expand in <strong>the</strong><br />

eastern part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state. Montana does not<br />

estimate lion populations, however, trends<br />

are monitored through harvest/mortality<br />

data, tooth age information, damage/conflict<br />

reports, and information from houndsmen.<br />

HARVEST INFORMATION<br />

<strong>Lion</strong> harvest objectives are guided by<br />

balancing concern for human safety and<br />

demand for sport hunting. Montana’s 155<br />

deer and elk hunting districts are combined<br />

into 74 mountain lion hunting districts<br />

(Figure 1).


30 MONTANA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · DeSimone and Jaffe<br />

Table 1. Montana lion hunting statistics, 1998-2002.<br />

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002<br />

License sales<br />

Resident 5421 5886 5138 5116 6337<br />

Non-resident 510 519 493 421 281<br />

Total 5931 6405 5631 5537 6618<br />

<strong>Lion</strong> Quota<br />

Harvest<br />

868 758 661 620 581<br />

Female 417 335 293 252 188<br />

Male 351 319 291 257 219<br />

Unknown 8 0 0 0 0<br />

Total 776 654 584 509 407<br />

Harvest is regulated through quotas and<br />

only one lion can be taken per hunter per<br />

year. Quotas include any lion, male and<br />

female, and female sub quotas. During <strong>the</strong><br />

fall hunting season (last week <strong>of</strong> Oct<br />

through Nov), <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> dogs is not<br />

allowed. Harvest during <strong>the</strong> fall season has<br />

been in affect for 4 years and less than 10<br />

lions were harvested each year (Table 1).<br />

Hunting with dogs is allowed during <strong>the</strong><br />

winter season (Dec 1 – Apr 14) and accounts<br />

for over 95% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> harvest. Licensed<br />

hunters are also allowed to chase lions<br />

during <strong>the</strong> winter season. Recent legislation<br />

will allow <strong>the</strong> purchase <strong>of</strong> non-harvest chase<br />

licenses.<br />

DEPREDATIONS AND HUMAN<br />

INTERACTION/CONFLICTS<br />

MFWP’s <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Depredation<br />

Table 2. Montana mountain lion incidents and removals, 1998-2002.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

and Control Guidelines are used to deal with<br />

different types <strong>of</strong> incidents. Depending on<br />

<strong>the</strong> situation, management actions include<br />

education, relocation, and removal (Table<br />

2). Montana does not pay for losses<br />

attributed to lions.<br />

RESEARCH<br />

Garnet <strong>Mountain</strong>s – <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong><br />

Research, 1998 – present.<br />

The goal is to document <strong>the</strong> influence <strong>of</strong><br />

hunting on population characteristics and<br />

evaluate <strong>the</strong> ability <strong>of</strong> various survey<br />

techniques to detect trends in lion<br />

abundance.<br />

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002<br />

Incidents 1<br />

Public safety 41 18 37 30 20<br />

Depredation 2 58 44 35 37 29<br />

Total<br />

Removals<br />

99 62 72 67 49<br />

Public safety 20 2 3 5 2<br />

Depredation 30 20 20 11 14<br />

Total 50 22 23 16 16<br />

1<br />

Incident: A conflict between a human and lion that may have serious results (i.e. a lion killing a dog or a lion that must be<br />

forced to back down).<br />

2<br />

Depredation: Includes death <strong>of</strong> pets and death and injury <strong>of</strong> livestock.


NEVADA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

RUSSELL WOOLSTENHULME, Nevada Department <strong>of</strong> Conservation & Natural Resources,<br />

1100 Valley View Road, Reno, NV 89512, USA, email: rwoolstenhulme@ndow.org<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

The Nevada Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife<br />

completed its Comprehensive <strong>Mountain</strong><br />

<strong>Lion</strong> Management Plan in January 1995.<br />

The Nevada Board <strong>of</strong> Wildlife<br />

Commissioners approved <strong>the</strong> plan in<br />

October <strong>of</strong> that year. The plan is scheduled<br />

for revision during 2003.<br />

The goals and objectives <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mountain<br />

lion plan are to maintain lion distribution in<br />

reasonable densities throughout Nevada, to<br />

control mountain lions creating a public<br />

safety hazard or causing property damage,<br />

and to provide recreational, educational and<br />

scientific use opportunities <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mountain<br />

lion resource. Additional goals include<br />

maintaining a balance between mountain<br />

lions and <strong>the</strong>ir prey, and finally to manage<br />

mountain lions as a metapopulation.<br />

The mountain lion’s legal classification<br />

in Nevada was changed by regulation from<br />

unprotected (predator) to game animal in<br />

1965. The change in classification resulted<br />

in <strong>the</strong> requirement <strong>of</strong> a valid hunting license<br />

to hunt mountain lion, along with some<br />

restrictions in <strong>the</strong> method <strong>of</strong> take. This<br />

provision precluded <strong>the</strong> taking <strong>of</strong> lions at<br />

any time o<strong>the</strong>r than from sunrise to sunset<br />

and it also defined legal weapons as<br />

shotgun, rifle, or bow and arrow. The<br />

season was defined as ei<strong>the</strong>r sex, yearround,<br />

and no limit was set nor was a tag<br />

required. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion harvest<br />

management has changed substantially from<br />

1965 to <strong>the</strong> present.<br />

In 1968, a tag requirement was<br />

instituted, and although no limits were<br />

established, it became possible to record<br />

31<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

sport hunter harvest. Ano<strong>the</strong>r major change<br />

occurred in 1970, when a limit <strong>of</strong> one lion<br />

per person was set, and a six-month season<br />

was established. During that year, <strong>the</strong><br />

requirement that all harvested lions be<br />

validated by a representative <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Department within five days after <strong>the</strong> kill<br />

was also established. This regulation<br />

presented <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>the</strong> first real<br />

opportunity to collect biological data from<br />

<strong>the</strong> mountain lion.<br />

In 1972, <strong>the</strong> Nevada Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Wildlife initiated a study <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mountain<br />

lion as a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ruby-Butte deer project<br />

in eastern Nevada. The objective was to<br />

determine <strong>the</strong> status <strong>of</strong> lion populations<br />

within this high-density deer area, and, to<br />

evaluate <strong>the</strong>m in relation to deer<br />

populations. Within two years, this<br />

objective was changed to: a) establish<br />

population estimates <strong>of</strong> mountain lions by<br />

mountain range or management area<br />

statewide, b) establish basic habitat<br />

requirements, c) establish a harvest<br />

management program. From that period on,<br />

increased emphasis was placed upon lion<br />

capture and marking with <strong>the</strong> more<br />

sophisticated telemetry devices which were<br />

being manufactured. This program involved<br />

lion monitoring from both land and air and<br />

was instrumental in expanding our life<br />

history information base, as well as<br />

providing an approach toward estimating <strong>the</strong><br />

annual population status in key mountain<br />

ranges. The findings from this study were<br />

<strong>the</strong>n utilized in formulating an approach<br />

toward estimating statewide lion<br />

populations. This ten (10) year study formed


32 NEVADA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Woolstenhulme<br />

<strong>the</strong> basics for most management activities<br />

that have been implemented since<br />

publication <strong>of</strong> this study in 1983.<br />

In 1976, 26 mountain lion management<br />

areas were described statewide, and a<br />

harvest quota established for each to control<br />

<strong>the</strong> sport harvest. This “Controlled Quota<br />

Hunt” was <strong>the</strong> most restrictive season ever<br />

established for mountain lion in Nevada.<br />

In 1979, <strong>the</strong> “Controlled Quota Hunt”<br />

was modified utilizing six management<br />

areas whereby a harvest objective was<br />

established which allowed <strong>the</strong> hunting <strong>of</strong><br />

lions in each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> six areas until <strong>the</strong><br />

predetermined number <strong>of</strong> lion were taken.<br />

In 1981, <strong>the</strong> “Harvest Objective” hunting<br />

season concept was applied statewide.<br />

Initially this system required a hunter to<br />

obtain a free hunt permit for <strong>the</strong> opportunity<br />

to hunt in one (1) management area. In<br />

1994, hunters were allowed to obtain a free<br />

hunt permit that authorized <strong>the</strong> hunter to<br />

hunt in two (2) management areas until <strong>the</strong><br />

established harvest objective was reached.<br />

Both <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se permit systems allowed<br />

hunters to change management areas at will<br />

as long as <strong>the</strong> harvest objective had not been<br />

reached in <strong>the</strong> desired management area(s).<br />

In 1995, <strong>the</strong> hunt permit approach was<br />

modified to eliminate <strong>the</strong> physical issuance<br />

<strong>of</strong> a permit in favor <strong>of</strong> establishing a 1-800<br />

telephone number. This system allows<br />

hunters to hunt in any management area in<br />

which <strong>the</strong> harvest objective has not been<br />

reached. The hunter must, however, call <strong>the</strong><br />

1-800 number before starting to hunt to<br />

determine which management area(s) are<br />

still open to hunting.<br />

In 1997, changes were made to mountain<br />

lion regulations to increase mountain lion<br />

harvest, while maintaining <strong>the</strong> integrity <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> harvest objective limits system. Those<br />

changes included <strong>the</strong> reduction <strong>of</strong> tag fees,<br />

over-<strong>the</strong>-counter tag sales, increasing bag<br />

limits from one tag per hunter to two tags<br />

per hunter, and consolidation <strong>of</strong> some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

harvest unit groups.<br />

In 1998, Nevada’s sou<strong>the</strong>rn region was<br />

modified to provide for a year-round hunting<br />

season on mountain lions. The entire state<br />

went to a year-round season in 2001.<br />

New changes were made again for <strong>the</strong><br />

2003 season. These changes modified<br />

harvest unit groups from 24 groups<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> state to three statewide<br />

regions corresponding with <strong>the</strong> Division’s<br />

three management regions. The mountain<br />

lion season continues to be year-round but<br />

season dates were changed to March 1 st <strong>of</strong><br />

each year to <strong>the</strong> last day <strong>of</strong> February,<br />

corresponding with <strong>the</strong> dates on a Nevada<br />

hunting license.<br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions seem well adapted to <strong>the</strong><br />

wide variety <strong>of</strong> habitat and environmental<br />

conditions that exist in Nevada. They have<br />

been observed to live or wander through<br />

almost every mountain range from <strong>the</strong><br />

Mojave Desert in extreme sou<strong>the</strong>rn Nevada<br />

to alpine forests at <strong>the</strong> highest elevations in<br />

<strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state. Distribution<br />

appears to be primarily influenced by prey<br />

availability, and has remained fairly<br />

consistent through time.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion populations are estimated<br />

utilizing a life table model (retrospective<br />

harvest/ mortality). The model utilizes<br />

known harvest/ mortality rates and<br />

recruitment rates (as determined from markrecapture<br />

and telemetry studies) to calculate<br />

a retrospective estimate <strong>of</strong> minimum viable<br />

population size needed to sustain known<br />

harvest rates over <strong>the</strong> same time period.<br />

Although no defined confidence limit is<br />

used during this process, our confidence in<br />

this model is relatively high based on <strong>the</strong><br />

fact that harvest rates have continued over<br />

time at a constant rate without signs <strong>of</strong><br />

extirpation, reduced harvest rates, or<br />

increased average age <strong>of</strong> harvested lion.<br />

Based on our current estimation methods,


NEVADA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Woolstenhulme 33<br />

Table 1. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion tag sales, sport hunter harvest, and hunter success by class <strong>of</strong> hunter.<br />

Tag Sales Harvest Hunter Success<br />

Year Resident Nonresident Total Resident Nonresident Total Resident Nonresident Total<br />

1998 643 124 767 73 67 140 11% 54% 18%<br />

1999 680 109 789 70 56 126 10% 51% 16%<br />

2000 883 169 1052 104 81 185 12% 48% 18%<br />

2001 838 98 936 103 58 161 12% 59% 17%<br />

2002 1030 202 1232 105 63 168 10% 31% 14%<br />

2003 1060 131 1191 89 39 128 8% 30% 11%<br />

Total 5,134 833 5,967 544 364 908 11% 44% 15%<br />

Average 856 139 995 91 61 151 11% 44% 15%<br />

lion populations within Nevada are between<br />

3000-4000 animals.<br />

HARVEST INFORMATION<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions have been classified as a<br />

big game species since 1965. They have<br />

been hunted annually since that time. A<br />

Nevada resident mountain lion tag costs<br />

$25.00, and a Nevada nonresident mountain<br />

lion tag costs $100.00. On <strong>the</strong> average,<br />

nonresident hunters account for<br />

approximately 14% <strong>of</strong> tag sales, but harvest<br />

a greater proportion <strong>of</strong> lions than do resident<br />

hunters (Table 1). Total sport hunter harvest<br />

has averaged 151 lions per year for <strong>the</strong> last 6<br />

years (Table 2).<br />

The open season for hunting mountain<br />

lions in Nevada currently runs year-round<br />

(March 1 – last day <strong>of</strong> February) (Table 3).<br />

Table 2. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion harvest by harvest type and sex.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Any legal weapon may be used to harvest a<br />

mountain lion, and dogs may be used to hunt<br />

a mountain lion under <strong>the</strong> authority <strong>of</strong> a<br />

current State <strong>of</strong> Nevada hunting license and<br />

mountain lion tag. Because <strong>the</strong> mountain<br />

lion season is year-round no pursuit only<br />

season exists. A resident or a non-resident is<br />

eligible to obtain two mountain lion tags<br />

each year. A person who harvests a<br />

mountain lion in Nevada must, within 72<br />

hours after harvesting it, personally present<br />

<strong>the</strong> skull and hide to a representative <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

division for inspection. The representative<br />

shall affix a State <strong>of</strong> Nevada mountain lion<br />

seal permanently to <strong>the</strong> hide. A seal must be<br />

permanently affixed to <strong>the</strong> hide <strong>of</strong> a<br />

mountain lion before it can be possessed by<br />

an individual or removed from <strong>the</strong> state. It<br />

is unlawful to kill a female mountain lion<br />

Sport Hunter Harvest Depredation Take Total<br />

Year Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total<br />

1998 85 55 140 12 8 20 97 63 160<br />

1999 77 49 126 12 10 22 89 59 148<br />

2000 102 83 185 8 3 11 110 86 196<br />

2001 95 66 161 8 8 16 103 74 177<br />

2002 99 69 168 10 16 26 109 85 194<br />

2003 77 51 128 7 8 15 84 59 143<br />

Average 89 62 151 10 9 18 99 71 170


34 NEVADA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Woolstenhulme<br />

Table 3. Nevada <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Units and Quotas 2003 – 2005.<br />

Unit Group<br />

UNIT 1 (Western Region)<br />

011 - 015, 021, 022, 031,<br />

032, 034, 035, 041 - 046,<br />

051, 181 – 184, 192, 194 -<br />

196, 201 - 206, 291<br />

2003-2004 Season<br />

Dates<br />

March 1, 2003 –<br />

Feb 29, 2004<br />

2003-2004<br />

Harvest Objectives<br />

114<br />

2004-2005 Season<br />

Dates<br />

March 1, 2004 –<br />

Feb 28, 2005<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

2004-2005<br />

Harvest Objectives<br />

033 Closed 0 Closed 0<br />

UNIT 2 (Eastern Region)<br />

061, 062, 064 – 068, 071 -<br />

078, 081, 101 – 108, 111 –<br />

115, 121, 131 – 134, 141 –<br />

145, 151, 152, 154, 155<br />

079*<br />

UNIT 3 (Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Region)<br />

161 - 164, 171 - 173, 211,<br />

212, 221 – 223, 231, 241 –<br />

244, 251 - 253, 261 - 268,<br />

271 – 272<br />

March 1, 2003 –<br />

Feb 29, 2004<br />

March 1, 2003 –<br />

Feb 29, 2004<br />

March 1, 2003 –<br />

Feb 29, 2004<br />

163<br />

4<br />

68<br />

March 1, 2004 –<br />

Feb 28, 2005<br />

March 1, 2004 –<br />

Feb 28, 2005<br />

March 1, 2004 –<br />

Feb 28, 2005<br />

280 – 284 Closed 0 Closed 0<br />

* Interstate hunt with Utah. Nevada and Utah hunters may hunt within open units in both states. Nevada hunters<br />

hunting in Utah must abide by Utah regulations.<br />

that is accompanied by a spotted kitten, or to<br />

kill or possess a spotted mountain lion<br />

kitten. It is also unlawful in Nevada to trap<br />

a mountain lion, if a mountain lion is<br />

accidentally trapped or killed, <strong>the</strong> person<br />

trapping or killing it shall report <strong>the</strong> trapping<br />

or killing within 48 hours to <strong>the</strong> division.<br />

The animal must be disposed <strong>of</strong> in<br />

accordance with state law.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion harvest objectives are<br />

calculated for each administrative region on<br />

a semi-annual basis using standardized<br />

methodology. Harvest objectives are<br />

calculated and recommended in order to<br />

achieve a specific management action over a<br />

short-term period (no more than two years).<br />

Management actions may be designed to<br />

increase, stabilize and maintain, or decrease<br />

mountain lion populations within each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

three administrative regions in Nevada.<br />

114<br />

163<br />

Calculations <strong>of</strong> harvest objectives by<br />

administrative region incorporate <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong><br />

scientific data to determine <strong>the</strong> current<br />

population trend and population density. A<br />

“political index” may be employed to adjust<br />

harvest objectives within smaller geographic<br />

areas (big game management areas) in order<br />

to achieve <strong>the</strong> desired management goal.<br />

Biologists make annual adjustments to<br />

harvest objective recommendations for each<br />

administrative region only after careful<br />

review <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> following data and information<br />

that is collected, assembled and distributed<br />

by <strong>the</strong> Game Bureau by October <strong>of</strong> each<br />

year.<br />

A. Data used to assess population trend,<br />

including, but not limited to:<br />

4<br />

68<br />

1) The current regional population<br />

model.


2) Sex, weight and age data from<br />

harvested mountain lions for <strong>the</strong><br />

previous recording period (March 1<br />

- February 28).<br />

B. Data used to assess population density,<br />

including, but not limited to:<br />

1) The current regional population<br />

model.<br />

2) Data showing <strong>the</strong> unit <strong>of</strong> effort to<br />

observe or harvest mountain lions.<br />

3) Average weight information,<br />

comparing weights <strong>of</strong> harvested<br />

animals by sex and cohort group to<br />

<strong>the</strong> long-term data set (1968 -<br />

2003).<br />

C. Data to quantify “bio-political”<br />

considerations, including, but not<br />

limited to:<br />

1) A summary <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> public safety<br />

complaint forms involving<br />

mountain lions as received by <strong>the</strong><br />

Bureau for <strong>the</strong> previous recording<br />

period.<br />

2) A report <strong>of</strong> damage to private<br />

property caused by mountain lions<br />

as annually prepared by ADC.<br />

3) A prey species accounting<br />

spreadsheet as prepared by <strong>the</strong><br />

region for <strong>the</strong> previous recording<br />

period. Adjustments from <strong>the</strong><br />

baseline harvest objective level for<br />

each administrative region will be<br />

recommended in order to achieve<br />

<strong>the</strong> short-term (two-year) goal <strong>of</strong><br />

maintaining, increasing, or<br />

decreasing mountain lion<br />

populations within <strong>the</strong> respective<br />

administrative region, utilizing<br />

harvest management as <strong>the</strong> primary<br />

tool to achieve <strong>the</strong> desired<br />

population goal.<br />

See Figure 1 for State <strong>of</strong> Nevada<br />

mountain lion hunt unit reference map.<br />

NEVADA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Woolstenhulme 35<br />

Figure 1. Nevada mountain lion hunt unit<br />

reference map.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

DEPREDATIONS AND HUMAN<br />

INTERACTIONS/CONFLICTS<br />

The Nevada Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife<br />

Comprehensive Management Plan<br />

specifically addresses policy and procedure<br />

for dealing with nuisance or problem<br />

mountain lions.<br />

The Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife is responsible<br />

by statute for controlling wildlife causing<br />

damage to personal property or endangering<br />

personal safety. The Division also has a<br />

responsibility to provide sport-hunting<br />

opportunities to Nevada sportsmen. This<br />

protocol sets forth procedures to be followed<br />

in controlling and preventing lion damage,<br />

addressing public safety issues and<br />

responding to sport hunting opportunities.<br />

In carrying out this policy where mountain<br />

lion/human interactions are involved, agents<br />

shall have <strong>the</strong> discretion to choose <strong>the</strong> most


36 NEVADA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Woolstenhulme<br />

applicable management option, following<br />

guidelines outlined in this protocol. All<br />

efforts will be directed at <strong>the</strong> individual lion<br />

causing <strong>the</strong> problem.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion/human interactions have<br />

increased throughout <strong>the</strong> West and in<br />

Nevada in <strong>the</strong> last several decades. During<br />

<strong>the</strong> same period, <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> depredation<br />

complaints and <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> lions taken on<br />

depredation complaints has also increased.<br />

The Division desires to reduce multiple<br />

depredations from <strong>the</strong> same animal and<br />

prevent harm to humans.<br />

The Division recognizes three distinct<br />

categories <strong>of</strong> mountain lions involved in<br />

human/lion interactions.<br />

A. Nuisance <strong>Lion</strong> - a lion involved in a<br />

direct meeting with a human but did<br />

not exhibit aggressive behavior toward<br />

<strong>the</strong> human, a lion repeatedly observed<br />

in an area, or a situation where<br />

personal property is at risk.<br />

B. Depredating <strong>Lion</strong> - a lion that has<br />

injured or killed livestock or domestic<br />

pets.<br />

C. Dangerous or Aggressive <strong>Lion</strong> - a<br />

lion that has exhibited aggressive<br />

behavior towards humans. A lion that<br />

has an unnatural interest in humans<br />

without provocation and is perceived<br />

to be a threat to public safety. A lion<br />

located in a place or situation where<br />

human safety is <strong>of</strong> concern may be<br />

considered dangerous.<br />

Various management options are<br />

available to Division employees when a<br />

mountain lion conflict arises. The Division<br />

employee responding to or assigned to<br />

handle a lion/human conflict will have <strong>the</strong><br />

primary responsibility to assess mountain<br />

lion involvement in an incident and conduct<br />

<strong>the</strong> necessary investigation. Agents may be<br />

required to make an assessment "on <strong>the</strong><br />

spot" or if time permits make an assessment<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

with consultation.<br />

At all opportunities, <strong>the</strong> Division will<br />

provide educational and informational<br />

materials to individuals concerned with lion<br />

management and people-lion conflict<br />

prevention. These materials will include<br />

options for pet and livestock protection and<br />

avoidance <strong>of</strong> dangerous encounters with<br />

mountain lions. Site-specific education and<br />

prevention efforts will be made in historic<br />

conflict areas.<br />

A field response by ei<strong>the</strong>r a Division<br />

employee or his/her designated agent is<br />

required for all lion/human interactions<br />

involving <strong>the</strong> categories <strong>of</strong> lions defined.<br />

1. Nuisance <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong>s<br />

a. No management action combined<br />

with education effort.<br />

b. Deterrent methods combined with<br />

education effort.<br />

c. Capture, mark and relocate cougars<br />

if deterrent methods are<br />

unsuccessful or impractical. <strong>Lion</strong>s<br />

identified for relocation will be<br />

transported to <strong>the</strong> following release<br />

sites in priority order.<br />

1) Instate release locations within<br />

low conflict areas<br />

2) Out <strong>of</strong> state governmental<br />

agencies<br />

3) University or research facilities<br />

4) Zoological gardens or Zoos<br />

d. Nuisance lions will be destroyed if<br />

relocating or deterrent methods are<br />

unsuccessful or impractical.<br />

2. Depredation <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong>s<br />

a. No management action combined<br />

with education effort.<br />

b. Deterrent methods including<br />

prevention materials (if applicable)<br />

combined with education effort.<br />

c. Capture, mark and relocate cougars<br />

if deterrent methods are<br />

unsuccessful or impractical. <strong>Lion</strong>s


identified for relocation will be<br />

transported to <strong>the</strong> following release<br />

sites in priority order.<br />

1) Instate release locations within<br />

low conflict areas<br />

2) Out <strong>of</strong> state governmental<br />

agencies<br />

3) University or research facilities<br />

4) Zoological gardens or Zoos<br />

d. Depredating lions will be destroyed<br />

if deterrent methods or live capture<br />

is unsuccessful or impractical.<br />

3. Aggressive (Dangerous) <strong>Mountain</strong><br />

<strong>Lion</strong>s<br />

a. If a lion is dangerous because <strong>of</strong> its<br />

location and not its behavior it may<br />

be trapped, marked and relocated.<br />

If a lion is frequenting a city or<br />

town, it may be destroyed if capture<br />

methods fail or are impractical.<br />

<strong>Lion</strong>s identified for relocation will<br />

be transported to <strong>the</strong> following<br />

release sites in priority order.<br />

1) Instate release locations within<br />

low conflict areas<br />

2) Out <strong>of</strong> state governmental<br />

agencies<br />

3) University or research facilities<br />

4) Zoological gardens or Zoos<br />

b. If <strong>the</strong> mountain lion is dangerous<br />

because it has exhibited aggressive<br />

behavior toward humans or is<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rwise perceived to be a threat to<br />

human safety, or if <strong>the</strong> lion is<br />

involved in an attack on a human,<br />

destroy and necropsy <strong>the</strong> lion.<br />

<strong>Lion</strong>s exhibiting aggressive<br />

behavior in remote areas should not<br />

be killed but instead an aggressive<br />

publicity and educational campaign<br />

should be made to alert people <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> danger in <strong>the</strong> remote area and<br />

promote human avoidance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

area over <strong>the</strong> short-term.<br />

NEVADA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Woolstenhulme 37<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

c. A detailed narrative report on each<br />

incident involving handling <strong>of</strong><br />

dangerous lions will be prepared by<br />

<strong>the</strong> agent in control <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> incident<br />

and forwarded to <strong>the</strong> Supervising<br />

Regional Game Biologist.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion incidents involving<br />

attacks or injury to people will be<br />

immediately reported through <strong>the</strong><br />

chain <strong>of</strong> command to <strong>the</strong> Regional<br />

Manager, Administrator, Chief <strong>of</strong><br />

Game and Chief Game Warden.<br />

All lions destroyed will be reported<br />

on <strong>the</strong> 351-harvest form. A copy <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> detailed report, including any<br />

necropsy, coroner's report or o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

supporting information shall be sent<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Game bureau staff biologist<br />

responsible for mountain lions. A<br />

lion/human interaction form will be<br />

completed for each interaction.<br />

In those incidences where control<br />

becomes necessary, a regional list <strong>of</strong> persons<br />

who have requested consideration and are<br />

qualified to do control work, including<br />

private hunters/ trappers and outfitters/<br />

guides will be a source <strong>of</strong> control, as well as<br />

U.S.D.A. APHIS/ADC personnel.<br />

Hunters/trappers, outfitters/guides or<br />

U.S.D.A. agents will not initiate control<br />

unless requested to do so by <strong>the</strong> Division.<br />

Hunters or trappers may be authorized to<br />

control problem animals during open or<br />

closed seasons. The hunter or trapper will<br />

buy a license and tag for use during <strong>the</strong> open<br />

season until <strong>the</strong> hunter or trapper's tag is<br />

filled. The hunter may continue control<br />

work after <strong>the</strong> tag is filled only under <strong>the</strong><br />

authority <strong>of</strong> a depredation permit. Hunting<br />

during a closed season will be conducted<br />

only under <strong>the</strong> authority <strong>of</strong> a depredation<br />

permit. Depredation permits will only be<br />

issued to landowners/livestock owners for<br />

<strong>the</strong> control <strong>of</strong> specific depredating lions.<br />

Hunters or trappers may keep <strong>the</strong> lion if<br />

harvested under <strong>the</strong> authority <strong>of</strong> a valid


38 NEVADA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Woolstenhulme<br />

license and tag. All o<strong>the</strong>r lions become <strong>the</strong><br />

property <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> State.<br />

The USDA, APHIS/ADC, may be<br />

contacted to do control work any time <strong>of</strong><br />

year. The APHIS/ADC agent shall attempt<br />

to control only <strong>the</strong> animal(s) causing<br />

damage. The agent will use discretion in <strong>the</strong><br />

control <strong>of</strong> young animals. All lions taken by<br />

APHIS/ADC are <strong>the</strong> property <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> State.<br />

A mountain lion harvest report form is<br />

completed for all mountain lion mortalities.<br />

A mountain lion/human interaction form is<br />

completed for all lion/human interactions.<br />

Records <strong>of</strong> lion mortality and human/ lion<br />

interactions are kept in computer databases<br />

in Reno.<br />

RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS<br />

ERNEST, HOLLY B., WALTER M. BOYCE,<br />

VERNON C. BLEICH, BERNIE MAY, SAN<br />

J. STIVER, AND STEVEN G. TORRES. In<br />

Press. Genetic structure <strong>of</strong> mountain<br />

lion (Puma concolor) populations in<br />

California. Journal <strong>of</strong> Conservation<br />

Genetics.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

This paper used 412 samples from<br />

California and 19 samples collected in<br />

western Nevada within 50 km <strong>of</strong> California.<br />

The work helped define <strong>the</strong> geographic<br />

ranges <strong>of</strong> mountain lion populations in<br />

California. Population structure differed<br />

greatly by region - mountain lions in many<br />

California regions have significant barriers<br />

to genetic interchange and <strong>the</strong>refore are very<br />

different from one population to ano<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

This paper, plus <strong>the</strong> work done for <strong>the</strong><br />

Nevada DOW report indicate that<br />

populations in Nevada tend not to have as<br />

much obstruction to genetic interchange as<br />

those in most ecological regions <strong>of</strong><br />

California, in general. This study shows that<br />

mountain lion management and conservation<br />

efforts should be individualized according to<br />

region and incorporate landscape-level<br />

considerations to protect habitat<br />

connectivity.<br />

A follow up study by Dr. Holly Ernest,<br />

on mountain lion genetic variation and<br />

phylogeography in Nevada is currently<br />

being finalized for future publication.


NEW MEXICO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

RICK WINSLOW, Large Carnivore Biologist, New Mexico Department <strong>of</strong> Game and Fish, P.O.<br />

Box 25112, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504, USA, email: Rwinslow@state.nm.us<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

The New Mexico Department <strong>of</strong> Game<br />

and Fish has almost completed<br />

implementation <strong>of</strong> its cougar management<br />

plan. We are beginning to develop a new<br />

five-year plan.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions have been classified as<br />

protected big game animals in New Mexico<br />

since 1971 and are currently hunted<br />

throughout most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> occupied habitat in<br />

<strong>the</strong> state.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion management in New<br />

Mexico is multi-faceted. The department is<br />

attempting to develop a conservation<br />

strategy that allows both hunting and<br />

enjoyment <strong>of</strong> cougars by <strong>the</strong> non-hunting<br />

public. We also need to balance differing<br />

management issues: (1) depredation control<br />

to minimize economic losses to livestock<br />

operators, (2) minimizing human/cougar<br />

conflicts, (3) cougar removal where<br />

increasing deer and bighorn populations is<br />

<strong>the</strong> management priority.<br />

In 1999 we initiated a zone quota system<br />

for harvest management. Our zone quotas<br />

are based upon management decisions for<br />

ei<strong>the</strong>r increasing, maintaining stable, or<br />

decreasing lion populations.<br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

Since <strong>the</strong>ir protection as a big game<br />

animal in 1971, mountain lions have steadily<br />

returned to suitable habitat throughout <strong>the</strong><br />

state. <strong>Mountain</strong> lions generally inhabit <strong>the</strong><br />

rougher country in New Mexico avoiding<br />

<strong>the</strong> low elevation desert areas and eastern<br />

plains. They do however occur in <strong>the</strong>se<br />

areas in conjunction with pockets <strong>of</strong> mule<br />

39<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

deer and areas <strong>of</strong> topographic diversity. Our<br />

current estimate <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cougar population in<br />

New Mexico is approximately 2150 cougars<br />

derived by multiplying density estimates by<br />

(Logan et al. 1996) <strong>the</strong> estimated amount <strong>of</strong><br />

mule deer habitat. For regional estimates,<br />

we use a population model based on rates <strong>of</strong><br />

recruitment and mortality from Logan et al.<br />

(1996), quantity <strong>of</strong> habitat and population<br />

density.<br />

Since 1979, successful hunters have<br />

been required to present <strong>the</strong>ir cougar to a<br />

Department <strong>of</strong>ficial within 5 days <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

harvest to have <strong>the</strong> pelt tagged, a tooth<br />

collected for aging, sex verified, and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

information ga<strong>the</strong>red. Reports <strong>of</strong> cougar<br />

depredation and damage are also kept.<br />

Harvest strategies have varied during <strong>the</strong><br />

32 years cougars have been classified as a<br />

game animal. In 1971 only <strong>the</strong> southwestern<br />

corner <strong>of</strong> New Mexico was open to cougar<br />

hunting with a bag limit <strong>of</strong> one cougar and a<br />

4-month season. More areas <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state<br />

were opened to cougar hunting and seasons<br />

leng<strong>the</strong>ned in subsequent years. From 1979<br />

to 1983 <strong>the</strong> season was 11 months long<br />

statewide with a bag limit <strong>of</strong> 2 cougars.<br />

In 1983 a bill was introduced to <strong>the</strong> New<br />

Mexico House <strong>of</strong> Representatives to return<br />

<strong>the</strong> cougar to its status prior to 1971 as a<br />

varmint. It was tabled but <strong>the</strong> legislature<br />

requested that <strong>the</strong> department ga<strong>the</strong>r more<br />

information on <strong>the</strong> cougar’s status. Evans<br />

(1983) investigated harvest trends and<br />

population estimates and determined that<br />

cougar populations had probably declined.<br />

His determination and public opinion


40 NEW MEXICO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Winslow<br />

resulted in more conservative harvest<br />

strategies.<br />

In 1984 <strong>the</strong> cougar season was shortened<br />

to 3 months in most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state, with longer<br />

seasons in units that had high numbers <strong>of</strong><br />

depredation complaints. From 1985 until<br />

1999 <strong>the</strong> season was 4 months long<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> state with a bag limit <strong>of</strong> one<br />

cougar. In 1999 <strong>the</strong> state instituted a zone<br />

management system with harvest objectives<br />

and quotas. The season was extended to 6<br />

months throughout <strong>the</strong> majority <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state<br />

with low-elevation bighorn sheep ranges<br />

open year round.<br />

In 2002, <strong>the</strong> cougar season remained at 6<br />

months with a 1 cougar bag limit throughout<br />

most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state with <strong>the</strong> following<br />

exceptions: year around hunting in selected<br />

desert bighorn sheep areas and Rocky<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> bighorn sheep areas in <strong>the</strong><br />

sou<strong>the</strong>rn part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state and on private<br />

property, and year round hunting in specific<br />

units in <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>astern corner <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state<br />

that have historically suffered high<br />

depredation losses. The bag limit was<br />

increased to 2 cougars in bighorn areas.<br />

Currently <strong>the</strong> state has 15 cougar<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Figure 1. Cougar Harvest Management<br />

Zones in New Mexico during 2002-03.<br />

management zones (Figure 1). Each is<br />

managed through a quota system for<br />

increasing, decreasing or stable populations<br />

<strong>of</strong> cougar (Table 1). The ratio <strong>of</strong> males to<br />

females harvested generally equals 60:40<br />

Table 1. Cougar harvest objectives by management zone in New Mexico, 2002-03.<br />

Zone Game Management Units Included in Zone Harvest Objective<br />

A 2 and 7 14<br />

B 5 and 50-51 20<br />

C 43-46, 48-49, and 53-55 38<br />

D 41-42, 47, and 56-58 16<br />

E 9 and 10 16<br />

F 6 and 8 16<br />

G 13-14, and 17 17<br />

H 19, 20, and 28-29 3<br />

I 18, 30, 34, and 36-38 20<br />

J 15-16, 21, and 25 38<br />

K 22-24 22<br />

L 26-27 Unlimited<br />

M 31-33, and 39-40 5<br />

N 4 and 52 3<br />

O 12 3<br />

231 a<br />

a Not including unlimited areas.


(Table 2). Hunters tend to selectively<br />

harvest <strong>the</strong> larger male lions.<br />

Since sport hunting was implemented in<br />

1971, use <strong>of</strong> hounds has been allowed but<br />

cubs and females with cubs cannot be taken.<br />

At least 90% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> harvest is through hound<br />

hunting. There is no pursuit season.<br />

Approximately 2000 lion licenses are<br />

sold per year currently. This number has<br />

gone up during <strong>the</strong> past decade. There is no<br />

limit to <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> lion licenses sold per<br />

year.<br />

Since 1998 cougar depredation<br />

complaints have ranged from 28 to 45 per<br />

year with 1 to 20 cougars killed per year.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion depredation incidents are<br />

typically dealt with on a case-by-case basis<br />

NEW MEXICO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Winslow 41<br />

Table 2. Permits issued and cougars harvested in New Mexico, 1981-2003.<br />

Hunt Year<br />

Permits<br />

Issued<br />

Male Harvest<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

in New Mexico. Department policy is to<br />

resolve depredation and to minimize<br />

property damage, conflict and threat to<br />

human safety. When department or Wildlife<br />

Services investigation confirms a<br />

depredation incident, a depredation permit<br />

may be issued. Generally, ei<strong>the</strong>r snares or<br />

hounds are used to capture <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fending<br />

animal. <strong>Lion</strong>s involved in depredation<br />

incidents are destroyed. Landowners may<br />

also kill lions in defense <strong>of</strong> human safety or<br />

property. The sou<strong>the</strong>astern corner <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

state has a preventative control program,<br />

which is in effect in Unit 30 to reduce<br />

depredation on domestic sheep. The<br />

preventative control program destroyed 110<br />

mountain lions between 1989 and 1999 and<br />

Female<br />

Harvest<br />

Unknown Total Harvest<br />

1981-82 360 78 44 3 125<br />

1982-83 481 55 44 1 101<br />

1983-84 661 67 65 0 132<br />

1984-85 443 47 32 0 79<br />

1985-86 472 56 48 0 104<br />

1986-87 437 55 46 0 101<br />

1987-88 456 43 35 0 78<br />

1988-89 450 58 33 0 91<br />

1989-90 482 71 41 0 112<br />

1990-91 781 73 35 0 108<br />

1991-92 765 77 42 0 119<br />

1992-93 826 68 37 0 105<br />

1993-94 926 75 52 0 127<br />

1994-95 1145 87 61 2 150<br />

1995-96 842 74 45 0 119<br />

1996-97 980 114 62 1 177<br />

1997-98 974 108 58 2 168<br />

1998-99 1485 95 58 0 153<br />

1999-00 1702 98 58 0 156<br />

2000-01 NA 1 140 96 0 236<br />

2001-02 NA 1 127 91 1 219<br />

2002-03 NA 1 161 120 3 284 2<br />

1<br />

Not yet determined.<br />

2<br />

Numbers may not be complete.


42 NEW MEXICO MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Winslow<br />

has continued in <strong>the</strong> years since.<br />

In situations where depredation cannot<br />

be confirmed, <strong>the</strong> district wildlife <strong>of</strong>ficer<br />

will <strong>of</strong>fer advice and suggestions as to how<br />

<strong>the</strong> complainant can avoid incidents with<br />

lions. <strong>Lion</strong>s captured for reasons o<strong>the</strong>r than<br />

depredation are relocated to ano<strong>the</strong>r area <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> state.<br />

Human safety incidents with lions are<br />

rare in New Mexico. Any lion involved in a<br />

human safety type <strong>of</strong> incident would be<br />

destroyed if caught.<br />

RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS<br />

Ligon (1926) conducted <strong>the</strong> first<br />

investigation on cougars in New Mexico and<br />

determined that <strong>the</strong>y were uncommon but<br />

preyed heavily upon domestic animals and<br />

deer. Hibben (1937) investigated lion<br />

biology in nor<strong>the</strong>rn and western portions <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> state. Prey use and movements in <strong>the</strong><br />

southwestern corner <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state were<br />

documented via radio telemetry in <strong>the</strong><br />

1970’s (Donaldson 1975, Johnson 1982).<br />

Cougar ecology in Carlsbad Caverns<br />

National Park, New Mexico and <strong>the</strong><br />

Guadalupe <strong>Mountain</strong>s National Park across<br />

<strong>the</strong> border in Texas was studied from 1982-<br />

85 (Smith et al. 1986). Ecology and<br />

population dynamics <strong>of</strong> cougars in <strong>the</strong> San<br />

Andres <strong>Mountain</strong>s <strong>of</strong> south central New<br />

Mexico were studied from 1985-95 (Logan<br />

et al. 1996). This was <strong>the</strong> most intensive<br />

investigation <strong>of</strong> desert-dwelling cougars<br />

ever conducted. Beausoleil (2001) reviewed<br />

historic and current status <strong>of</strong> mountain lions<br />

in New Mexico.<br />

LITERATURE CITED<br />

BEAUSOLEIL, R.A. 2001. Status <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> in New Mexico, 1997-<br />

2000. New Mexico Naturalist’s Notes<br />

3(1) pp. 33-47.<br />

DONALDSON, B. 1975. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion<br />

research. Final Report, Pittman<br />

Robertson Project W-93-17, Work plan<br />

15, Job 1. New Mexico Department <strong>of</strong><br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Game and Fish, Santa Fe, New Mexico<br />

USA.<br />

EVANS, W. 1983. The cougar in New<br />

Mexico: biology, status, depredation <strong>of</strong><br />

livestock, and management<br />

recommendations. Response to House<br />

Memorial 42. New Mexico Department<br />

<strong>of</strong> Game and Fish, Santa Fe, New<br />

Mexico USA.<br />

HIBBEN, F.C. 1937. A preliminary study <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> mountain lion (Felis oregonenis<br />

spp.). University <strong>of</strong> New Mexico<br />

Bulletin, Biological Series 5(3) 5-59.<br />

JOHNSON, J. 1982. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion research.<br />

Final Report, Pittman Robertson Project<br />

W-124-R-4, Job 1. New Mexico<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Game and Fish, Santa Fe,<br />

New Mexico USA.<br />

LIGON, J.S. 1927. Wild Life <strong>of</strong> New Mexico,<br />

Its Conservation and Management.<br />

Being a Report on <strong>the</strong> Game Survey <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> State, 1926 and 1927. State Game<br />

Commission Department <strong>of</strong> Game and<br />

Fish, Santa Fe, New Mexico.<br />

LOGAN, K.A., L.L. SWEANOR, T.K. RUTH,<br />

AND M.G. HORNOCKER. 1996. Cougars<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> San Andres <strong>Mountain</strong>s, New<br />

Mexico. Federal Aid in Wildlife<br />

Restoration, Project W-128-R, for New<br />

Mexico Department <strong>of</strong> Game and Fish,<br />

Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.<br />

NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND<br />

FISH. 1997. Long range plan for <strong>the</strong><br />

management <strong>of</strong> cougar in New Mexico.<br />

Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration<br />

Grant W-93-R-39, Project 1, Job 5. New<br />

Mexico Department <strong>of</strong> Game and Fish,<br />

Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.<br />

SMITH, T.E., R.R. DUKE, M.J. KUTILEK, AND<br />

H.T. HARVEY. 1986. <strong>Mountain</strong> lions<br />

(Felis Concolor) in <strong>the</strong> vicinity <strong>of</strong><br />

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico and<br />

Guadalupe <strong>Mountain</strong>s National Park,<br />

Texas. Harvey and Stanley Associates<br />

Incorporated, Alvisa, Texas USA.


STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

MIKE KINTIGH, Regional Supervisor, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, 3305 West South St.,<br />

Rapid City, SD 57702, USA, email: Mike.Kintigh@state.sd.us<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

South Dakota (SD) is currently<br />

developing a management plan for mountain<br />

lions. The second draft <strong>of</strong> this document is<br />

currently under review by South Dakota<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Game, Fish and Parks (SD<br />

GFP) staff. This document is also available<br />

to <strong>the</strong> public and interested parties for<br />

review and comment. A copy can be<br />

obtained by contacting Regional Supervisor<br />

Mike Kintigh (listed above) or Dr. Larry<br />

Gigliotti at 605-773-4231. This summer/fall<br />

SD GFP will be taking fur<strong>the</strong>r steps to<br />

solicit public comments on <strong>the</strong> management<br />

plan.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong>s are currently classified<br />

as a State Threatened Species in SD.<br />

However, in July that classification will<br />

likely change significantly. Legislative<br />

action in January <strong>of</strong> 2003 closed a legal<br />

loophole by defining <strong>the</strong> lion as a big game<br />

animal. This action will facilitate <strong>the</strong><br />

removal <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> lion from <strong>the</strong> State’s<br />

Threatened Species List. Game<br />

Commission action is still required to<br />

finalize <strong>the</strong> delisting and this is expected to<br />

occur in early June. Forty-five days is<br />

required for any commission finalization<br />

actions to take effect and this will occur in<br />

mid July, after <strong>the</strong> legislative action<br />

becomes law on July 1, 2003.<br />

It is important to note that while <strong>the</strong> lion<br />

will be taken <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> threatened species list<br />

in South Dakota, it will actually gain<br />

additional protection under law by being<br />

defined as a big game animal. Criminal<br />

penalties will increase from class 2<br />

misdemeanors to class 1 misdemeanors,<br />

43<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

carrying higher fines and longer jail<br />

sentences.<br />

A misconception exists in that by<br />

classifying <strong>the</strong> lion as a big game animal a<br />

hunting season will immediately be<br />

implemented. This is absolutely false! The<br />

lion will continue to be fully protected as a<br />

big game animal with a continuously closed<br />

season until at some undetermined point<br />

when additional management decisions are<br />

made.<br />

South Dakota has many objectives<br />

concerning mountain lion management.<br />

They are as follows:<br />

A) Evaluate <strong>the</strong> Legal status <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> in SD by April 1,<br />

2003.<br />

B) Evaluate strategies for monitoring &<br />

censusing <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong><br />

populations in SD by 2005.<br />

C) Maintain a statewide database <strong>of</strong> Mt.<br />

<strong>Lion</strong> activity including sightings,<br />

human interactions, depredation<br />

events and lion mortality.<br />

D) Develop a list <strong>of</strong> Mt. <strong>Lion</strong> research<br />

needs. Evaluate and prioritize<br />

annually.<br />

E) Develop Mt. <strong>Lion</strong> population<br />

management methods that are<br />

consistent with established goals and<br />

objectives.<br />

F) Identify and describe suitable habitat<br />

areas and parameters for Mt. <strong>Lion</strong>s<br />

in SD by Sept. 2003.<br />

G) Develop a comprehensive Public<br />

Education strategy for informing and<br />

educating <strong>the</strong> Staff, citizens and


44 SOUTH DAKOTA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Kintigh<br />

visitors about Mt. <strong>Lion</strong>s and personal<br />

safety while in Mt. <strong>Lion</strong> country.<br />

H) Develop a public involvement plan<br />

for implementation during 2003 and<br />

2004 for inclusion in our<br />

management planning process.<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> last 10 years South Dakota has<br />

not significantly changed <strong>the</strong> way we<br />

manage lions. During this period <strong>of</strong> time<br />

<strong>the</strong>y remained on <strong>the</strong> State’s Threatened<br />

Species List and very little was done to<br />

manage <strong>the</strong>m o<strong>the</strong>r than <strong>of</strong>fering <strong>the</strong>m full<br />

protection <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> law. Our awareness <strong>of</strong><br />

lions did increase significantly during this<br />

time as we observed a steady apparent<br />

increase in <strong>the</strong>ir numbers. In recent years an<br />

Action Plan was developed to guide staff in<br />

dealing with problem lions. This Action<br />

Plan is currently under revision and will be<br />

included in <strong>the</strong> overall Management Plan.<br />

We also created a system for documenting<br />

and tracking lion activity. More significant<br />

changes are looming on <strong>the</strong> horizon as we<br />

remove <strong>the</strong> lion from <strong>the</strong> Threatened Species<br />

List and focus on concerted effort to manage<br />

our lions.<br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

<strong>Lion</strong>s are currently distributed<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> Black Hills, which contains<br />

<strong>the</strong> most suitable habitat in South Dakota.<br />

Some evidence <strong>of</strong> breeding populations also<br />

exists in <strong>the</strong> Custer National Forest in<br />

Harding County, <strong>the</strong> Badlands <strong>of</strong> eastern<br />

Pennington County and on <strong>the</strong> Pine Ridge<br />

Reservation <strong>of</strong> Shannon, Jackson and Bennett<br />

counties.<br />

Reports <strong>of</strong> lion activity have been<br />

received across all <strong>of</strong> South Dakota.<br />

Verification <strong>of</strong> reports outside <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Black<br />

Hills has proven to be very difficult,<br />

especially east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Missouri River. Most<br />

occurrences outside <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Black Hills have<br />

been associated with river drainages that<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

provide marginal habitat.<br />

The lion population in South Dakota<br />

appears to be still growing slowly at this<br />

time. Some uncertainty exists as to what <strong>the</strong><br />

carrying capacity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Black Hills for lions<br />

may be, though it is generally felt we are<br />

very close to that level now. Some evidence<br />

<strong>of</strong> dispersal from <strong>the</strong> Black Hills exists. To<br />

date we have only detected young males<br />

dispersing from <strong>the</strong> Black Hills. One young<br />

female was radio collared on <strong>the</strong> very edge<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Black Hills and some thought that she<br />

might disperse was expressed. She was<br />

poached before that determination was<br />

made.<br />

The cougar population in <strong>the</strong> Black Hills<br />

was estimated using program PUMA (Beier<br />

1993), incorporating parameters obtained<br />

from radio-collared cougars and habitat<br />

quality derived from a habitat-relation<br />

model. Annual home ranges were generated<br />

for 10 adult cougars monitored > 8 months,<br />

and spatial distribution <strong>of</strong> established males<br />

was analyzed using a home range overlap<br />

index. The area <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Black Hills was<br />

estimated at 8,400 km 2 , comprised <strong>of</strong><br />

6,702.9 km 2 <strong>of</strong> high quality and 1,697.1 km 2<br />

<strong>of</strong> lower quality habitat (based on a habitatrelation<br />

model developed for <strong>the</strong> species).<br />

Mean annual home range size <strong>of</strong> established<br />

adult male cougars (n = 3) was 809.2 km 2 ,<br />

and was significantly larger (P < 0.05) than<br />

that <strong>of</strong> adult females (n = 4), 182.3 km 2 .<br />

Based on sightings <strong>of</strong> family groups and<br />

radio-collared females, we documented up<br />

to 5 females occurring in established male<br />

ranges. Percent overlap for 3 established<br />

cougars averaged 33% (range = 18.0 -<br />

52.0%). Based on 5 population simulations,<br />

<strong>the</strong> total number <strong>of</strong> cougars in <strong>the</strong> Black<br />

Hills was estimated to be 127 to 149<br />

cougars; 46 to 49 adult females, 12 to 29<br />

adult males; 21 to 24 yearling females and<br />

males; and 45 to 48 female and male kittens.


HARVEST INFORMATION<br />

South Dakota has not had any form <strong>of</strong><br />

legalized mountain lion hunting since 1978.<br />

The future management <strong>of</strong> lions in South<br />

Dakota will include consideration <strong>of</strong> a<br />

hunting season as a management tool.<br />

Concerns about <strong>the</strong> impacts <strong>of</strong> hunting to <strong>the</strong><br />

stability <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> population will weigh heavily<br />

when those decisions are made.<br />

DEPREDATIONS AND HUMAN<br />

INTERACTIONS/CONFLICTS<br />

South Dakota does operate with an<br />

“Action Plan For Managing <strong>Mountain</strong><br />

<strong>Lion</strong>/Human/Property Interactions.” An<br />

Action Plan was first developed in May <strong>of</strong><br />

1995 and has been revised since <strong>the</strong>n. This<br />

plan is included in <strong>the</strong> overall <strong>Mountain</strong><br />

<strong>Lion</strong> Management Plan, which is currently<br />

under development. For our agency,<br />

addressing “problem” lions is <strong>the</strong> most<br />

difficult aspect <strong>of</strong> maintaining a population<br />

<strong>of</strong> lions. Public emotions are strong and<br />

varied which results in many<br />

comments/opinions being expressed directly<br />

at <strong>the</strong> “Action Plan.”<br />

South Dakota’s Action Plan categorizes<br />

Human/<strong>Lion</strong> interactions into five types:<br />

1. Sighting - a visual observation <strong>of</strong> a<br />

lion or a report <strong>of</strong> lion tracks or o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

sign on unpopulated lands or rural<br />

areas within <strong>the</strong> Black Hills.<br />

2. Encounter - an unexpected direct<br />

neutral meeting between a human and<br />

SOUTH DAKOTA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Kintigh 45<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

a lion without incident (<strong>Mountain</strong> lion<br />

sightings in close proximity to homes,<br />

stables or livestock in rural areas and<br />

unpopulated lands outside <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Black Hills). A mountain lion is<br />

observed for <strong>the</strong> first time in close<br />

proximity or within residential<br />

developments and occupied<br />

recreational area.<br />

3. Incident - a conflict between a human<br />

and lion that may have serious results<br />

(e.g. a lion that must be forced to back<br />

down). Recurring observations <strong>of</strong> a<br />

lion in close proximity or within<br />

residential developments and<br />

occupied recreational areas.<br />

Livestock is killed in rural areas.<br />

4. Substantial public threat - a mountain<br />

lion that is observed within a city near<br />

areas where children are regularly<br />

congregated, killing wildlife/pets<br />

residential developments or occupied<br />

recreational areas or repeatedly killing<br />

livestock.<br />

5. Attack - when a human is bodily<br />

injured or killed by contact with a<br />

mountain lion.<br />

Each occurrence requires an<br />

understanding <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong> circumstances and<br />

any history involved before an action is<br />

decided upon. In general, with every report<br />

<strong>of</strong> a lion a field investigation is highly<br />

encouraged by agency personnel (Table 1).<br />

Verification is key to any response.<br />

Table 1. Public Safety reports and resulting lion removals in South Dakota, 1998 – 2002.<br />

Year Number<br />

Reports<br />

Number<br />

Incidents<br />

Number<br />

Encounters<br />

Threatening<br />

Encounters<br />

Number <strong>of</strong> Public<br />

Safety Incidents<br />

Number <strong>Lion</strong>s<br />

Removed<br />

1998 57 5 2 2 5 0<br />

1999 54 1 0 0 1 0<br />

2000 66 5 4 1 1 1<br />

2001 144 4 8 3 4 0<br />

2002 198 5 6 2 2 1


46 SOUTH DAKOTA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Kintigh<br />

Table 2. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion depredations, verified depredations, and resulting lion removals in South<br />

Dakota, 1998 – 2002.<br />

Year Number Depredations<br />

Number Depredations<br />

Verified<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Number <strong>Lion</strong>s<br />

Removed<br />

1998 1 1 0<br />

1999 0 0 0<br />

2000 2 1 0<br />

2001 3 2 1<br />

2002 4 2 0<br />

Note – one lion has been removed due to livestock depredation in 2003 already.<br />

Personnel are encouraged to take every<br />

opportunity to educate <strong>the</strong> public regarding<br />

all aspects <strong>of</strong> living with lions. Each lion<br />

reporting person receives an agency<br />

produced brochure on <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong>s.<br />

Public education is emphasized at this time<br />

and every opportunity is taken.<br />

Keeping all options available to<br />

responding staff is very desirable to our<br />

agency. However, we will not pay for any<br />

damages incurred due to wildlife <strong>of</strong> any<br />

species.<br />

Relocation <strong>of</strong> problem lions was once<br />

considered, but, due to <strong>the</strong> geographically<br />

limited area <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Black Hills and <strong>the</strong><br />

existing lion population, it has been deemed<br />

an option that was unlikely to produce<br />

desirable results. Unusual circumstances<br />

may arise in which it may be attempted and<br />

<strong>the</strong> option has not been made totally<br />

unavailable.<br />

In rare cases, usually involving a single<br />

livestock producer, a permit has been issued<br />

for that individual to kill a lion that has been<br />

causing livestock depredation. Usually this<br />

only happens after agency efforts to remove<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fending lion have failed.<br />

Our agency is equipped with a trio <strong>of</strong><br />

trained lion hounds managed by an<br />

experienced houndsman. In most situations<br />

that necessitate a lion removal, <strong>the</strong> action is<br />

lead by our houndsman. Our state trappers<br />

are also equipped with leg snares, which are<br />

generally only set around livestock kills as<br />

<strong>the</strong> houndsman prepares to arrive on scene.<br />

On a few occasions, when a lion was a<br />

concern, but did not warrant removal we<br />

have chased <strong>the</strong> lion with hounds to haze <strong>the</strong><br />

lion. On at least one occasion <strong>the</strong> lion was<br />

treed and a radio collar was fitted to increase<br />

our knowledge <strong>of</strong> its activity.<br />

In regards to livestock depredation, we<br />

currently investigate every report <strong>of</strong> this but<br />

take slightly different approaches to<br />

resolution depending upon <strong>the</strong> location.<br />

Livestock kills within <strong>the</strong> Black Hills<br />

typically require multiple kills before action<br />

to remove <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fending lion is initiated.<br />

We are hesitant to remove lions from <strong>the</strong><br />

limited quality habitat available in South<br />

Dakota (Table 2). Livestock depredation<br />

complaints on <strong>the</strong> plains <strong>of</strong> South Dakota,<br />

where limited habitat and a strong<br />

agricultural industry exists, are addressed<br />

much more decisively and quickly.<br />

RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS<br />

The Department <strong>of</strong> Wildlife and<br />

Fisheries Sciences at South Dakota State<br />

University is currently completing a 5-year<br />

research project on cougars in <strong>the</strong> Black<br />

Hills. The main objectives <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> research<br />

were to 1) develop and evaluate a cougar<br />

habitat-relation model to predict <strong>the</strong> current<br />

distribution 2) estimate <strong>the</strong> population size,<br />

and evaluate survey techniques to document


population trend. A digital habitat relation<br />

model was constructed for cougars that<br />

ranked land in <strong>the</strong> Black Hills National<br />

Forest according to its suitability to cougars.<br />

The model was based on <strong>the</strong> distribution <strong>of</strong><br />

prey (white-tailed deer and mule deer),<br />

stalking topography (slopes), concealment<br />

habitat (riparian habitat), and anthropogenic<br />

characteristics (high-density residential<br />

areas, presence <strong>of</strong> highways). During <strong>the</strong><br />

winters <strong>of</strong> 1998 – 2001, we captured, radiocollared,<br />

and obtained weekly locations <strong>of</strong><br />

12 cougars in <strong>the</strong> Black Hills; locations <strong>of</strong><br />

cougars were used to validate <strong>the</strong> habitatrelation<br />

model. The cougar population in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Black Hills was estimated using program<br />

PUMA, incorporating parameters obtained<br />

from radio-collared cougars and habitat<br />

quality derived from <strong>the</strong> habitat-relation<br />

model. The total number <strong>of</strong> cougars in <strong>the</strong><br />

Black Hills was estimated to be 127 to 149<br />

cougars.<br />

A 3-month pilot study, testing <strong>the</strong><br />

efficacy <strong>of</strong> detecting cougars using scent<br />

lures (skunk essence, Powder River cat call)<br />

and camera stations was conducted in<br />

cooperation with <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> North<br />

Dakota. The camera-scent-station survey<br />

was not effective at detecting cougar<br />

presence. Zero photos <strong>of</strong> cougars were<br />

recorded although o<strong>the</strong>r species (whitetailed<br />

deer, Odocoileus virginianus, mule<br />

deer, O. hemionus, raccoon, Procyon lotor,<br />

red squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus,<br />

turkey vulture, Cathartes aura, free-ranging<br />

cattle, feral dogs, and bobcat, Lynx rufus)<br />

were detected, and cougars were known to<br />

be in <strong>the</strong> area during <strong>the</strong> survey. A snowtracking<br />

helicopter survey (Vansickle and<br />

Lindzey 1991) using a probability sampling<br />

technique was attempted during <strong>the</strong> winter<br />

<strong>of</strong> 2001-2002. Although cougar tracks <strong>of</strong> a<br />

radio-collared female and her 2 kittens could<br />

clearly be identified, wea<strong>the</strong>r conditions<br />

(poor snow conditions) did not permit <strong>the</strong><br />

survey to be completed. However, a<br />

SOUTH DAKOTA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Kintigh 47<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

database <strong>of</strong> consecutive winter daily<br />

locations <strong>of</strong> 3 male and 3 female cougars<br />

was established to aid in analyses <strong>of</strong> any<br />

future helicopter surveys.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> Fall 2002, a second 5-year<br />

study was initiated. The objectives <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

research are 1) to estimate survival and<br />

document causes <strong>of</strong> mortality <strong>of</strong> cougar<br />

kittens, 2) Determine longevity <strong>of</strong><br />

established radio-collared cougars 3)<br />

Document dispersal distances, routes, and<br />

destinations <strong>of</strong> subadult cougars, and 4)<br />

conduct snow tracking helicopter population<br />

survey to document population trends.<br />

Currently, 12 cougars (6 females, 6 males)<br />

including 2 subadult males are being<br />

monitored weekly from fixed wing aircraft<br />

using aerial radio-telemetry techniques.<br />

PUBLICATIONS<br />

FECSKE, D.M., J.A. JENKS, AND F.G.<br />

LINDZEY. 2001. Characteristics <strong>of</strong><br />

mountain lion mortalities in <strong>the</strong> Black<br />

Hills, South Dakota. <strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

6th <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong>, San<br />

Antonio, Texas: In Press.<br />

FECSKE, D.M., AND J.A. JENKS. 2001. The<br />

mountain lion returns to South Dakota.<br />

South Dakota Conservation Digest<br />

68(4):3-5.<br />

FECSKE, D.M., AND J.A. JENKS. 2001.<br />

Status report <strong>of</strong> mountain lions in South<br />

Dakota. <strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 6th<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong>, San Antonio,<br />

TX. In Press.<br />

FECSKE, D.M., J.A. JENKS, AND F. G.<br />

LINDZEY. 2003. Mortality <strong>of</strong> an adult<br />

cougar due to a forest fire in <strong>the</strong> Black<br />

Hills. The Prairie Naturalist 00:<br />

Submitted.<br />

GIGLIOTTI, L.M., D.M. FECSKE, AND J.A.<br />

JENKS. 2002. <strong>Mountain</strong> lions in South<br />

Dakota: A public opinion survey. South<br />

Dakota Department <strong>of</strong> Game, Fish, and<br />

Parks, Pierre, SD. 182 pp.<br />

LONG, E.S., D.M. FECSKE, R.A. SWEITZER,<br />

J.A. JENKS, B.M. PIERCE, AND V.C.


48 SOUTH DAKOTA MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Kintigh<br />

BLEICH. 2003. Efficacy <strong>of</strong> photographic<br />

scent stations to detect mountain lions.<br />

Western North American Naturalist 00:<br />

In Press.<br />

LITERATURE CITED<br />

BEIER, P. 1993. Puma: a population<br />

simulator for cougar conservation.<br />

Wildl. Soc. Bull. 21:356-357<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

VAN SICKLE, W.D., AND F.G. LINDZEY.<br />

1991. Evaluation <strong>of</strong> a cougar population<br />

estimator based on probability sampling.<br />

Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Management 55:738-<br />

743.


MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT FOR TEXAS<br />

JOHN YOUNG, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 3000 IH 35 South Suite 100, Austin, TX<br />

78612, USA, email: john.young@tpwd.state.tx.us<br />

Texas does not currently have a<br />

statewide management plan for mountain<br />

lions and <strong>the</strong> species is classified as nongame.<br />

Texas Parks and Wildlife<br />

Department (TPWD) non-game codes<br />

authorize <strong>the</strong> agency to establish hunting<br />

seasons, to close seasons, set bag limits,<br />

establish management zones, in o<strong>the</strong>r words,<br />

to utilize all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> management tools<br />

available for game species. With <strong>the</strong><br />

exception <strong>of</strong> a short list <strong>of</strong> non-game species<br />

<strong>of</strong> concern to TPWD, non-game species may<br />

be taken at any time <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> year in any<br />

numbers, which is <strong>the</strong> case for mountain<br />

lions at <strong>the</strong> present time. TPWD’s objective<br />

for mountain lions is to maintain a viable<br />

population, while minimizing human<br />

conflicts. No changes in mountain lion<br />

status have occurred in <strong>the</strong> past decade.<br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

Based on confirmed sightings and<br />

mortality records mountain lions are most<br />

common in <strong>the</strong> Trans Pecos and <strong>the</strong> brush<br />

country <strong>of</strong> South Texas. Mortality records<br />

49<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

over <strong>the</strong> last 20 years combined with photos<br />

confirm at least <strong>the</strong> occasional presence <strong>of</strong><br />

lions in all o<strong>the</strong>r sections <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state; more<br />

information is needed to determine<br />

population levels. Based on sightings, and<br />

voluntarily reported mortalities dating back<br />

to 1983, mountain lion populations appear<br />

stable. Table 1 presents mountain lion<br />

mortality information by ecological region<br />

for <strong>the</strong> time frame 1998/99 to 2001/02<br />

Texas does not currently estimate mountain<br />

lion populations, opting to monitor <strong>the</strong><br />

species using sightings and mortality<br />

reports. The lack <strong>of</strong> a satisfactory<br />

scientifically rigorous method to estimate<br />

mountain lions has been <strong>the</strong> primary reason<br />

TPWD has not attempted to do so. Texas<br />

has recently provided funding to a<br />

university-based scientist to estimate<br />

mountain lion population size, structure, and<br />

habitat factors utilizing new, highly credible<br />

molecular genetics. The study will be<br />

conducted over <strong>the</strong> next 2 years and will<br />

provide an estimate for Texas’ mountain<br />

lion population.<br />

Table 1. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion mortalities by ecological region, September 1998 through September 2002.<br />

Ecological Region 1998/99 1999/00 2000/01 20001/02<br />

Pineywoods 0 0 0 0<br />

Gulf Prairie & Marshes 0 3 0 0<br />

Post Oak Savannah 0 0 0 0<br />

Blackland Prairies 0 0 0 0<br />

Cross Timbers 0 0 0 1<br />

South Texas Plains 7 10 0 4<br />

Edwards Plateau 30 14 6 12<br />

Rolling Plains 0 0 0 0<br />

High Plains 0 0 0 0<br />

Trans-Pecos 92 60 64 48


50 TEXAS MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Young<br />

HARVEST INFORMATION<br />

Texas relies primarily on hunters, private<br />

landowners, and trappers to voluntarily<br />

report mountain lion kills. Texas also<br />

obtains an annual report from Texas<br />

Wildlife Damage Management Services<br />

(Table 1). There is an open season on<br />

mountain lions in Texas year-round. TPWD<br />

does not set harvest guidelines or bag limits<br />

for this species. <strong>Mountain</strong> lions may be<br />

taken by trap, shooting, hunting with dogs,<br />

aerial hunting, or M44. Records on <strong>the</strong><br />

number <strong>of</strong> lions harvested by different<br />

methods are not collected.<br />

TPWD does not have a predator incident<br />

manual/policy/guideline for mountain lions<br />

although such has been developed for black<br />

bear. In <strong>the</strong> past 10 years <strong>the</strong>re are only 3<br />

known public safety incidents in Texas<br />

related to mountain lion. Due to <strong>the</strong>ir rarity,<br />

TPWD does not formally record/collect<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

information on public safety incidents<br />

involving mountain lion. Depredation<br />

complaints received at TPWD are referred to<br />

Texas Wildlife Damage Management<br />

Services (TWDMS). In 2001/02 a total <strong>of</strong><br />

53 lions were killed by TWDMS personnel.<br />

Information on cougars removed by<br />

TWDMS prior to 2001/02 had been<br />

combined with o<strong>the</strong>r mortalities and has not<br />

been available separately.<br />

Individuals wishing to report a sighting<br />

or a problem with mountain lions are<br />

encouraged to contact TPWD. The<br />

department provides individuals<br />

experiencing depredation problems with <strong>the</strong><br />

number for <strong>the</strong>ir local TWDMS <strong>of</strong>fice for<br />

action. Relocation <strong>of</strong> mountain lions is<br />

discouraged but may be conducted by<br />

private organizations if <strong>the</strong>y acquire <strong>the</strong><br />

appropriate permits.


UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

CRAIG R. McLAUGHLIN, Utah Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Resources, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt<br />

Lake City, UT 84114, USA, email: craigmclaughlin@utah.gov<br />

Abstract: <strong>Mountain</strong> lions have been managed as a protected game species in Utah since 1967. In 1999 <strong>the</strong> Division<br />

<strong>of</strong> Wildlife Resources completed <strong>the</strong> Utah Cougar Management Plan, developed with <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong> a publicbased<br />

Cougar Discussion Group that will guide management <strong>of</strong> cougars through 2009. Cougar harvests are<br />

managed under both harvest objective (quota) and limited entry strategies. The Division manages to sustain cougar<br />

densities on all management units except those that have approved predator management plans, where cougar<br />

harvests are increased to reduce cougar numbers and predation on big game. All cougar complaints are handled<br />

under <strong>the</strong> guidance <strong>of</strong> a Nuisance Cougar Complaints policy. Most cougar conflicts are handled through lethal<br />

control. Cougar habitat encompasses about 92,696 km 2 (35,790 mi 2 ). The statewide population was estimated at<br />

2,528-3,936 cougars in 1999 in conjunction with <strong>the</strong> Cougar Management Plan. Cougar harvests have ranged from<br />

492 to 373 annually since <strong>the</strong> 1997-1998 season. Both <strong>the</strong> hunting and pursuit seasons run from mid-December<br />

through June, although some units have extended or shortened seasons. Cougars have been implicated in 74-114<br />

separate depredation incidents per year since 1998, with livestock losses ranging from $53,700 to $97,700 per year.<br />

Harvest-based indicators <strong>of</strong> sustainable harvesting have not been met in recent years. Currently, management is<br />

operating on an individual-unit scale, where interpretation <strong>of</strong> harvest data is hampered by small sample sizes. In<br />

addition, <strong>the</strong> Division should develop a means to monitor both reproduction and survival. Harvest management<br />

should improve with understanding <strong>of</strong> cougar movements and dispersal, particularly between lightly hunted and<br />

heavily harvested cougar populations.<br />

51<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

Key words: Cougar, livestock damage, harvest, management plan, mountain lion, Puma concolor<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions (Puma concolor), or<br />

cougars, were persecuted as vermin in Utah<br />

from <strong>the</strong> time <strong>of</strong> European settlement (in<br />

1847) until 1966. In 1967 <strong>the</strong> Utah State<br />

Legislature changed <strong>the</strong> status <strong>of</strong> cougars to<br />

protected wildlife and since <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>y have<br />

been considered a game species with<br />

established hunting regulations. The Utah<br />

Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Resources (UDWR)<br />

developed <strong>the</strong> Utah Cougar Management<br />

Plan in 1999 (UDWR 1999b) with <strong>the</strong><br />

assistance <strong>of</strong> a Cougar Discussion Group<br />

composed <strong>of</strong> representatives <strong>of</strong> various<br />

public interest groups. This plan will guide<br />

cougar management in Utah through 2009.<br />

Its goal is to maintain a healthy cougar<br />

population within existing occupied habitat<br />

while considering human safety, economic<br />

concerns and o<strong>the</strong>r wildlife species.<br />

Management objectives include: 1)<br />

maintaining current (1999) cougar<br />

distribution, with a reasonable proportion <strong>of</strong><br />

older age animals and breeding females,<br />

balancing population numbers with o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

wildlife species; 2) minimizing <strong>the</strong> loss in<br />

quality and quantity <strong>of</strong> existing critical and<br />

high priority cougar habitat; 3) reducing <strong>the</strong><br />

risk <strong>of</strong> loss <strong>of</strong> human life and reducing<br />

chances <strong>of</strong> injury by cougar; 4) maintaining<br />

a downward trend in <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> livestock<br />

killed by cougar; and 5) maintaining quality<br />

recreational opportunity for a minimum <strong>of</strong><br />

800 persons per year through 2009.<br />

Utah’s cougar harvests are controlled on<br />

specific geographic areas, or management<br />

units (Figure 1), using two harvest<br />

strategies: harvest objective and limited<br />

entry. Under <strong>the</strong> harvest objective<br />

strategy, managers prescribe a quota, or<br />

number <strong>of</strong> cougars to be harvested on <strong>the</strong><br />

unit. An unlimited number <strong>of</strong> licensed


52 UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · McLaughlin<br />

Figure 1. Wildlife Management Units used<br />

by Utah Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Resources to<br />

manage cougar harvests. Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> units<br />

have been subdivided for additional control<br />

<strong>of</strong> harvests.<br />

hunters are allowed to hunt during a season<br />

that is variable in length, as <strong>the</strong> hunting<br />

season closes as soon as <strong>the</strong> quota is filled or<br />

when <strong>the</strong> season end date is reached. Under<br />

<strong>the</strong> limited entry strategy, harvests are<br />

managed by limiting <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> hunters<br />

on a unit. The number <strong>of</strong> hunters is<br />

determined based upon an expectation <strong>of</strong><br />

hunting success and <strong>the</strong> desired harvest size.<br />

Individuals are usually selected for hunting<br />

on <strong>the</strong> unit through a random drawing<br />

process.<br />

In 1996 <strong>the</strong> Utah Wildlife Board<br />

approved a Predator Management Policy<br />

(UDWR 1996) that allows UDWR to<br />

increase cougar harvests on management<br />

units where big game populations are<br />

depressed, or where big game has recently<br />

been released to establish new populations.<br />

Most predator management plans directed at<br />

cougars have been designed to benefit mule<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and bighorn<br />

sheep (Ovis canadensis). Cougar harvests<br />

have been liberalized where big game<br />

populations are far below objective (


Figure 2. Cougar habitat in Utah. All<br />

colored areas represent occupied cougar<br />

habitat.<br />

Wasatch <strong>Mountain</strong>s in nor<strong>the</strong>rn and central<br />

Utah.<br />

The last statewide cougar population<br />

estimates were developed in conjunction<br />

with <strong>the</strong> Utah Cougar Management Plan in<br />

1999 (UDWR 1999b). These estimates used<br />

extrapolations <strong>of</strong> cougar densities from<br />

published studies in <strong>the</strong> southwestern United<br />

States to: 1) <strong>the</strong> total area within all<br />

management units that comprise cougar<br />

range, and 2) <strong>the</strong> total amount <strong>of</strong> occupied<br />

cougar habitat within Utah. The habitat<br />

quality within each management unit was<br />

classified as ei<strong>the</strong>r high, medium or low<br />

based on vegetative characteristics, terrain<br />

ruggedness (following Riley 1998) and prey<br />

density. Cougar densities derived from<br />

research within Utah, California and New<br />

Mexico were associated with each habitat<br />

quality level (UDWR 1999b). High quality<br />

habitat was assigned a density range <strong>of</strong> 2.5-<br />

3.9 cougars/100 km 2 , medium quality<br />

UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · McLaughlin 53<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

habitat was assigned a density <strong>of</strong> 1.7-2.5<br />

cougars/100 km 2 and a density <strong>of</strong> 0.26-0.52<br />

cougar/100 km 2 was assigned to low quality<br />

habitat.<br />

The first statewide population estimate<br />

<strong>of</strong> 2,528-3,936 cougars resulted from<br />

summing unit population estimates. The<br />

number <strong>of</strong> cougars on each unit was<br />

estimated by first multiplying <strong>the</strong> total area<br />

contained within <strong>the</strong> unit by <strong>the</strong> highest<br />

density <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> range assigned to it, and <strong>the</strong>n<br />

by <strong>the</strong> lowest density <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> range assigned<br />

to it.<br />

For comparison, a second estimate <strong>of</strong><br />

2,927 cougars statewide was generated<br />

based upon mean cougar densities and total<br />

occupied cougar habitat within <strong>the</strong> state.<br />

Each management unit’s cougar population<br />

was estimated by extrapolating <strong>the</strong> mean<br />

cougar density assigned to <strong>the</strong> unit (based on<br />

<strong>the</strong> respective range indicated above) to <strong>the</strong><br />

amount <strong>of</strong> occupied cougar habitat within<br />

<strong>the</strong> unit, and unit estimates were summed to<br />

obtain <strong>the</strong> statewide figure. The two<br />

methods produced population estimates that<br />

show considerable agreement, but <strong>the</strong>y<br />

should be only viewed as general<br />

approximations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> statewide cougar<br />

population.<br />

Utah’s cougar population is monitored<br />

through mandatory reporting <strong>of</strong> all hunterharvested<br />

cougars, cougars that are killed on<br />

highways or in accidents and those taken by<br />

animal damage control programs (Table 1).<br />

Location <strong>of</strong> kill, sex and age (through a<br />

premolar for age estimation) are recorded<br />

for every cougar killed, and provide <strong>the</strong> data<br />

used to assess management performance in<br />

relation to established target values that<br />

serve as indicators <strong>of</strong> population status.<br />

“Rules <strong>of</strong> thumb”, expressed as threshold<br />

values <strong>of</strong> 1) a minimum percentage <strong>of</strong> older<br />

aged animals in <strong>the</strong> harvest, 2) a maximum<br />

percentage <strong>of</strong> females in <strong>the</strong> harvest, and 3)<br />

minimum adult survival were set to ensure<br />

that cougar densities are maintained within


PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Table 1. Utah cougar harvests, 1989-1990 thru 2001-2002.<br />

Total Percent Percent<br />

Percent Treed<br />

Hunters Harvest Adult Adult Sub-adult Sub-adult Sport Average Quota Percent Female+ ADC O<strong>the</strong>r Total Adult > per<br />

6 years Pursuit<br />

Year Afield Permits Objective Males Females Males Females Harvest Age Success Filled Females Sub-adult Harvest Mortality Mortality Survival old Day<br />

1989-90 478 527 123 44 23 27 217 41.2% 32.7% 43.3% 48 10 275 0.41<br />

1990-91 480 525 144 46 40 35 265 50.5% 30.6% 45.7% 38 22 325 0.49<br />

1991-92 485 525 128 51 32 30 241 45.9% 33.6% 46.9% 34 22 297 0.45<br />

1992-93 598 591 206 64 54 48 372 62.9% 30.1% 44.6% 53 42 467 0.49<br />

1993-94 575 659 165 87 51 49 352 53.4% 38.6% 53.1% 53 10 415 0.57<br />

1994-95 656 791 205 103 57 66 431 54.5% 39.2% 52.4% 54 24 509<br />

1995-96 787 872 160 105 109 78 452 3.5 51.8% 40.5% 64.6% 33 39 524 0.67 16.7% 0.48<br />

1996-97 1376 595 275 172 172 125 107 576 3.8 56.0% 88.3% 48.4% 70.1% 40 50 666 0.67 20.0% 0.33<br />

1997-98 1370 509 270 204 159 57 72 492 3.2 54.4% 79.6% 47.0% 58.5% 27 23 542 0.63 14.5% 0.36<br />

1998-99 1201 446 230 156 100 50 67 373 3.1 49.0% 64.0% 44.8% 58.2% 13 1 387 0.62 10.1% 0.29<br />

1999-00 817 343 304 194 106 64 71 435 2.9 60.0% 81.0% 40.7% 55.4% 25 9 469 0.57 9.7% 0.28<br />

2000-01 272 371 165 127 77 80 449 3.3 52.0% 35.4% 46.1% 63.3% 73 20 542 0.63 12.8% 0.37<br />

2001-02 258 339 159 108 55 71 393 2.9 45.5% 59.5% 12 7 412 0.61 9.0%<br />

Total 2181 1272 794 801 5048<br />

Average 802.1 531.8 298.2 167.8 97.8 61.1 61.6 388.3 3.2 52.6% 69.7% 39.8% 55.1% 38.7 21.5 448.5 62.7% 13.3% 0.41<br />

Performance Targets: 40.0% 65.0% 15.0% 0.38<br />

54 UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · McLaughlin


UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · McLaughlin 55<br />

Table 2. Confirmed livestock losses due to cougar depredation in Utah, FY1992 to FY2002.<br />

Total Cougar<br />

Fiscal Year<br />

Number <strong>of</strong> Confirmed Losses:<br />

Incidents Ewes Lambs Bucks Calf Goat O<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Confirmed<br />

Losses<br />

Value<br />

Losses<br />

Taken by<br />

WS<br />

1992 103 175 745 0 4 0 922 34<br />

1993 114 263 722 1 2 0 988 $94,644.00 53<br />

1994 115 258 646 5 6 0 915 $120,615.00 53<br />

1995 152 335 760 24 12 0 1130 $111,495.00 54<br />

1996 112 257 621 2 6 0 878 $79,277.00 33<br />

1997 110 375 531 20 11 0 937 $106,210.00 46<br />

1998 114 253 506 19 13 0 805 $97,703.00 27<br />

1999 69 244 406 18 4 0 730 $92,945.00 11<br />

2000 82 160 371 2 15 0 548 $60,750.00 22<br />

2001 74 136 361 12 3 1 587 $61,395.00 18<br />

2002 95 167 453 18 11 2 1 652 $53,748.42 74<br />

TOTAL 1140 2623 6122 121 87 3 1 8957 $825,034.00 351<br />

all management units, except where predator<br />

management plans are in place. Threshold<br />

values <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> harvest criteria were obtained<br />

from <strong>the</strong> literature and from past evaluations<br />

<strong>of</strong> cougar population dynamics in Utah. This<br />

approach is likely conservative, but it is<br />

justified based upon our limited knowledge<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> abundance <strong>of</strong> deer and alternate prey<br />

in Utah (UDWR 1999b). Ongoing research<br />

on 2 study sites, under <strong>the</strong> direction <strong>of</strong> Dr.<br />

Michael Wolfe (Utah State University), is<br />

supplying comparative data on <strong>the</strong> dynamics<br />

<strong>of</strong> cougars subjected to varying levels <strong>of</strong><br />

hunting harvest. This information should<br />

help <strong>the</strong> Division refine management criteria<br />

in <strong>the</strong> near future. The Division also<br />

monitors trends in numbers <strong>of</strong> cougar<br />

incident reports, which have fluctuated in<br />

recent years (Table 2). Attempts to reduce<br />

<strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> cougar management units that<br />

are subject to predator management plans<br />

have met with little success, mostly due to<br />

continued drought and deteriorating range<br />

conditions.<br />

HARVEST INFORMATION<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Cougar hunting in Utah is regulated on a<br />

management-unit basis to address<br />

differences in cougar densities, hunter<br />

access and management objectives.<br />

Annually, <strong>the</strong> composition <strong>of</strong> each unit’s<br />

harvest is compared to performance targets<br />

that were selected to maintain cougar<br />

densities: 1) maintain an average <strong>of</strong> 15% or<br />

greater <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> harvest in older age classes<br />

(>6 years <strong>of</strong> age); 2) maintain total adult<br />

survival at or above 65%; 3) restrict <strong>the</strong><br />

female component to


56 UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · McLaughlin<br />

The harvest objective strategy is <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

used on units where managers want to<br />

ensure a substantial harvest. This strategy<br />

can result in hunter crowding and less hunter<br />

selectivity toward males, as many hunters<br />

take <strong>the</strong> first cougar <strong>the</strong>y encounter.<br />

Consequently, <strong>the</strong> harvest may be weighted<br />

toward young animals and females.<br />

Conversely, limited entry hunts allow<br />

managers to spread hunting effort over a<br />

longer time period and shift harvesting<br />

pressure toward adult males. This strategy<br />

is commonly used on management units that<br />

are readily accessible to hunters to minimize<br />

crowding and promote hunter selectivity for<br />

adult males.<br />

Since 2001, a few units have been<br />

harvested under a hybrid strategy, where<br />

both harvest objective and limited entry<br />

hunts are held. This approach attempts to<br />

produce a large harvest while encouraging<br />

some hunter selectivity. Under <strong>the</strong> hybrid<br />

strategy, a limited entry hunt is opened<br />

early, followed by a harvest objective hunt<br />

that is delayed until mid-winter. In <strong>the</strong> past,<br />

managers have used female sub quotas in<br />

conjunction with harvest objective strategies<br />

to protect females in <strong>the</strong> face <strong>of</strong> increased<br />

harvest pressure. This strategy has been<br />

discontinued because it biased <strong>the</strong> harvest<br />

sex composition toward females (through<br />

early closure when <strong>the</strong> sub quota was<br />

attained) and prevented meaningful<br />

evaluations <strong>of</strong> harvest sex composition<br />

under criterion 3 above.<br />

Each year, regional wildlife managers<br />

review <strong>the</strong> size and composition <strong>of</strong> harvests<br />

from individual units in relation to<br />

management rules <strong>of</strong> thumb and <strong>the</strong>n make<br />

recommendations for <strong>the</strong> forthcoming<br />

season. Often, <strong>the</strong>ir evaluations result in<br />

changes in <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> permits allocated,<br />

<strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> quotas and/or changes in harvest<br />

strategy. These regulation changes <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

result in year-to-year fluctuation in harvest<br />

strategy and hence harvest pressure. As a<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

result, variances in harvest size and<br />

composition are difficult to interpret. Total<br />

harvest has varied from 492 to 373 since <strong>the</strong><br />

1997-1998 season, with no definite trend<br />

(Table 1).<br />

Nearly all cougars harvested in Utah are<br />

taken with <strong>the</strong> aid <strong>of</strong> dogs. An individual<br />

hunter is restricted to holding ei<strong>the</strong>r a<br />

limited entry permit or a harvest objective<br />

permit per season, and must wait 3 years to<br />

reapply once he/she acquires a permit. The<br />

bag limit is 1 cougar per season and kittens<br />

and females accompanied by young are<br />

protected from harvest. Currently <strong>the</strong><br />

cougar-hunting season runs from December<br />

14, 2002 through June 1, 2003 on both<br />

limited entry and harvest objective units.<br />

However, some units are open year-round<br />

and some have earlier or later opening dates.<br />

Because harvest objective units close as<br />

soon as <strong>the</strong> objective (quota) is reached,<br />

hunters must call a toll-free number daily to<br />

ensure that <strong>the</strong> season in <strong>the</strong>ir hunt unit is<br />

still open.<br />

Pursuit (chase or no-kill) seasons<br />

provide additional recreational opportunities<br />

over most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> State. The pursuit season<br />

generally runs December 14, 2002 through<br />

June 1, 2003, but specific units have yearround<br />

pursuit and a few units are closed to<br />

pursuit hunting. In recent years, <strong>the</strong> Division<br />

has sold about 600-700 cougar pursuit<br />

permits annually (Table 3).<br />

The Division began managing cougar<br />

harvests through statewide limited entry<br />

hunting in 1990 and increased numbers <strong>of</strong><br />

Table 3. Number <strong>of</strong> cougar pursuit permits<br />

sold in Utah, 1999-2002.<br />

Year Resident Non-Resident Total<br />

1999-2000 572 49 621<br />

2000-2001 595 59 654<br />

2001-2002 621 84 705<br />

Combined 1788 192 1980


UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · McLaughlin 57<br />

Table 4. Comparison <strong>of</strong> harvest characteristics for Utah management units that have predator<br />

management plans (designed to reduce cougar numbers) and units that are managed to sustain<br />

cougar populations.<br />

Criteria (Threshold for<br />

sustaining population)<br />

Predator Management Plan in Place<br />

1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002<br />

% Females ( 6 years (>15) 9.7 9.8 10<br />

Adult Survival (>0.65) 0.60 0.61 0.52<br />

Cougar treed/day (0.38) 0.24 0.16<br />

permits through 1995-1996 (Table 1). In<br />

1996-1997, additional harvest pressure was<br />

added by switching some management units<br />

to <strong>the</strong> harvest objective (quota) system and a<br />

record high <strong>of</strong> 1,376 hunters was afield<br />

(Table 1). Since <strong>the</strong>n, <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> hunters<br />

afield has declined nearly one-third. The<br />

hunting harvest has declined over <strong>the</strong> same<br />

period (Table 1).<br />

Units with predator management plans<br />

designed to reduce cougar densities produce<br />

harvests <strong>of</strong> similar composition to areas<br />

where <strong>the</strong> management objective is to<br />

sustain higher population densities (Table<br />

4). Throughout <strong>the</strong> State, <strong>the</strong> proportion <strong>of</strong><br />

harvest comprised <strong>of</strong> females has usually<br />

been above <strong>the</strong> prescribed threshold for<br />

maintaining cougar densities, <strong>the</strong> percent <strong>of</strong><br />

older aged cougars in <strong>the</strong> harvest has<br />

remained below <strong>the</strong> desired threshold level,<br />

adult survival is below <strong>the</strong> desired level, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> cougar treeing rate is below <strong>the</strong> value<br />

ascribed as an indicator <strong>of</strong> secure population<br />

abundance. Given <strong>the</strong> relative abundance <strong>of</strong><br />

de facto refugia for cougars in Utah<br />

(National Parks, wilderness and inaccessible<br />

tracts) and <strong>the</strong> species’ propensity to<br />

disperse long distances, current harvest<br />

prescriptions may not prove effective for<br />

attaining ei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> State’s management<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

No Predator Management Plan<br />

1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002<br />

38 46 47<br />

7.6 12.3 9<br />

0.59 0.61 0.62<br />

0.30 0.24<br />

objectives (maintenance <strong>of</strong> population<br />

density, or substantial reduction in<br />

population density).<br />

Evaluation <strong>of</strong> Harvest Information<br />

The harvest-based criteria used in Utah’s<br />

cougar management system are based upon<br />

published research, and represent <strong>the</strong><br />

expectation <strong>of</strong> harvest statistics that are<br />

associated with sustained population<br />

densities. However, managers have not<br />

been able to fully meet all threshold values<br />

since <strong>the</strong> Cougar Management Plan was<br />

adopted in 1999. There may be several<br />

explanations for this difficulty, including <strong>the</strong><br />

geographic scale <strong>of</strong> management actions and<br />

differences in <strong>the</strong> vital rates <strong>of</strong> cougar<br />

populations within Utah.<br />

The proportion <strong>of</strong> mature (>6 years <strong>of</strong><br />

age) cougars in <strong>the</strong> harvest is used as an<br />

index <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> mature cougars in<br />

<strong>the</strong> underlying population. If this proportion<br />

declines below 15%, <strong>the</strong> management plan<br />

assumes that <strong>the</strong> harvest rate is<br />

unsustainable. However, scarcity <strong>of</strong> olderaged<br />

cougars in harvests could also result<br />

from light (sustainable) harvesting <strong>of</strong> a<br />

productive cougar population by<br />

nonselective hunters, where relatively few<br />

cougars are taken and <strong>the</strong> harvest is


58 UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · McLaughlin<br />

composed <strong>of</strong> mostly subadults and youngeraged<br />

adults.<br />

The proportion <strong>of</strong> adult females in <strong>the</strong><br />

harvest is assumed to increase with<br />

increasing harvest pressure, and <strong>the</strong><br />

threshold level chosen for sustainability in<br />

Utah (>40%) is based upon research from<br />

several western states. However, managers<br />

are evaluating small management units,<br />

some containing


understanding with UDWR. Their reports<br />

are compiled on a fiscal year basis (and<br />

<strong>the</strong>refore numbers/year differ from those<br />

reported in Table 1), and confirm livestock<br />

losses ranging from $53,700 to $97,700 per<br />

year since 1998 (Table 2). Cougars were<br />

implicated in 74-114 separate depredation<br />

incidents per year during this period, killing<br />

548-805 sheep, cattle and goats annually<br />

(Table 2).<br />

RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS<br />

UDWR is funding research conducted<br />

through <strong>the</strong> Utah State University, under <strong>the</strong><br />

direction <strong>of</strong> Dr. Michael Wolfe. This<br />

research has been ongoing on two study<br />

sites since 1995, and is directed at<br />

determining means <strong>of</strong> quantifying cougar<br />

populations and evaluating <strong>the</strong> effects <strong>of</strong><br />

harvesting on <strong>the</strong>m. Field research is<br />

currently underway by David Stoner, MS<br />

candidate.<br />

Recent Publications<br />

MAXFIELD, BRIAN D. 2002. Utah cougar<br />

harvest report 1998-1999. Annual<br />

UTAH MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · McLaughlin 59<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

performance report, Fed. Aid Project No.<br />

W-150-R-8. Publ. No. 02-07, Utah Div.<br />

Wildlife Res., Salt Lake City. 38 pp.<br />

MAXFIELD, BRIAN D. 2002. Utah cougar<br />

harvest report 1999-2000. Annual<br />

performance report, Fed. Aid Project No.<br />

W-150-R-8. Publ. No. 02-08, Utah Div.<br />

Wildlife Res., Salt Lake City. 41 pp.<br />

LITERATURE CITED<br />

RILEY, S.J. 1998. Integration <strong>of</strong><br />

environmental, biological, and human<br />

dimensions for management <strong>of</strong> mountain<br />

lions (Puma concolor) in Montaina. Ph.<br />

D. Diss., Cornell Univ. 158 pp.<br />

UDWR. 1996. Predator Management<br />

Policy. Utah Div. <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Res. Salt<br />

Lake City. UDWR. 1999a. Nuisance<br />

Cougar Complaints. Policy No.<br />

W5WLD-5. Utah Div. <strong>of</strong> Wildlife Res. 4<br />

pp.<br />

UDWR. 1999B. UTAH COUGAR MANAGEMENT<br />

PLAN. UTAH DIV. OF WILDLIFE RES. SALT<br />

LAKE CITY. 60 PP.


WASHINGTON COUGAR STATUS REPORT<br />

RICHARD A. BEAUSOLEIL, Bear / Cougar Specialist, Washington Department <strong>of</strong> Fish and<br />

Wildlife, 3515 Chelan Highway, Wenatchee, Washington, 98801, USA<br />

DONALD A. MARTORELLO, Bear, Cougar, and Special Species Section Manager,<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, Washington, 98501,<br />

USA<br />

ROCKY D. SPENCER, Dangerous Wildlife Specialist, Washington Department <strong>of</strong> Fish and<br />

Wildlife, 42404 North Bend Way SE, North Bend, Washington, 98045, USA<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

Cougar (Puma concolor) occur<br />

throughout most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> forested regions <strong>of</strong><br />

Washington State, encompassing<br />

approximately 88,497 km 2 or 51% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

State (Figure 1). Cougar became a protected<br />

big game species in 1966 and hunting<br />

seasons and harvest limits were established<br />

under <strong>the</strong> management authority <strong>of</strong><br />

Washington Department <strong>of</strong> Fish and<br />

Wildlife (WFDW). In 1967, <strong>the</strong><br />

Washington State Legislature passed a bill<br />

establishing a tag system in Washington. In<br />

1970, WDFW began mandatory reporting <strong>of</strong><br />

cougar kills and in 1979 inspection and<br />

sealing <strong>of</strong> cougar pelts was required for data<br />

collection. In <strong>the</strong> mid-1980’s WDFW began<br />

collecting cougar teeth for age analysis.<br />

Figure 1. Distribution <strong>of</strong> cougars (gray) and<br />

cougar management units in Washington.<br />

60<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

Currently, <strong>the</strong> statewide cougar management<br />

goal is to maintain healthy, self-sustaining<br />

cougar populations within each cougar<br />

management unit (CMU), except CMU 9,<br />

while minimizing <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> negative<br />

human-cougar interactions.<br />

HUNTING SEASONS AND HARVEST<br />

TRENDS<br />

Cougar seasons have changed<br />

significantly over <strong>the</strong> last several years<br />

(Figure 2). During <strong>the</strong> November 1996<br />

general election, Washington voters passed<br />

Initiative 655 (I-655) that banned <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong><br />

hounds for hunting cougar and bobcat, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> bait and hounds for hunting black<br />

bear. In an effort to mitigate <strong>the</strong> anticipated<br />

decrease in cougar harvest (i.e., post I-655),<br />

permit-only seasons were replaced with<br />

general seasons, cougar seasons were<br />

leng<strong>the</strong>ned from approximately 6 weeks to 7<br />

and one-half months, and bag limit was<br />

increased from 1 to 2 cougar/year.<br />

Legislation was also passed that provided<br />

<strong>the</strong> authority to <strong>the</strong> Fish and Wildlife<br />

Commission to establish reduced costs for<br />

cougar and black bear transport tags, which<br />

<strong>the</strong>y did from $24 to $5 in 1996 (cougar tags<br />

can also be purchased as part <strong>of</strong> a big game<br />

package). The outcome <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se strategies is<br />

that <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> hunters purchasing a<br />

cougar tag in Washington has increased<br />

from 1,000 to 59,000. As a result, annual


350<br />

300<br />

250<br />

200<br />

150<br />

100<br />

50<br />

General Seasons<br />

Dogs Allowed<br />

Kill report required<br />

WASHINGTON COUGAR STATUS REPORT · Beausoleil et al. 61<br />

1979 - 1986<br />

1987 - 1995 1996 - 2002<br />

Figure 2. Cougar season structure and harvest in Washington, 1979-2002.<br />

cougar harvest during post I-655 years has<br />

increased slightly; however, <strong>the</strong> composition<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> harvest has changed dramatically.<br />

The majority <strong>of</strong> cougar harvested pre-I 655<br />

was done so with <strong>the</strong> aid <strong>of</strong> dogs, thus<br />

mostly males and older animals were taken.<br />

Since 1996, <strong>the</strong> majority <strong>of</strong> cougars are<br />

harvested ei<strong>the</strong>r as opportunistic encounters<br />

by deer/elk and cougar hunters, or by using<br />

tracking and calling techniques. These<br />

harvest methods are not as selective as using<br />

dogs. Therefore, since 1996, hunters have<br />

harvested more females and younger<br />

cougars (see oral presentation titled Cougar<br />

Harvest Characteristics With and Without<br />

<strong>the</strong> Use <strong>of</strong> Dogs in this proceedings).<br />

POPULATION STATUS AND TREND<br />

ANALYSIS<br />

The status <strong>of</strong> cougar populations is<br />

currently estimated through computer<br />

population simulation models, harvest<br />

characteristics, and, to a lesser degree,<br />

trends in human-cougar interactions.<br />

Based on population reconstruction<br />

models, harvest age data, and statewide<br />

cougar habitat estimates (using GAP<br />

analysis), <strong>the</strong> cougar population in<br />

Permit Seasons<br />

Dogs Allowed<br />

I 655<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

General Seasons<br />

Dogs Banned<br />

Washington is likely between 2,400–4,000<br />

animals, and cougar population size is likely<br />

declining in a few areas <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state.<br />

Typically, <strong>the</strong> status <strong>of</strong> local or regional<br />

cougar populations are monitored via hunter<br />

effort and success, median age data, and<br />

percentage <strong>of</strong> females in <strong>the</strong> harvest; but<br />

only when viewed over several years with<br />

consistent harvest methods. Due to <strong>the</strong><br />

changes in harvest methods during <strong>the</strong> last<br />

several years (predominantly hound hunters<br />

during pre I-655 years versus entirely spotstalk<br />

hunters during post I-655 years), no<br />

reliable trend data exist to accurately assess<br />

regional cougar populations or exploitation<br />

levels. As such, new population monitoring<br />

efforts are beginning in 2003, where cougar<br />

density and adult female survival will be<br />

evaluated and monitored in key areas <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

State.<br />

HUMAN CONFLICT<br />

Human-cougar interactions are managed<br />

through public education, capture-removal,<br />

depredation permits, and public safety<br />

cougar removals. Since 1995, WDFW has<br />

recorded information on human-cougar<br />

interactions. Of particular concern is <strong>the</strong>


62 WASHINGTON COUGAR STATUS REPORT · Beausoleil et al.<br />

To address human safety<br />

To protect threatened and<br />

endangered species<br />

To prevent loss <strong>of</strong> domestic<br />

animals<br />

To increase game populations<br />

0 20 40 60 80 100<br />

Figure 3. During a general public opinion<br />

survey, <strong>the</strong> percent <strong>of</strong> Washington<br />

respondents that supported reducing<br />

predator numbers for specific purposes<br />

(Duda et al. 2002).<br />

increasing trend in human safety incidents,<br />

and pet and livestock depredations. When<br />

Washington citizens were asked about <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

attitudes regarding cougars, over 80%<br />

responded that reducing predator numbers<br />

for public safety is acceptable (Figure 3).<br />

Recognizing <strong>the</strong> widespread scope <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

issue and its importance to cougars and<br />

people in <strong>the</strong> future, current cougar<br />

management goals include maintaining<br />

sustainable cougar populations and reducing<br />

human-cougar interactions. In some cases,<br />

reducing cougar populations to a lower, but<br />

sustainable level may help achieve both <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se goals (Table 1). Given <strong>the</strong> recent<br />

Confirmed complaints<br />

1000<br />

900<br />

800<br />

700<br />

600<br />

500<br />

400<br />

300<br />

200<br />

100<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

0<br />

247<br />

495<br />

563<br />

927<br />

694<br />

936<br />

498<br />

378<br />

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002<br />

Year<br />

Figure 4. Total confirmed cougar complaints<br />

in Washington, 1995-2002 (includes human<br />

safety and pet/livestock incidents).<br />

history <strong>of</strong> high human-cougar interactions,<br />

WDFW developed a special cougar removal<br />

process to address cougar densities in areas<br />

with high levels <strong>of</strong> human-cougar<br />

interactions. Under rules adopted by <strong>the</strong><br />

Fish and Wildlife Commission, public safety<br />

cougar removals occurred in 17 Game<br />

Management Units from Dec 15 – Mar. 15,<br />

in both <strong>the</strong> 2001-2002 and 2002-03 seasons;<br />

in those seasons 109 and 76 cougar were<br />

identified for removal and licensed hunters<br />

Table 1. Cougar population objectives for each cougar management unit in Washington, 2002.<br />

CMU Geographic Area Population Objective<br />

1 Coastal Maintain a stable cougar population<br />

2 Puget Sound Reduce * cougar population to enhance public safety and protection <strong>of</strong> property<br />

3 North Cascades Maintain a stable cougar population<br />

4 South Cascades Maintain a stable cougar population<br />

5 East Cascades North Reduce * cougar population to enhance public safety and protection <strong>of</strong> property<br />

6 East Cascades South Maintain a stable cougar population<br />

7 Nor<strong>the</strong>astern Reduce * cougar population to enhance public safety and protection <strong>of</strong> property<br />

8 Blue <strong>Mountain</strong>s Maintain a stable cougar population<br />

9 Columbia Basin Unsustainable; not considered suitable cougar habitat<br />

* Implement cougar population reductions over a 3-year period and monitor annually.


emoved 67 and 54 animals, respectively<br />

(61% and 71% success rate, respectively).<br />

Confirmed human-cougar incidents<br />

decreased by 47% during <strong>the</strong> 2001 calendar<br />

year from 936 in 2000 to 498 and an<br />

additional 24% in 2002 to 378 (Figure 4).<br />

MANAGEMENT CONCLUSIONS<br />

The statewide cougar population appears<br />

to be declining at this time due to increased<br />

female harvest and objectives to address<br />

public safety and protection <strong>of</strong> property.<br />

Given <strong>the</strong> distribution <strong>of</strong> cougars in<br />

Washington and <strong>the</strong> projected growth <strong>of</strong><br />

human populations, interactions between<br />

humans and cougars will likely continue.<br />

WASHINGTON COUGAR STATUS REPORT · Beausoleil et al. 63<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

As such, <strong>the</strong> long-term future <strong>of</strong> cougar in<br />

Washington ultimately rests in our ability to<br />

co-exist. Therefore, management efforts<br />

should continue to look for ways to<br />

minimize human-cougar interactions,<br />

particularly at <strong>the</strong> local population level.<br />

LITERATURE CITED<br />

DUDA, M.D., P.E. DE MICHELE, M. JONES,<br />

W. TESTERMAN, C. ZURAWSKI, J.<br />

DEHOFF, A. LANIER, S.J. BISSELL, P.<br />

WANG, AND J.B. HERRICK. 2002.<br />

Washington residents’ opinions on and<br />

attitudes toward hunting and game<br />

species management. Harrisonburg,<br />

Virginia, USA.


WYOMING MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT<br />

SCOTT A. BECKER, Trophy Game Section, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, 260 Buena<br />

Vista, Lander, WY 82520, USA, email: Scott.Becker@wgf.state.wy.us<br />

DANIEL D. BJORNLIE, Trophy Game Biologist, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, 260<br />

Buena Vista, Lander, WY 82520, USA, email: Dan.Bjornlie@wgf.state.wy.us<br />

DAVID S. MOODY, Trophy Game Section Coordinator, Wyoming Game and Fish Department,<br />

260 Buena Vista, Lander, WY 82520, USA, email: Dave.Moody@wgf.state.wy.us<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

Management <strong>of</strong> mountain lions (Puma<br />

concolor) has changed markedly since <strong>the</strong><br />

nineteenth century. In 1882, <strong>the</strong> Wyoming<br />

Territorial government enacted legislation<br />

placing a bounty on mountain lions and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r predators. This allowed for lion<br />

hunting throughout <strong>the</strong> year and no bag<br />

limits were enforced. In 1973, <strong>the</strong> mountain<br />

lion was reclassified as a trophy game<br />

animal, which made <strong>the</strong> Wyoming Game<br />

and Fish Department (WGFD) fiscally liable<br />

for confirmed livestock losses. The<br />

following year, <strong>the</strong> first hunting season was<br />

established that included <strong>the</strong> entire state as a<br />

single hunt area, a bag limit <strong>of</strong> 1 lion per<br />

year was enacted, kittens and females with<br />

kittens at side were protected, and hunters<br />

were required to present skulls and pelts <strong>of</strong><br />

harvested lions to <strong>the</strong> nearest WGFD<br />

District Office or local game warden.<br />

In 1997, <strong>the</strong> WGFD prepared a draft<br />

management plan for mountain lions, but <strong>the</strong><br />

plan has yet to be finalized. However, six<br />

main objectives outlined in <strong>the</strong> draft<br />

management plan continue to guide lion<br />

management objectives for <strong>the</strong> state <strong>of</strong><br />

Wyoming, <strong>the</strong>y are: 1) maintain mountain<br />

lion populations within suitable habitat<br />

throughout Wyoming; 2) provide mountain<br />

lion-related recreational opportunities; 3)<br />

minimize female lion harvest in areas where<br />

population stability or increase is desirable;<br />

4) minimize mountain lion depredation and<br />

64<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

lion/human interactions; 5) tailor<br />

management objectives to conditions present<br />

within each <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Management<br />

Unit (MLMU) where possible; and 6)<br />

implement more specific, quantifiable<br />

objectives within each MLMU as<br />

information on <strong>the</strong> state’s lion population<br />

allows. Using <strong>the</strong>se objectives as<br />

guidelines, <strong>the</strong> WGFD attempts to balance<br />

recreational demand and harvest with <strong>the</strong><br />

biological needs <strong>of</strong> lion populations<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> state.<br />

DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lions are distributed<br />

throughout nearly all habitats in Wyoming<br />

although densities are not uniform. <strong>Lion</strong><br />

densities are thought to be highest in <strong>the</strong><br />

Bighorn, Owl Creek, and Laramie mountain<br />

ranges (Wyoming Game and Fish<br />

Department 1997), while some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> lowest<br />

densities may be found in <strong>the</strong> grasslands <strong>of</strong><br />

nor<strong>the</strong>astern Wyoming. In <strong>the</strong> Bighorn<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong>s, Logan and Irwin (1985) found<br />

that mixed conifer and curl leaf mountain<br />

mahogany habitats were used most in<br />

relation to availability, whereas sagebrush<br />

grass habitat types were generally avoided.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Snowy Range <strong>Mountain</strong>s <strong>of</strong><br />

sou<strong>the</strong>astern Wyoming, lions were found at<br />

lower elevations during <strong>the</strong> winter and<br />

concentrated <strong>the</strong>ir use near <strong>the</strong> timber/prairie<br />

interface (Chuck Anderson, personal<br />

communication).


Figure 1. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion management units<br />

and hunt areas in Wyoming, 2002.<br />

WYOMING MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Becker et al. 65<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

HARVEST INFORMATION<br />

Data on mountain lions are ga<strong>the</strong>red<br />

annually among 28 hunt areas that are<br />

grouped into 5 MLMUs (Figure 1), <strong>the</strong><br />

boundaries <strong>of</strong> which encompass large areas<br />

with contiguous topographic features and<br />

are believed to encompass population<br />

centers. Each hunt area has a maximum<br />

annual mortality quota that varies from 2 –<br />

34, with 5 areas also having a maximum<br />

female mortality quota (Table 1). If ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

quota is filled, <strong>the</strong> hunting season in that<br />

hunt area automatically closes. Currently,<br />

hunting seasons open on September 1 and<br />

close on March 31 for all hunt areas except<br />

Table 1. Wyoming mountain lion management units, hunt areas, season dates, and quotas for<br />

harvest year 2002.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong><br />

Management Unit<br />

Nor<strong>the</strong>ast<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>ast<br />

Southwest<br />

North-Central<br />

West<br />

Hunt Area Season Dates<br />

Annual Mortality<br />

Quota<br />

Annual Female<br />

Mortality Quota<br />

1 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 7<br />

24 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 2<br />

5 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 12<br />

6 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 34<br />

7 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 6<br />

8 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 8<br />

9 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 3<br />

25 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 3<br />

27 Sept. 1-Aug. 31 20<br />

10 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 6<br />

11 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 2<br />

12 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 6 3<br />

13 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 3<br />

16 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 6<br />

15 Sept. 1-Aug. 31 25<br />

21 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 25<br />

22 Sept. 1-Aug. 31 15<br />

23 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 15 8<br />

2 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 12 6<br />

3 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 8 4<br />

4 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 4<br />

14 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 9<br />

17 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 5<br />

18 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 12<br />

19 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 20<br />

20 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 15<br />

26 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 12 7<br />

28 Sept. 1-Mar. 31 3


66 WYOMING MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Becker et al.<br />

15, 22, and 27, in which year round seasons<br />

exist. Quotas begin at <strong>the</strong> start <strong>of</strong> each<br />

hunting season and include all legal and<br />

illegal hunting mortalities.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion data in Wyoming are<br />

limited to information obtained annually<br />

from harvest or o<strong>the</strong>r documented forms <strong>of</strong><br />

mortality. Since 1974, hunters have been<br />

required to present <strong>the</strong> skull and pelt <strong>of</strong><br />

harvested lions to a district game warden or<br />

biologist at <strong>the</strong> nearest WGFD regional<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice within 72 hours after <strong>the</strong> harvest.<br />

Information collected during <strong>the</strong>se<br />

inspections include: harvest date, location,<br />

sex, lactation status, estimated age, number<br />

<strong>of</strong> days spent hunting, whe<strong>the</strong>r or not dogs<br />

were used, and number <strong>of</strong> lions observed<br />

while hunting. Skulls and pelts must be<br />

presented in an unfrozen condition so teeth<br />

can be removed. Evidence <strong>of</strong> sex must<br />

remain naturally attached to <strong>the</strong> pelt for<br />

accurate identification.<br />

Legal shooting hours are from one-half<br />

hour before sunrise to one-half hour after<br />

sunset. The individual bag limit for lions is<br />

1 lion per hunter per calendar year, except<br />

for 1 hunt area in central Wyoming, where 1<br />

additional lion may be taken each calendar<br />

year. Kittens (


Total <strong>Lion</strong> Harvest<br />

250<br />

200<br />

150<br />

100<br />

50<br />

0<br />

78<br />

1993<br />

1994<br />

95 110<br />

145 144<br />

206<br />

214<br />

201<br />

186<br />

172<br />

1995<br />

1996<br />

1997<br />

1998<br />

1999<br />

2000<br />

2001<br />

2002<br />

Figure 2. Total Wyoming mountain lion<br />

harvest, 1993-2002.<br />

information into mountain lion harvest<br />

analyses in order to better assess mountain<br />

lion population trends. This will eventually<br />

aid in adjusting population objectives and,<br />

thus quotas, to ensure sustainable lion<br />

populations statewide.<br />

There has been a steady increase in<br />

harvest since 1993, which has leveled <strong>of</strong>f in<br />

recent years at around 200 (Figure 2). Since<br />

1993, <strong>the</strong> average percent <strong>of</strong> females in <strong>the</strong><br />

harvest has been 43%, ranging from 32% in<br />

1993 to 51% in 2000 (Figure 3). The<br />

percent <strong>of</strong> adults in <strong>the</strong> female harvest has<br />

steadily declined in <strong>the</strong> past 10 years, falling<br />

from around 70% adult females in 1993 and<br />

1994 to around 40% adults in 2001 and 2002<br />

(Figure 4). This decline in <strong>the</strong> past two<br />

years is likely due in part to a change in <strong>the</strong><br />

criteria used to classify adults and juveniles<br />

prior to <strong>the</strong> 2001 hunting season. Since<br />

1993, hunter effort has ranged from 3.3 to<br />

5.8 days per lion for an average <strong>of</strong> 3.9 days<br />

per lion. Ninety-two percent <strong>of</strong> all<br />

successful hunters in Wyoming harvested<br />

lions with <strong>the</strong> aid <strong>of</strong> dogs from 1993 – 2002.<br />

DEPEDATIONS AND HUMAN-LION<br />

INTERACTIONS/CONFLICTS<br />

Currently, Wyoming uses a statewide<br />

protocol for managing trophy game<br />

WYOMING MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Becker et al. 67<br />

Percent<br />

100%<br />

75%<br />

50%<br />

25%<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

0%<br />

1993<br />

1994<br />

1995<br />

1996<br />

1997<br />

1998<br />

1999<br />

2000<br />

2001<br />

2002<br />

Percent Females Percent Males<br />

Figure 3. Percent male and female mountain<br />

lion harvest in Wyoming, 1993-2002.<br />

depredations and interactions with humans.<br />

A depredating lion is defined as a lion that<br />

injures or kills livestock or domestic pets.<br />

In addition, 4 types <strong>of</strong> human/mountain lion<br />

interactions are defined by <strong>the</strong> WGFD, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are 1) recurring sighting – repeated sightings<br />

<strong>of</strong> a particular lion; 2) encounter – an<br />

unexpected meeting between a human and a<br />

lion without incident; 3) incident – an<br />

account <strong>of</strong> abnormal lion behavior that could<br />

have more serious results in <strong>the</strong> future (e.g.,<br />

a lion attacking a pet, or a lion exhibiting<br />

aggressive behavior, without attack, toward<br />

Percent<br />

100%<br />

75%<br />

50%<br />

25%<br />

0%<br />

1993<br />

1994<br />

1995<br />

1996<br />

1997<br />

1998<br />

1999<br />

2000<br />

Adult Females Juvenile Females<br />

2001<br />

2002<br />

Figure 4. Percent adult and juvenile female<br />

mountain lion harvest in <strong>the</strong> total female<br />

harvest in Wyoming, 1993-2002.


68 WYOMING MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Becker et al.<br />

humans); and 4) attack – human injury or<br />

death resulting from a lion attack. Each<br />

incident is handled on a case-by-case basis<br />

and is dealt with accordingly based on <strong>the</strong><br />

location <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> incident, <strong>the</strong> threat to human<br />

safety, <strong>the</strong> severity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> incident, and <strong>the</strong><br />

number <strong>of</strong> incidents <strong>the</strong> animal has been<br />

involved in. Every effort is made to prevent<br />

unnecessary escalation <strong>of</strong> incidents through<br />

an ascending order <strong>of</strong> options and<br />

responsibilities:<br />

1) No Management Action Taken<br />

- Informational packets are provided<br />

to <strong>the</strong> reporting party that describe<br />

mountain lion natural history and<br />

behavior, damage prevention tips,<br />

and what to do in <strong>the</strong> event <strong>of</strong> an<br />

encounter.<br />

2) Deterrent Methods<br />

- Removal or securing <strong>of</strong> attractant<br />

- Removal <strong>of</strong> depredated carcass<br />

- Removal or protection <strong>of</strong> livestock<br />

3) Aversive Conditioning<br />

- Use <strong>of</strong> rubber bullets<br />

- Use <strong>of</strong> pepper spray<br />

- Use <strong>of</strong> noise making devices or<br />

flashing lights<br />

- Informational packets provided to<br />

<strong>the</strong> reporting party<br />

4) Trapping and Relocation<br />

- If <strong>the</strong> above efforts do not deter <strong>the</strong><br />

lion from <strong>the</strong> area, if public safety<br />

is compromised, if it is a first<br />

<strong>of</strong>fense, <strong>of</strong> if it has been a lengthy<br />

span <strong>of</strong> time between <strong>of</strong>fenses<br />

- Informational packets provided to<br />

<strong>the</strong> reporting party<br />

5) Lethal Removal <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Animal by <strong>the</strong><br />

WGFD<br />

- If <strong>the</strong> above methods do not deter<br />

<strong>the</strong> lion, if public safety is<br />

compromised, or if <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fending<br />

lion has been involved in multiple<br />

incidents in a short span <strong>of</strong> time<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

- Wyoming statute 23-3-115 allows<br />

property owners or <strong>the</strong>ir employees<br />

and lessees to kill mountain lions<br />

damaging private property, given<br />

that <strong>the</strong>y immediately notify <strong>the</strong><br />

nearest game warden <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

incident<br />

- <strong>Lion</strong>s that have been removed from<br />

<strong>the</strong> population will be used for<br />

educational purposes<br />

- Informational packets provided to<br />

<strong>the</strong> reporting party<br />

Education is a very important aspect <strong>of</strong><br />

human and mountain lion interaction<br />

prevention. Therefore, <strong>the</strong> WGFD works<br />

closely with hunters, outfitters,<br />

recreationalists, livestock operators, and<br />

homeowners in an attempt to minimize<br />

conflicts with trophy game animals. Every<br />

spring, <strong>the</strong> WGFD hosts bear and lion<br />

workshops throughout <strong>the</strong> state to inform <strong>the</strong><br />

public about bear and lion biology, front and<br />

back-country food storage techniques, and<br />

what to do in <strong>the</strong> event <strong>of</strong> an encounter with<br />

a bear or lion. In addition, numerous<br />

presentations are given throughout <strong>the</strong> year<br />

to civic, private, and school groups. Media<br />

outlets are also used to inform, and in rare<br />

incidents warn, <strong>the</strong> general public about bear<br />

and lion safety issues and any recent<br />

sightings.<br />

Even with all <strong>the</strong> educational efforts<br />

undertaken by <strong>the</strong> WGFD and preventive<br />

measures taken by <strong>the</strong> public, conflicts with<br />

mountain lions do occur. The number <strong>of</strong><br />

mountain lion conflicts have ranged from a<br />

low <strong>of</strong> 13 reported incidents in 2002 to a<br />

high <strong>of</strong> 64 reported incidents in 1997. There<br />

have been a total <strong>of</strong> 40 mountain lion/human<br />

interactions in Wyoming since 1996 with no<br />

major injuries or deaths reported.<br />

Wyoming statute 23-1-901 provides<br />

monetary compensation for confirmed<br />

livestock damage caused by mountain lions.<br />

The number <strong>of</strong> damage claims for <strong>the</strong> last 10<br />

years range from 11 in 1995 to 28 in 1998,


and payments made to claimants range from<br />

a low <strong>of</strong> $22,627 paid in 1999 to a high <strong>of</strong><br />

$44,071 paid in 1998 (Table 2). One<br />

hundred percent <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mountain lion<br />

damage claims paid in 2002 was for sheep<br />

depredations. From 1996 to 2002, 84% <strong>of</strong><br />

reported lion depredations in Wyoming have<br />

involved sheep, 6% have involved horses,<br />

6% unknown livestock species, and 4% have<br />

involved cattle. An average <strong>of</strong> 4.9 nuisance<br />

lions were removed annually in <strong>the</strong> last 10<br />

years while an average <strong>of</strong> 1 lion was<br />

translocated annually from 1996 – 2002 (no<br />

translocation data available prior to 1996).<br />

PUBLIC ATTITUDES<br />

In 1995, <strong>the</strong> WGFD contracted with <strong>the</strong><br />

Survey Research Center at <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong><br />

Wyoming to determine attitudes and<br />

knowledge <strong>of</strong> Wyoming residents on<br />

mountain lions and mountain lion<br />

management (Gasson and Moody 1995).<br />

Over 71% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> approximately 500<br />

WYOMING MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Becker et al. 69<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

respondents believed lions were a benefit to<br />

Wyoming. Attitudes toward mountain lion<br />

hunting were generally supportive, with<br />

49.6% agreeing or strongly agreeing that<br />

mountain lion hunting should continue and<br />

29.3% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.<br />

The remaining respondents were ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

neutral or did not answer. However, most<br />

(57%) disagreed or strongly disagreed that<br />

hunting lions with dogs should continue as a<br />

legal method <strong>of</strong> take. Only 25.3% <strong>of</strong><br />

respondents agreed or strongly agreed, while<br />

<strong>the</strong> remaining respondents were neutral or<br />

did not respond to <strong>the</strong> question. A large<br />

majority <strong>of</strong> respondents (80.7%) agreed or<br />

strongly agreed that mountain lion hunting<br />

seasons should be modified to avoid<br />

harvesting kittens or running females with<br />

kittens. A large majority <strong>of</strong> respondents<br />

(71%) were also opposed to <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> dogs<br />

to run and tree lions during non-harvest,<br />

chase seasons.<br />

Table 2. Wyoming ten-year mountain lion damage claim and translocation/removal history (all<br />

causes).<br />

Year # Claims $ Claimed $ Paid Translocations Removals<br />

1993 29 33,214.56 30,002.53<br />

0<br />

1994 26 30,498.51 24,646.00<br />

a<br />

5<br />

1995 11 40,634.67 34,594.67<br />

a<br />

4<br />

1996 14 28,540.96 24,947.95 0 6<br />

1997 20 28,935.16 28,761.50 1 10<br />

1998 28 56,171.39 44,070.79 2 5<br />

1999 21 32,307.63 22,627.43 2 6<br />

2000 20 42,352.69 30,773.59 0 5<br />

2001 15 38,322.79 25,592.46 1 6<br />

2002 13 35,870.99 32,075.05 0 2<br />

Mean 19.7 36,686.74 29,809.20 0.86 4.9<br />

a<br />

No data available.<br />

a


70 WYOMING MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT · Becker et al.<br />

RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS<br />

ANDERSON, C.R., JR., AND F.G. LINDZEY.<br />

2003. Estimating cougar predation rates<br />

from GPS location clusters. Journal <strong>of</strong><br />

Wildlife Management 67(2): 307-316.<br />

ANDERSON, C.R., JR., F.G. LINDZEY, AND<br />

N.P. NIBBELINK. In review. Estimating<br />

cougar abundance using probability<br />

sampling: an evaluation <strong>of</strong> transect<br />

versus block design. Journal <strong>of</strong> Wildlife<br />

Management 00(0): 000-000.<br />

ANDERSON, C.R., JR., AND F.G. LINDZEY.<br />

In press. Monitoring changes in cougar<br />

sex/age structure with changes in<br />

abundance as an index to population<br />

trend.<br />

ANDERSON, C.R., JR., F.G. LINDZEY, AND<br />

D.B. MCDONALD. In press. Genetic<br />

structure <strong>of</strong> cougar populations across<br />

<strong>the</strong> Wyoming Basin: metapopulation or<br />

megapopulation.<br />

ANDERSON, C.R., JR., AND F.G. LINDZEY.<br />

2000. A guide to estimating mountain<br />

lion age classes. Wyoming Cooperative<br />

Fish and Wildlife Research Unit,<br />

Laramie, Wyoming.<br />

GASSON, W., AND D. MOODY. 1995.<br />

Attitudes <strong>of</strong> Wyoming residents on<br />

mountain lion management. Planning<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

rep. #40, Wyoming Game and Fish<br />

Department, Cheyenne. 7 pp.<br />

WYOMING GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT.<br />

1997. <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Management<br />

Plan. Wyoming Game and Fish<br />

Department. 30 pp.<br />

WYOMING GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT.<br />

1999. Protocol for managing aggressive<br />

wildlife/human interactions. Wyoming<br />

Game and Fish Department. 17 pp.<br />

WYOMING GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT.<br />

2003. Annual mountain lion mortality<br />

summary: harvest year 2002. Trophy<br />

Game Section, Lander, Wyoming. 22<br />

pp.<br />

LITERATURE CITED<br />

GASSON W. AND D. MOODY. 1995.<br />

Attitudes <strong>of</strong> Wyoming residents on<br />

mountain lion management. Planning<br />

rep. #40, Wyoming Game and Fish<br />

Department, Cheyenne, 7 pp.<br />

LOGAN, K.A. AND L.L. IRWIN. 1985.<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> lion habitats in <strong>the</strong> Bighorn<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong>s, Wyoming. Wildlife Society<br />

Bulletin 13: 257-262.<br />

WYOMING GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT.<br />

1997. <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Management<br />

Plan. Wyoming Game and Fish<br />

Department. 30 pp.


CRYPTIC COUGARS - PERSPECTIVES ON THE PUMA IN THE EASTERN,<br />

MIDWESTERN, AND GREAT PLAINS REGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA<br />

JAY W. TISCHENDORF DVM, Director, American Ecological Research Institute (AERIE),<br />

Post Office Box 1826, Great Falls, MT 59403, USA, email: TischendorfJ@Hotmail.com<br />

Abstract: The subject <strong>of</strong> cougars in eastern North America continues to intrigue and perplex wildlife biologists,<br />

managers, and nature enthusiasts. Almost uniformly considered extirpated throughout states and provinces in<br />

eastern and midwestern North America over a century ago, growing numbers <strong>of</strong> reports, some accompanied by<br />

incontrovertible evidence such as full specimens, blood, scat, track, or film documentation, suggest that Puma<br />

concolor is re-establishing, or has re-established, itself in some areas <strong>of</strong> this vast region. Similar evidence exists for<br />

<strong>the</strong> Great Plains. This paper, while probably raising more questions than it answers, examines <strong>the</strong> best and most<br />

current evidence for <strong>the</strong> occurrence <strong>of</strong> cougars in <strong>the</strong> East, Midwest, and Great Plains; discusses <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficial status <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> species; and provides a perspective on <strong>the</strong> scientific, social, and political opportunities and challenges posed by<br />

this fascinating and compelling situation.<br />

71<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

Key words: cougar, recovery, East, Midwest, Great Plains, prairie, North America, Puma concolor<br />

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES<br />

The possible existence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> puma<br />

(Puma concolor) in eastern and midwestern<br />

North America today, approximately 100<br />

years since its supposed extirpation from <strong>the</strong><br />

region, is among <strong>the</strong> most provocative and<br />

exciting mysteries in <strong>the</strong> modern realms <strong>of</strong><br />

natural history, ecology, wildlife<br />

management, and conservation biology.<br />

Importantly, <strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cougar in <strong>the</strong><br />

East, <strong>the</strong> ghost <strong>of</strong> North America, as it was<br />

dubbed by Bruce Wright, an early champion<br />

for its recovery, has far-reaching, global<br />

implications for carnivore conservation,<br />

continental ecological equilibrium, and<br />

perhaps most <strong>of</strong> all, our own fulfillment as<br />

stewards <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> planet (Wright 1959). To<br />

understand this yet unfolding story, several<br />

fundamental concepts need review:<br />

1. Throughout North America from <strong>the</strong><br />

Great Plains eastward, with <strong>the</strong><br />

exception <strong>of</strong> Florida, <strong>the</strong> puma was<br />

generally considered extirpated by <strong>the</strong><br />

early 1900s (Young and Goldman<br />

1946).<br />

2. Since that time, in virtually every state<br />

and every province across this vast<br />

region, scores <strong>of</strong> people, including<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional scientists, biologists,<br />

naturalists, and foresters, have been<br />

reporting observations <strong>of</strong> cougars or<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir sign (Wright 1972, Tischendorf<br />

and Henderson 1994).<br />

3. While many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se reports are<br />

unverifiable or erroneous, a surprising<br />

number have been confirmed, <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

with <strong>the</strong> details published in peerreviewed<br />

literature. This history <strong>of</strong><br />

confirmed reports since <strong>the</strong> time <strong>of</strong><br />

supposed extirpation suggests, at a<br />

minimum, <strong>the</strong> periodic presence <strong>of</strong> freeranging<br />

cougars in <strong>the</strong> region.<br />

4. Several plausible explanations exist for<br />

<strong>the</strong>se cryptic cats: 1) continued<br />

existence <strong>of</strong> native pumas; 2)<br />

immigration <strong>of</strong> western cats; 3)<br />

presence <strong>of</strong> feral escaped or released<br />

captives (FERCs); or 4) combinations<br />

<strong>of</strong> any or all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se (Nowak 1976,<br />

Downing 1984).


72 CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf<br />

From ecological, social, and political<br />

standpoints <strong>the</strong>re are three main questions<br />

that this paper seeks to answer. One, are<br />

<strong>the</strong>re cougars in <strong>the</strong> aforementioned region<br />

today? Two, if pumas are present, do <strong>the</strong>y<br />

represent a breeding population(s)? Finally,<br />

what is <strong>the</strong> future <strong>of</strong> Puma concolor east <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Rocky <strong>Mountain</strong>s? What truly does <strong>the</strong><br />

public want when it comes to large<br />

carnivore recovery or restoration in <strong>the</strong><br />

East? Possibilities here include active<br />

recovery, passive recovery (i.e., <strong>the</strong> animals<br />

establish viable populations on <strong>the</strong>ir own<br />

without active, direct human intervention),<br />

or overt efforts to preclude recovery.<br />

DISCUSSION<br />

Puma Presence, Populations, and <strong>the</strong> Big<br />

Picture Perspective<br />

To effectively understand <strong>the</strong> cryptic<br />

cougar situation, it is critical to maintain a<br />

big picture perspective (Tischendorf 1992c,<br />

1996a, b). Among <strong>the</strong> many who have<br />

commented on <strong>the</strong> subject over <strong>the</strong> years,<br />

and especially among those skeptical <strong>of</strong><br />

cougar presence or recovery east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Rockies, this perspective, “from Nova<br />

Scotia to Nebraska” (Tischendorf 1996a:43),<br />

has <strong>of</strong>ten been lacking (Tischendorf 1992c;<br />

1996a, b). Such a perspective was,<br />

however, utilized by Bruce Wright and,<br />

more recently, by United States Fish and<br />

Wildlife Service (USFWS) researcher<br />

Robert Downing. Downing authored <strong>the</strong><br />

eastern cougar recovery plan and speculated<br />

on <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> an extremely low density,<br />

widely dispersed puma population in <strong>the</strong><br />

eastern United States (USA) (Downing<br />

1981, 1984; United States Fish and Wildlife<br />

Service 1982).<br />

Downing’s views, coupled with updated<br />

range information syn<strong>the</strong>sized by Allen<br />

Anderson and intensive independent review<br />

<strong>of</strong> 100 years’ worth <strong>of</strong> reports and<br />

documentation, led one author to<br />

subsequently suggest that <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

actually upwards <strong>of</strong> four loosely interrelated<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

puma populations in <strong>the</strong> East and Midwest<br />

(Downing 1981, 1984; Anderson 1983;<br />

Tischendorf 1993c). Each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se lowdensity<br />

puma populations was believed to<br />

consist <strong>of</strong> widely dispersed, widely roaming,<br />

and perhaps transient animals (Tischendorf<br />

1993c). These populations were believed to<br />

have <strong>the</strong>ir epicenters in <strong>the</strong> Canadian<br />

Maritimes-New England region, <strong>the</strong> Great<br />

Lakes-nor<strong>the</strong>rn Midwest region, <strong>the</strong><br />

Missouri-Arkansas-Oklahoma area, and <strong>the</strong><br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>ast.<br />

This <strong>the</strong>ory <strong>of</strong> course remains unproven,<br />

although it was revisited at a previous<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong> by several <strong>of</strong> this<br />

author’s colleagues similarly associated with<br />

<strong>the</strong> West Virginia-based Eastern Cougar<br />

Foundation (ECF) (Bolgiano et al. 2000).<br />

Members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ECF, formed in 1999, are<br />

utilizing automatic cameras in an attempt to<br />

document consistent cougar presence or<br />

family groups that could support <strong>the</strong> above<br />

hypo<strong>the</strong>sis. The ECF (website at<br />

www.easterncougar.org) is notable in that it<br />

has been able to positively partner with<br />

several governmental agencies and share in<br />

<strong>the</strong> efforts to recover pumas in <strong>the</strong> East.<br />

Such critical cooperation is also<br />

demonstrated with <strong>the</strong> Eastern Cougar<br />

Network (ECN). This group’s website,<br />

www.easterncougarnet.org, is a nonadvocacy<br />

amalgamation <strong>of</strong> peer-reviewed<br />

contributions on <strong>the</strong> subject <strong>of</strong> cougars from<br />

essentially every state and provincial<br />

resource agency from <strong>the</strong> Great Plains<br />

eastward. The site thus serves effectively as<br />

a real-time source <strong>of</strong> scientifically based<br />

status information on <strong>the</strong> cat, and perhaps<br />

one day o<strong>the</strong>r predators including gray<br />

wolves (Canis lupus), black bears (Ursus<br />

americana), lynx (Lynx canadensis), and<br />

wolverines (Gulo gulo) east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rockies.<br />

Seemingly integral to <strong>the</strong> subject <strong>of</strong><br />

cougars east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rockies is <strong>the</strong> question<br />

<strong>of</strong> whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> species persisted in its native<br />

state beyond <strong>the</strong> days <strong>of</strong> its supposed


extirpation. In <strong>the</strong> big picture, however, if<br />

free-ranging pumas are present and<br />

behaving in wild puma ways, <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

origin, whe<strong>the</strong>r from native eastern or<br />

western stock or sanctioned or unsanctioned<br />

releases, should not alter <strong>the</strong>ir proper<br />

management and may be irrelevant. While<br />

<strong>the</strong> cats in many confirmed puma reports are<br />

written <strong>of</strong>f as FERCs and denied<br />

consideration as legitimate ecological<br />

entities, <strong>the</strong> North American continent teems<br />

with a host <strong>of</strong> wildlife populations having<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir origins in captivity. These span <strong>the</strong><br />

spectrum from critically endangered species<br />

to non-native exotics raised like barnyard<br />

fowl and annually introduced solely for<br />

sporting opportunities. Yet <strong>the</strong>se former<br />

captives continue to benefit from <strong>of</strong>ficial<br />

recognition, management, and protection.<br />

Should mountain lions that happen to show<br />

up in areas where <strong>the</strong>ir presence is<br />

considered improbable be any different?<br />

Having said this, <strong>the</strong> historically<br />

consistent pattern <strong>of</strong> sightings and periodic<br />

confirmations, while circumstantial,<br />

suggests native pumas did persist in many<br />

areas <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir former midwestern and eastern<br />

range at least into <strong>the</strong> 1940s and 1950s.<br />

After World War II, however, ownership <strong>of</strong><br />

cougars and o<strong>the</strong>r wild, exotic, or novelty<br />

animals became part <strong>of</strong> mainstream<br />

Americana and some captive cougars likely<br />

ended up as FERCs. Unfortunately this<br />

phenomenon continues today and is not<br />

necessarily limited to <strong>the</strong> eastern USA. As a<br />

result, <strong>the</strong> ultimate origin <strong>of</strong> almost any freeranging<br />

puma today, even with genetic<br />

testing, may truly be indeterminate.<br />

Summary <strong>of</strong> Occurrence Records<br />

In keeping with a big picture perspective<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cryptic cougar subject, it is useful to<br />

review a sampling <strong>of</strong> bonafide puma reports.<br />

Examples <strong>of</strong> confirmed or highly credible<br />

reports, mostly peer-reviewed, follow.<br />

“Confirmed kill” indicates that a puma was<br />

killed and <strong>the</strong> incident documented both<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf 73<br />

photographically and by written or verbal<br />

elaboration <strong>of</strong> substantial details, or without<br />

photos but with written or verbal elaboration<br />

<strong>of</strong> substantial details by a pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

scientist or wildlife manager associated with<br />

or employed by a governmental natural<br />

resource agency or academic institution.<br />

“Reported kill” involves highly credible<br />

documentation by a natural resource<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional <strong>of</strong> a mountain lion being killed,<br />

but reflects a lack <strong>of</strong> substantial details.<br />

“Confirmed tracks” indicates that a track or<br />

tracks consistent with those <strong>of</strong> a puma were<br />

located and documented via measurements<br />

and/or photographs subsequently published<br />

in mainstream scientific or popular literature<br />

and thus widely available for independent<br />

scrutiny and au<strong>the</strong>ntication.<br />

Reported kill - Williston, North Dakota,<br />

1902 (Bailey 1926)<br />

Reported kill - Bears Paw <strong>Mountain</strong>s,<br />

Montana, 1910 (White 1967)<br />

Reported kill - Fontana Village area,<br />

Tennessee, 1920 (Linzey and Linzey<br />

1971)<br />

Confirmed kill - Mundleville, New<br />

Brunswick, 1932 (Wright 1972)<br />

Confirmed kill - Little Saint John Lake,<br />

Maine-Quebec border, 1938 (Wright<br />

1972)<br />

Confirmed kill - Madison, Saskatchewan,<br />

1939 (Clarke 1942)<br />

Confirmed kill - Pasquia Hills,<br />

Saskatchewan, 1948 (White 1963)<br />

Confirmed kill - Asheville, Alabama, 1948<br />

(Anonymous 1948)<br />

Confirmed kill - Mena, Arkansas, 1948<br />

(Lewis 1969, Nowak 1976)<br />

Confirmed kill - Sims, Arkansas, 1949<br />

(Sealander 1951)<br />

Confirmed kill - Black Hills, South Dakota,<br />

1958 (Mann 1959)<br />

Reported kills (2) - Newcastle, Wyoming,<br />

ca 1950s-1960s (Roop 1971)<br />

Reported kills (2) - Van Tassell, Wyoming,<br />

ca 1959-1960 (Roop 1971)


74 CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf<br />

Confirmed kill - Keithville, Louisiana,<br />

1965 (Goertz and Abegg 1966)<br />

Confirmed kill - Edinboro, Pennsylvania,<br />

1967 (Doutt 1969)<br />

Confirmed carcass - Checotah, Oklahoma,<br />

1968 (Lewis 1969)<br />

Confirmed kill - Hamburg, Arkansas, 1969<br />

(Noble 1971)<br />

Reported kill - Ekalaka, Montana, ca 1970<br />

(Nowak 1976)<br />

Confirmed kill - Pikeville, Tennessee, 1971<br />

(Nowak 1976)<br />

Confirmed kill - Stead, Manitoba, 1973<br />

(Nero and Wrigley 1977)<br />

Confirmed kill - Cutknife, Saskatchewan,<br />

1975 (White 1976)<br />

Cougar reportedly trapped - Baca County,<br />

Colorado, 1976 (Boddicker 1980)<br />

Confirmed hematological evidence -<br />

Menominee County, Michigan, 1984<br />

(Bill Adrian, Colorado Division <strong>of</strong><br />

Wildlife, personal communication)<br />

Puma trapped, radio-collared, translocated<br />

to Black Hills - central South Dakota,<br />

1990 or 1992 (Ted Benzon and Ron<br />

Sieg, South Dakota Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Game, Fish and Parks, personal<br />

communication; Tischendorf and<br />

Henderson 1994) (Note: This cat was<br />

killed in <strong>the</strong> Black Hills in 1996 [Ron<br />

Sieg, South Dakota Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Game, Fish and Parks, personal<br />

communication])<br />

Confirmed kill - Golden Valley County,<br />

North Dakota, 1991 (Tischendorf and<br />

Henderson 1994)<br />

Confirmed kill - Pine Ridge area, Nebraska,<br />

1991 (Tischendorf 1992a, Tischendorf<br />

and Henderson 1994)<br />

Cougar trapped and translocated to<br />

Colorado - Worthington, Minnesota,<br />

1991 (Tischendorf 1992a, b)<br />

Confirmed kill - Lowery, South Dakota,<br />

1992 (Tischendorf and Henderson<br />

1994)<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

Confirmed kill - Lake Abitibi, Quebec,<br />

1992 (Tischendorf 1993a)<br />

Confirmed tracks - McKiel Lake, New<br />

Brunswick, 1992 (Tischendorf 1993b,<br />

Cumberland and Dempsey 1994)<br />

Confirmed kill - Texas County, Missouri,<br />

1994 (Hardin 1996, Bolgiano et al.<br />

2000)<br />

Confirmed kill - Mitchell, Nebraska, 1996<br />

(Frank Andelt, Nebraska Game and<br />

Parks Commission, personal<br />

communication)<br />

Confirmed kill - Floyd County, Kentucky,<br />

1997 (Bolgiano 2001)<br />

Confirmed kill - Randolph County, Illinois,<br />

2000 (Clark et al 2002)<br />

Confirmed kill - Duluth, Minnesota, 2001<br />

(Anonymous 2002)<br />

Confirmed kill - Harlan, Iowa, 2001<br />

(Anonymous 2002, Clark et al 2002)<br />

Confirmed kill - Callaway County,<br />

Missouri, 2003 (Graham 2003)<br />

Almost 30 years ago Nowak (1976:143-<br />

144) commented, “The sum <strong>of</strong> evidence<br />

suggests that native cougar populations have<br />

maintained <strong>the</strong>mselves in sou<strong>the</strong>astern<br />

Canada, within <strong>the</strong> former range <strong>of</strong> F. c.<br />

cougar (sic: should be couguar), and in <strong>the</strong><br />

Ozark Plateau and adjoining forests <strong>of</strong><br />

Arkansas, sou<strong>the</strong>rn Missouri, eastern<br />

Oklahoma, and nor<strong>the</strong>rn Louisiana.”<br />

Indeed, even if ecologically significant<br />

populations did not persist, <strong>the</strong> above list<br />

suggests it is doubtful that <strong>the</strong>se furtive<br />

felids were ever totally extirpated from <strong>the</strong><br />

vast, and in many cases relatively<br />

inaccessible, environs <strong>of</strong> this area.<br />

Relatively pristine areas within New<br />

Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba,<br />

for instance, could possibly have sustained<br />

individual pumas or even vestigial, remnant<br />

populations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se cats through <strong>the</strong> “Dark<br />

Age” <strong>of</strong> wildlife and habitat management<br />

late in <strong>the</strong> late 19 th and early 20 th centuries.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> USA, a number <strong>of</strong> areas could<br />

also have served as similar refugia. As late


as <strong>the</strong> mid-1940s, for instance, noted<br />

mammalogist Victor Cahalane<br />

acknowledged cougar presence in<br />

Shenandoah National Park and adjacent<br />

Blue Ridge country <strong>of</strong> Virginia (Cahalane<br />

1948). O<strong>the</strong>r plausible refuges include<br />

nor<strong>the</strong>rn Maine, <strong>the</strong> Adirondacks, <strong>the</strong><br />

Quabbin Reservoir area in Massachusetts,<br />

nor<strong>the</strong>rn Pennsylvania, <strong>the</strong> impenetrable<br />

sou<strong>the</strong>astern and sou<strong>the</strong>rn coastal swamps,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Great Smoky <strong>Mountain</strong>s area, <strong>the</strong><br />

Tennessee-Virginia-Kentucky-West<br />

Virginia border country, <strong>the</strong> dense<br />

northwoods <strong>of</strong> Michigan and Minnesota, <strong>the</strong><br />

Ozark and Ouachita <strong>Mountain</strong> complex <strong>of</strong><br />

Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and <strong>the</strong><br />

Black Hills <strong>of</strong> South Dakota and Wyoming.<br />

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus<br />

virginianus) and mule deer (Odocoileus<br />

hemionus) irruptions in many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se same<br />

areas were identified circa 1940, confirming<br />

that within only a few generations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

puma’s supposed demise <strong>the</strong>se sites had an<br />

adequate prey base to sustain or attract <strong>the</strong><br />

species (Leopold et al. 1947). While an<br />

alternative argument is <strong>of</strong> course that <strong>the</strong><br />

irruptions resulted from lack <strong>of</strong> predators,<br />

irruptions were also noted in <strong>the</strong> Rocky<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong>s, where historically we know<br />

mountain lion populations may have been<br />

depleted but were never decimated.<br />

Indeed, in seminal biological<br />

publications as late as <strong>the</strong> mid-1970s and<br />

1980s several noted mammalogists and<br />

wildlife scientists postulated <strong>the</strong> continued<br />

presence <strong>of</strong> puma populations in <strong>the</strong>se very<br />

same areas (Cahalane 1964, Burt and<br />

Grossenheider 1976, Nowak 1976, Deems<br />

and Pursley 1978, Russell 1978, Hall 1981,<br />

Anderson 1983).<br />

None<strong>the</strong>less, such reports seemingly<br />

generated merely passing interest from<br />

mainstream science and remained largely <strong>of</strong>f<br />

<strong>the</strong> radar screen <strong>of</strong> wildlife biologists.<br />

Today, with <strong>the</strong> growing groundswell in<br />

conservation biology and corridor ecology,<br />

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CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf 75<br />

scientists are more inclined to recognize <strong>the</strong><br />

importance and implications <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> presence<br />

<strong>of</strong> small, insular predator populations or<br />

even remnant, wandering, or dispersing<br />

individuals. Indeed, such enclaves or<br />

individuals may provide <strong>the</strong> necessary seed<br />

for recolonization or recovery.<br />

Natural resource agencies responsible<br />

for some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se above-mentioned areas<br />

today, such as <strong>the</strong> Black Hills, have in fact<br />

confirmed extant puma populations<br />

(Tischendorf and Henderson 1994).<br />

Additionally, for quite some time o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

states such as North Dakota, Minnesota,<br />

Wisconsin, Missouri, and Arkansas have<br />

acknowledged at least limited and sporadic<br />

puma presence (Sealander and Gipson 1973,<br />

Gerson 1988, Tischendorf and Henderson<br />

1994, Clark et al. 2002, Graham 2003,<br />

Heisel 2003). Michigan Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Natural Resources <strong>of</strong>ficials acknowledge <strong>the</strong><br />

presence <strong>of</strong> pumas in <strong>the</strong> Great Lakes State<br />

as well, and ongoing work <strong>the</strong>re at least<br />

suggests <strong>the</strong> possibility <strong>of</strong> a resident,<br />

breeding population (Johnson 2002,<br />

Zuidema 2002, Mike Zuidema, Michigan<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Forestry, retired, personal<br />

communication). Given <strong>the</strong> habitat, cover,<br />

prey base, and presence <strong>of</strong> a thriving<br />

carnivore guild that includes populations <strong>of</strong><br />

wolves, bears, coyotes (Canis latrans),<br />

bobcats (Felis rufus), fishers (Martes<br />

pennanti), and probably an occasional lynx,<br />

it would perhaps be more surprising if<br />

Michigan did not have a resident puma<br />

population.<br />

The situation in <strong>the</strong> Prairie Provinces <strong>of</strong><br />

Canada, with <strong>the</strong>ir seemingly less<br />

sensational and less controversial approach<br />

to <strong>the</strong> cat, is similar, if not even more<br />

definitive. In Saskatchewan, <strong>the</strong> late Tom<br />

White documented <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> a small<br />

population <strong>of</strong> pumas filtering among <strong>the</strong><br />

coulees and more rugged reaches <strong>of</strong> this<br />

sprawling province (White 1982). The<br />

Yukon and Northwest Territories, and


76 CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf<br />

Alaska as well, have a consistent history <strong>of</strong><br />

credible puma reports, suggesting occasional<br />

dispersal, while Manitoba Conservation<br />

continues to recognize a stable and perhaps<br />

growing puma population in that province<br />

(Cahalane 1964; Weddle 1965; Kuyt 1971;<br />

White 1982; Wrigley and Nero 1982; Robert<br />

W. Nero, Manitoba Museum <strong>of</strong> Man and<br />

Nature, retired, personal communication).<br />

Cougar Comeback<br />

Some researchers believe that pumas, as<br />

wolves did in <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn Rocky <strong>Mountain</strong>s<br />

in <strong>the</strong> 1980s, are in fact re-colonizing many<br />

areas in <strong>the</strong> Great Plains and central<br />

mountains eastward (Tischendorf and<br />

Henderson 1994). As is true for <strong>the</strong> Dakotas<br />

and Minnesota, most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> prairie states,<br />

including Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and<br />

Iowa acknowledge, if not resident <strong>the</strong>n<br />

transient occurrences <strong>of</strong> pumas (Tischendorf<br />

and Henderson 1994; Johnson 1998, 2000).<br />

The same is true for <strong>the</strong> eastern portions <strong>of</strong><br />

Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas,<br />

where, in some cases, sporadic puma<br />

presence has been noted for years but where<br />

documented occurrences <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se “prairie<br />

pan<strong>the</strong>rs” are clearly on <strong>the</strong> increase<br />

(Boddicker 1980; Berg et al. 1983; Johnson<br />

1998, 2000; Riley 1991; Roop 1971; Russ<br />

1997).<br />

Deer-rich riparian zones along river<br />

systems such as <strong>the</strong> Yellowstone, Missouri,<br />

North and South Platte, Arkansas, Canadian,<br />

Red, and Colorado River in Texas, can<br />

undoubtedly serve as effective corridors for<br />

puma immigration all <strong>the</strong> way to <strong>the</strong><br />

sou<strong>the</strong>astern Texas coast, Mississippi River,<br />

and beyond. Additionally, <strong>the</strong><br />

documentation <strong>of</strong> puma deaths along<br />

railroad tracks in Nebraska and Illinois<br />

suggests <strong>the</strong> possibility that railroad right<strong>of</strong>-ways<br />

and associated brush belts may also<br />

be effective pathways for pumas (Frank<br />

Andelt, Nebraska Game and Parks<br />

Commission, personal communication;<br />

Clark et al. 2002).<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

The same pattern <strong>of</strong> puma recolonization<br />

discussed above could be<br />

occurring from <strong>the</strong> mid-continent’s nor<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

reaches south and eastward. For instance,<br />

Manitoba’s puma population may be linked<br />

with Ontario to <strong>the</strong> east and nor<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to <strong>the</strong><br />

south. Conversely, if low numbers <strong>of</strong> pumas<br />

have in fact inhabited some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se areas all<br />

along, <strong>the</strong>ir acknowledged presence today<br />

may be a function <strong>of</strong> both immigration and<br />

numerical local growth.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>ast, a similar phenomenon<br />

<strong>of</strong> range reestablishment may be taking<br />

place. This sentiment was first voiced by<br />

Canadian biologist Bruce Wright, famed<br />

World War II frogman-commando, Leopold<br />

student, early champion for <strong>the</strong> eastern<br />

cougar, and a strong advocate for eastern<br />

carnivore recovery (Wright 1959, 1972;<br />

Tischendorf 1996a; Allardyce 2001). It was<br />

Wright’s belief that throughout European<br />

man’s settlement <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> region pan<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

persisted in <strong>the</strong> central highlands <strong>of</strong> New<br />

Brunswick and by <strong>the</strong> mid-1900s were, like<br />

<strong>the</strong> spokes <strong>of</strong> a wheel, re-populating and<br />

reclaiming <strong>the</strong>ir former range in <strong>the</strong> East.<br />

This belief, while perennially difficult to<br />

reconcile with <strong>the</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> confirmed puma<br />

populations in New Brunswick, or anywhere<br />

else in <strong>the</strong> East outside <strong>of</strong> Florida, is<br />

exemplified by growing numbers <strong>of</strong> not<br />

simply puma reports, but <strong>of</strong> highly credible<br />

or even verified puma reports (Gerson 1988,<br />

Cumberland and Dempsey 1994, Snow<br />

1994, Stocek 1995, Bolgiano et al. 2000).<br />

These include specimens, scats, tracks, and<br />

videotapes depicting <strong>the</strong>se cats across a wide<br />

geographical zone extending essentially<br />

from Ontario to Newfoundland and<br />

southward to Georgia.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>ast USA, Maine and New<br />

York are perhaps <strong>the</strong> most promising in<br />

terms <strong>of</strong> numbers <strong>of</strong> credible puma reports.<br />

One ra<strong>the</strong>r compelling report from Maine<br />

involved a shaken hunter who, at extremely


close range, came upon <strong>the</strong> gripping scene<br />

<strong>of</strong> what he described as a puma mortally<br />

ravaging a bobcat (Tischendorf 1994a). A<br />

sampling <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r data from Maine on file at<br />

<strong>the</strong> American Ecological Research Institute<br />

(AERIE) includes a hair sample<br />

confirmation from 1995, a track photograph<br />

from <strong>the</strong> mid-1990s, and a credible 2000<br />

report <strong>of</strong> what was thought to be a female<br />

puma and kitten. This author has also seen<br />

puma track photos taken by biologist George<br />

Matula <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Maine Department <strong>of</strong> Inland<br />

Fisheries and Wildlife at a deer yard during<br />

routine winter surveys circa 1984 or 1985.<br />

Credible New York puma reports on file<br />

with AERIE include <strong>the</strong> killing <strong>of</strong> a puma<br />

kitten by a bobcat hunter in <strong>the</strong> early 1990s<br />

and three believable sightings <strong>of</strong> individual<br />

pumas by pr<strong>of</strong>essional natural resource<br />

workers. All <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se events stem from <strong>the</strong><br />

vast Adirondack Park area and occurred<br />

during <strong>the</strong> 1990s.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r areas <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>ast are not<br />

without <strong>the</strong>ir own intriguing data. In 1994,<br />

for instance, a group <strong>of</strong> 3 pumas was<br />

observed and tracked near <strong>the</strong> community <strong>of</strong><br />

Craftsbury, Vermont (Theodore Reed,<br />

Friends <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Eastern Pan<strong>the</strong>r, personal<br />

communication). Presumably an adult<br />

female with 2 kittens, a scat deposited by <strong>the</strong><br />

group was collected; subsequent analysis<br />

confirmed presence <strong>of</strong> puma hairs (Bonnie<br />

Yates, USFWS Wildlife Forensic<br />

Laboratory, personal communication). A<br />

hair sample from <strong>the</strong> remote and<br />

untrammeled Gaspe’ Peninsula in nor<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Quebec was also recently confirmed as that<br />

<strong>of</strong> a puma by Marc Gauthier and his<br />

Canadian research team (Mark Dowling,<br />

Eastern Cougar Network, personal<br />

communication).<br />

Evidence <strong>of</strong> Breeding and Validity <strong>of</strong><br />

Sighting Reports<br />

The questions <strong>of</strong> confirmed puma<br />

breeding and actual puma numbers are<br />

problematic. In <strong>the</strong> absence <strong>of</strong> systematic,<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf 77<br />

scientifically objective, replicable, and<br />

typically expensive multi-year studies, such<br />

as those involving mark and recapture<br />

techniques or radio telemetry, it is difficult<br />

to extrapolate population-level<br />

characteristics <strong>of</strong> any animal. And, as<br />

several speakers at this conference have<br />

noted, even with robust, million dollar<br />

studies, it is difficult to quantify puma<br />

populations. Even more difficult and more<br />

expensive is monitoring a puma population<br />

over substantial periods <strong>of</strong> time. What does<br />

this bode for eastern and midwestern<br />

resource agencies trying to decode <strong>the</strong> issue<br />

<strong>of</strong> cryptic cats that many seem to report but<br />

few can verify?<br />

Complicating <strong>the</strong> issue is <strong>the</strong> fact that<br />

agencies and <strong>the</strong>ir human constituency east<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rocky <strong>Mountain</strong>s have limited<br />

exposure to large carnivores and <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

management. In this geographic area <strong>the</strong>re<br />

truly is a different mindset and comfort level<br />

towards research and management involving<br />

<strong>the</strong>se animals, especially those capable <strong>of</strong><br />

attacking and killing people. In <strong>the</strong> Black<br />

Hills <strong>of</strong> South Dakota, for instance, radiotracking<br />

<strong>of</strong> a young male puma in <strong>the</strong> early<br />

1990s was discontinued after only a short<br />

time due to concerns over liability if <strong>the</strong><br />

animal were implicated in damage to a<br />

human or to human property (Tischendorf<br />

and Henderson 1994).<br />

Again due to concerns over liability,<br />

Missouri <strong>of</strong>ficials are reluctant to approve<br />

any studies involving handling or marking<br />

<strong>of</strong> black bears, which are apparently<br />

repopulating <strong>the</strong> Show-Me-State (Lynn<br />

Robbins, Southwest Missouri State<br />

University, personal communication).<br />

Confounding <strong>the</strong> matter fur<strong>the</strong>r are <strong>the</strong><br />

controversial predatory and wide-ranging<br />

characteristics <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> animal and local<br />

uncertainty regarding its actual status as an<br />

endangered species versus a FERC. Not<br />

surprisingly <strong>the</strong>n, in <strong>the</strong> case <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> puma in<br />

<strong>the</strong> East, Midwest, or prairies where it is


78 CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf<br />

frequently perceived by natural resource<br />

agencies as a “species non grata”, few<br />

intensive prospective documentation efforts<br />

have ever been undertaken (Van Dyke1983,<br />

McGinnis 1988, Humphreys 1994). To this<br />

author’s knowledge, east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Black Hills<br />

and north <strong>of</strong> Florida and sou<strong>the</strong>rn Georgia<br />

no free-ranging puma has ever been radioinstrumented<br />

or o<strong>the</strong>rwise marked and<br />

tracked.<br />

What we are left with in <strong>the</strong> case <strong>of</strong><br />

pumas east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rockies are largely<br />

sighting reports and compilations <strong>of</strong> sighting<br />

reports. Such data are <strong>of</strong>ten met with<br />

incredulity, yet historically <strong>the</strong> scientific<br />

literature, particularly that related to<br />

carnivores, is replete with papers involving<br />

nothing more than sighting reports. Articles<br />

by Berg et al. (1983), involving pumas, and<br />

Quinn (1995), who worked with urban<br />

coyotes, are but two <strong>of</strong> many peer-reviewed<br />

examples <strong>of</strong> which this author is aware.<br />

Where people are reporting unknown or<br />

unsuspected animals, it <strong>of</strong>ten seems one is<br />

eventually killed and populations are<br />

subsequently substantiated, vindicating<br />

those who originally reported sightings.<br />

Fur<strong>the</strong>rmore, <strong>the</strong> survival <strong>of</strong> rare animals<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten depends on timely and critical<br />

decision-making. If sighting reports are <strong>the</strong><br />

best with which a researcher has to work,<br />

and particularly if some level <strong>of</strong> scientific<br />

rigor can be applied to <strong>the</strong>ir interpretation,<br />

as demonstrated by Quinn’s coyote research<br />

involving sighting reports in Washington, D.<br />

C., <strong>the</strong>n it is unscientific and ill advised to<br />

carte blanche ignore such reports (Quinn<br />

1995).<br />

In <strong>the</strong> case <strong>of</strong> colonization or repopulation,<br />

by definition <strong>the</strong>re is a temporal<br />

continuum <strong>of</strong> occurrence. Early in <strong>the</strong><br />

process, <strong>the</strong> animals in question are few.<br />

Colonization, re-colonization, or repopulation<br />

ends, if successful, with a selfsustaining<br />

population. The puma<br />

phenomenon east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rocky <strong>Mountain</strong>s is<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

presumably somewhere along this<br />

continuum. Evidence presented at this<br />

conference suggests puma presence in some<br />

areas <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> West, for instance east-central<br />

and eastern New Mexico, is on <strong>the</strong> same<br />

continuum (Rick Winslow, New Mexico<br />

Game and Fish Department, personal<br />

communication).<br />

The question <strong>of</strong> breeding is, <strong>of</strong> course,<br />

pivotal in <strong>the</strong> discussion <strong>of</strong> purported puma<br />

populations and presence. Here again,<br />

however, o<strong>the</strong>r than efforts to collect<br />

sighting reports, <strong>the</strong>re has been little formal,<br />

proactive modern research on <strong>the</strong> species in<br />

eastern North America so information on<br />

this topic is limited. None<strong>the</strong>less, some<br />

useful information can be derived from <strong>the</strong><br />

available data. In <strong>the</strong> 1970s or early 1980s,<br />

a string <strong>of</strong> credible eyewitness reports<br />

suggested <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> an adult puma and<br />

kitten(s) along <strong>the</strong> Blue Ridge Parkway<br />

(Robert Downing, USFWS, retired, personal<br />

communication). A carnivore biologist<br />

claims to have observed a family group <strong>of</strong><br />

pumas in nor<strong>the</strong>rn Minnesota in <strong>the</strong> 1970s<br />

(Bill Berg, Minnesota Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Natural Resources, retired, personal<br />

communication). More recently in<br />

Minnesota, breeding was also implied in <strong>the</strong><br />

case <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> female puma killed outside<br />

Duluth in 2001 (Anonymous 2002). In her<br />

company were two kittens, both later<br />

captured and placed into captivity (Mark<br />

Dowling, Eastern Cougar Network, personal<br />

communication). The cougar killed in Floyd<br />

County, Kentucky in 1997, cited earlier, had<br />

spotted pelage and was in <strong>the</strong> company <strong>of</strong> at<br />

least one o<strong>the</strong>r, larger cat, when it was<br />

struck by a car (Bolgiano 2001). A<br />

biological scientist observed a puma and<br />

several kittens in Missouri in <strong>the</strong> early<br />

1990s. This is one <strong>of</strong> several episodes,<br />

including <strong>the</strong> poaching <strong>of</strong> a cougar (Texas<br />

County, cited earlier) and <strong>the</strong> videotaping <strong>of</strong><br />

a puma at a deer kill that triggered a<br />

substantial increase in public and agency


awareness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> puma in <strong>the</strong> state (Lynn<br />

Robbins, Southwest Missouri State<br />

University, personal communication). As<br />

noted above, recent credible reports <strong>of</strong><br />

females with kittens have also originated<br />

from both Vermont and Maine. Many o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

instances <strong>of</strong> apparent puma breeding in <strong>the</strong><br />

East were discussed by Wright (1972). Such<br />

isolated incidents are certainly not<br />

unequivocal pro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong> a puma population or<br />

breeding, but in <strong>the</strong> big picture <strong>the</strong>y do tend<br />

to support <strong>the</strong> belief that at least a few<br />

pumas are present and sporadic reproduction<br />

is occurring.<br />

Predator Parallels - Bobcat, Black Bear,<br />

Jaguar, and Coyote<br />

Many <strong>of</strong> those skeptical <strong>of</strong> puma<br />

presence in eastern North America cite <strong>the</strong><br />

vast suburbanization and urbanization <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

region as an effective limiting factor. Yet, if<br />

populations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> versatile puma can exist<br />

in human dense areas <strong>of</strong> California,<br />

Colorado, and Florida, <strong>the</strong> species could<br />

surely inhabit portions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> East and<br />

Midwest, especially given <strong>the</strong> high<br />

populations <strong>of</strong> deer, feral hogs, and o<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

mid-sized and smaller game found<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> region. Fur<strong>the</strong>rmore, o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

eastern carnivores including bobcats, black<br />

bears, and wolves are apparently acclimating<br />

to evolving habitats and human presence and<br />

expanding <strong>the</strong>ir populations and/or ranges<br />

(Stoll 1996). Benchmarking with <strong>the</strong>se<br />

species supports <strong>the</strong> contention that <strong>the</strong> even<br />

more elastic puma can do <strong>the</strong> same. A<br />

similar comparison can be made with <strong>the</strong><br />

jaguar (Pan<strong>the</strong>ra onca) in <strong>the</strong> West, which,<br />

while noted in <strong>the</strong> region only rarely for<br />

decades, has been probing borderland<br />

Mexico-Arizona-New Mexico habitat with<br />

increasing frequency in recent years (Brown<br />

and Lopez-Gonzalez 2000).<br />

The coyote provides an additional case<br />

study in relation to <strong>the</strong> possible existence <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> puma east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rocky <strong>Mountain</strong>s<br />

(Tischendorf 1994b). This adaptable, mid-<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf 79<br />

sized, quintessentially western carnivore<br />

arrived on <strong>the</strong> midwestern and eastern<br />

landscape as a veritable newcomer in<br />

approximately <strong>the</strong> 1960s and 70s (Gerry<br />

Parker, Canadian Wildlife Service, retired,<br />

personal communication). Similar to what<br />

transpires today with many puma reports,<br />

coyote presence was initially refuted or<br />

attributed to feral individuals or<br />

hybridization with dogs. In retrospect, <strong>the</strong>se<br />

assessments were not entirely correct. It is a<br />

convincing reflection <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> regional habitat<br />

quality and prey base that so successfully<br />

has <strong>the</strong> species colonized <strong>the</strong> eastern half <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> continent it is today a thriving, legally<br />

trapped, hunted, and pursued game animal.<br />

If <strong>the</strong> puma is as adaptable as its history<br />

suggests, <strong>the</strong>n intuitively it is simply a<br />

matter <strong>of</strong> time before it follows <strong>the</strong> coyote’s<br />

lead.<br />

Biolegal Issues<br />

While current <strong>the</strong>ories support <strong>the</strong><br />

contention that North American pumas are<br />

genetically panmictic, <strong>the</strong> Endangered<br />

Species Act (ESA) specifically identifies<br />

only <strong>the</strong> subspecies P. c. couguar (<strong>the</strong><br />

supposed true “eastern puma”) and P. c.<br />

coryi (<strong>the</strong> “Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r” or more<br />

correctly “sou<strong>the</strong>rn puma” [Greenwell<br />

1996:18, 36]) as endangered (Florida<br />

Pan<strong>the</strong>r Interagency Committee 1993,<br />

Greenwell 1996, Culver et al 2000).<br />

Florida, with its mongrel mix <strong>of</strong> native,<br />

Texan, “Piper”, and illicitly released<br />

animals, has overcome this issue by working<br />

with <strong>the</strong> federal government to enact<br />

similarity <strong>of</strong> appearance protection laws for<br />

all <strong>of</strong> its pumas. Thus, Florida’s pumas,<br />

regardless <strong>of</strong> origin, now all fall under <strong>the</strong><br />

convenient, albeit taxonomically outdated<br />

umbrella moniker <strong>of</strong> “Florida pan<strong>the</strong>r”<br />

(Alvarez 1993).<br />

Elsewhere in <strong>the</strong> East and <strong>the</strong> Midwest<br />

<strong>the</strong>re exists much confusion and feline<br />

filibustering about what constitutes a puma<br />

meriting ESA protection versus one that can


80 CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf<br />

be considered a western wanderer or<br />

escaped or released captive (Tischendorf<br />

1994b, Cardoza and Langlois 2002).<br />

Clouding <strong>the</strong> issue is <strong>the</strong> fact that much <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Midwest was considered original range<br />

<strong>of</strong> F. c. schorgeri, <strong>the</strong> supposed “Wisconsin<br />

puma” which technically fits nei<strong>the</strong>r into <strong>the</strong><br />

ESA nor <strong>the</strong> eastern cougar recovery plan <strong>of</strong><br />

1982, which in any case has never been<br />

implemented (Nowak 1976, Hall 1981,<br />

USFWS 1982).<br />

As Albert Einstein reportedly said,<br />

“Perfection <strong>of</strong> means and confusion <strong>of</strong> goals<br />

seem, in my opinion, to characterize our<br />

age.” More simply, sometimes <strong>the</strong> process<br />

can get in <strong>the</strong> way <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> purpose. Clearly,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Endangered Species Act is meant to<br />

protect rare animals. Equally apparent, <strong>the</strong><br />

puma from <strong>the</strong> Great Plains eastward is rare.<br />

Should <strong>the</strong> ESA unequivocally and<br />

ultimately serve as a tool to protect this li<strong>the</strong><br />

and golden ghost as it reestablishes itself<br />

across its original range? Or can <strong>the</strong> case be<br />

made that federal delisting, in concert with<br />

state or multi-state management plans and<br />

agreements, unencumbered by federal<br />

oversight, may more favorably serve <strong>the</strong><br />

puma <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Great Plains, Midwest, and<br />

East?<br />

The Jaguar Conservation Team<br />

(JAGCT), a diverse coalition <strong>of</strong> agencies<br />

and individuals working toge<strong>the</strong>r to develop<br />

and implement a sound plan for protecting<br />

and conserving jaguars in <strong>the</strong> Southwest,<br />

may serve as a template organization for<br />

those involved with puma recovery east <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Rocky <strong>Mountain</strong>s. Formed in 1997,<br />

prior to listing <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> jaguar as an<br />

endangered species north <strong>of</strong> Mexico by <strong>the</strong><br />

USFWS, <strong>the</strong> JAGCT operates under a<br />

formal conservation agreement with <strong>the</strong><br />

USFWS and today functions as an ad hoc<br />

jaguar recovery team (Bill Van Pelt, Arizona<br />

Game and Fish Department, personal<br />

communication). In essence, <strong>the</strong> JAGCT<br />

attempts to preempt <strong>the</strong> potential for heavy-<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

handedness and long-distance directives <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> ESA by working locally with all its<br />

stakeholders to proactively find effective<br />

solutions to conflict (Bill Van Pelt, Arizona<br />

Game and Fish Department, personal<br />

communication).<br />

For now <strong>the</strong> future <strong>of</strong> eastern or<br />

midwestern pumas is largely tied to <strong>the</strong><br />

ESA. Certainly similarity <strong>of</strong> appearance<br />

semantics related to pumas and <strong>the</strong> ESA in<br />

Florida have symbiotically done much to<br />

pave <strong>the</strong> way for puma recovery elsewhere<br />

east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rockies. Still, if <strong>the</strong> ESA is to<br />

play a pivotal role, it clearly requires<br />

modification to recognize P. concolor in<br />

terms <strong>of</strong> individuals and populations,<br />

without regard to an obsolete concept <strong>of</strong><br />

subspecies, as <strong>the</strong> rare animal that east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Rocky <strong>Mountain</strong>s it truly is (Tischendorf<br />

1994c, 1995). Such modification would<br />

thus effectively resolve <strong>the</strong> unintentional but<br />

critical double standard for recovery that<br />

exists for pumas in Florida versus those<br />

elsewhere in <strong>the</strong> East and Midwest. Based<br />

on <strong>the</strong> powerful sou<strong>the</strong>rn precedent,<br />

similarity <strong>of</strong> appearance protection for all<br />

free-ranging non-nuisance pumas and<br />

potential puma populations today and<br />

tomorrow, not only in Florida, but those<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Great Plains eastward, would be a<br />

simple, logical, and consistent step<br />

(Tischendorf 1994c, 1995; Cardoza and<br />

Langlois 2002).<br />

In <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn Rockies with <strong>the</strong> wolf,<br />

and in Florida with <strong>the</strong> puma, recovery has<br />

been facilitated by formal restoration efforts.<br />

It is questionable whe<strong>the</strong>r such<br />

governmentally sanctioned activities will be<br />

carried out to enhance natural cougar<br />

recovery in eastern or midwestern North<br />

America. Economic issues certainly exist,<br />

witness <strong>the</strong> budgets necessary for not only<br />

gray wolf and pan<strong>the</strong>r restoration, but those<br />

for o<strong>the</strong>r high-pr<strong>of</strong>ile endangered species<br />

like <strong>the</strong> red wolf (Canis rufus), black-footed<br />

ferret (Mustela nigripes), whooping crane


(Grus americana), California condor<br />

(Gymnogyps californianus), and peregrine<br />

falcon (Falco peregrinus).<br />

Additionally, given that <strong>the</strong> species in<br />

question is not just endangered but large,<br />

carnivorous, potentially hazardous to<br />

humans, and an effective ecological<br />

regulator <strong>of</strong> ungulates that figure<br />

prominently in a deeply entrenched hunting<br />

tradition, <strong>the</strong>re is certainly potential for<br />

controversy and conflict among various<br />

public constituencies.<br />

Still, <strong>the</strong>re are intriguing possibilities for<br />

<strong>the</strong> future <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> puma in eastern North<br />

America. Even despite <strong>the</strong> limitations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

ESA, given nothing more than appropriate<br />

deer management, can <strong>the</strong> once ubiquitous<br />

puma survive, re-populate, and thrive in <strong>the</strong><br />

East, Midwest, and Great Plains? Evidence<br />

presented in this paper tends to support this<br />

scenario.<br />

What truly are <strong>the</strong> public attitudes<br />

toward this widely ranging and exquisitely<br />

adaptable carnivore? Do agency attitudes<br />

mirror public sentiment? These critical<br />

human dimension wildlife topics would<br />

make excellent subject matter for a graduate<br />

student project.<br />

As pumas return to <strong>the</strong> Great Plains,<br />

Midwest, and East, <strong>the</strong>re will inevitably be<br />

conflict, as occurs in <strong>the</strong> West, with<br />

agricultural and suburban interests.<br />

Exemplifying this, uncannily, as this paper<br />

was being revised in October 2003, a freeranging<br />

young male puma, presumably<br />

dispersing from <strong>the</strong> west, was captured and<br />

placed into captivity after causing public<br />

unrest and alarm in urban Omaha, Nebraska.<br />

Meanwhile, in Iowa ano<strong>the</strong>r young male<br />

puma was shot and killed by a farmer.<br />

Can we as wildlife pr<strong>of</strong>essionals devise a<br />

new ESA or state-level paradigm for<br />

carnivore management, and specifically <strong>the</strong><br />

phenomenon <strong>of</strong> novel puma presence, that<br />

provides effective oversight for scientific,<br />

evidence-based decisions while allowing for<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf 81<br />

sensible managerial flexibility and creativity<br />

at <strong>the</strong> key stakeholders’ state and local<br />

level? Does <strong>the</strong> JAGCT, with its formal and<br />

proactive conservation agreement with <strong>the</strong><br />

USFWS, provide a workable model for this?<br />

Are <strong>the</strong>re in fact several low density,<br />

highly mobile puma populations and<br />

breeding foci in eastern and mid-western<br />

North America? This question remains<br />

unresolved, but <strong>the</strong> growing body <strong>of</strong><br />

evidence discussed herein suggests that this<br />

possibility should not be discounted.<br />

Finally, despite <strong>the</strong> substantial evidence<br />

to <strong>the</strong> contrary, if pumas are in fact absent<br />

from <strong>the</strong> landscapes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> prairies,<br />

Midwest, and East, what is <strong>the</strong> prognosis for<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir human-aided restoration in seemingly<br />

viable ecosystems like <strong>the</strong> Adirondack<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong>s, <strong>the</strong> prey-rich Alleghenies, <strong>the</strong><br />

Ozark or Ouachita <strong>Mountain</strong>s, or <strong>the</strong><br />

expansive nor<strong>the</strong>rn forests <strong>of</strong> Minnesota,<br />

Michigan, and Maine?<br />

Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se and o<strong>the</strong>r questions were<br />

raised and addressed in detail at <strong>the</strong> historic<br />

“Eastern Cougar Conference, 1994” held in<br />

Erie, Pennsylvania in June 1994<br />

(Tischendorf and Ropski 1996). This was<br />

<strong>the</strong> first, and remains <strong>the</strong> only, formal<br />

conference ever devoted entirely to <strong>the</strong><br />

subject <strong>of</strong> pumas in eastern North America.<br />

A second conference is planned for<br />

Morgantown, West Virginia, in April 2004.<br />

This conference will roughly mark <strong>the</strong> tenth<br />

anniversary <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first ga<strong>the</strong>ring, providing<br />

a centralized forum for ongoing discussions<br />

and updates on research related to this<br />

intriguing subject.<br />

CONCLUSION<br />

In conclusion, 4 key points:<br />

1. Adaptable animals adapt and <strong>the</strong><br />

puma is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most adaptable<br />

land mammals in <strong>the</strong> New World.<br />

2. There are no ecological reasons why<br />

<strong>the</strong> puma could not exist in eastern


82 CRYPTIC COUGARS · Tischendorf<br />

North America today. Across much<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Great Plains, midwestern, and<br />

eastern portions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> continent <strong>the</strong><br />

evidence suggests that in low<br />

densities it does.<br />

3. Using <strong>the</strong> model <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> JAGCT, a<br />

diverse but integrated Conservation<br />

Team should be formed as soon as<br />

possible to promulgate appropriate<br />

changes to <strong>the</strong> ESA (including even<br />

possible delisting) and to critically<br />

evaluate <strong>the</strong> long dormant recovery<br />

plan for cougars in <strong>the</strong> East, which<br />

requires updating to reflect recent<br />

knowledge related to <strong>the</strong> puma east <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Rocky <strong>Mountain</strong>s (Tischendorf<br />

1996b, Cardoza and Langlois 2002).<br />

4. As mankind enters this new<br />

millennium, return <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> puma to its<br />

former range in <strong>the</strong> Great Plains,<br />

Midwest, and East provides an<br />

opportunity for wildlife pr<strong>of</strong>essionals<br />

with limited firsthand experience with<br />

large carnivores to demonstrate <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

expertise in scientifically and<br />

sociologically managing this<br />

relatively secretive predator on <strong>the</strong><br />

many-faceted modern ecological<br />

interface <strong>of</strong> private and public lands,<br />

politics, and public opinion.<br />

In today’s anthropocentric world, <strong>the</strong><br />

puma, as is <strong>the</strong> case for large carnivores<br />

everywhere, is unfortunately a victim <strong>of</strong> its<br />

own three “E’s” - its evolution, its ecology,<br />

and its ethology. Widely ranging, oblivious<br />

to human-delineated boundaries, a large and<br />

potentially dangerous predator that preys<br />

effectively and efficiently on ungulates both<br />

wild and domestic, <strong>the</strong> puma is an<br />

irrefutable, anachronistic, and controversial<br />

symbol <strong>of</strong> our primeval wild.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> end, <strong>the</strong> message that emerges<br />

today for <strong>the</strong> puma in <strong>the</strong> East is this: even<br />

at its highest densities, few people will ever<br />

see a living, wild puma. Certainly we can<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

live without this great cat. Even more<br />

certainly, it can live without us. Enmeshed<br />

in controversy, entrenched in folklore,<br />

history, and legend, endangered across a<br />

huge portion <strong>of</strong> its historic range, <strong>the</strong> largely<br />

secretive puma presents us with <strong>the</strong> great<br />

challenge <strong>of</strong>, and <strong>the</strong> magnificent<br />

opportunity for, harmonious coexistence.<br />

Hopefully mankind will rise to this rare<br />

occasion to ensure that <strong>the</strong> puma is again a<br />

celebrated and wisely managed part <strong>of</strong> our<br />

Great Plains, midwestern, and eastern<br />

wildlife heritage.<br />

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS<br />

This paper is dedicated to <strong>the</strong> memory <strong>of</strong><br />

Frank C. Craighead, Jr., <strong>of</strong> Moose,<br />

Wyoming, whose life and career were an<br />

inspiration to a generation <strong>of</strong> wildlife<br />

biologists. Kerry Murphy and Randy<br />

Matchett served knowledgeably and capably<br />

as manuscript referees. A special thank you<br />

is extended to <strong>the</strong> Wyoming Game and Fish<br />

Department, coordinator and host for this<br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong>.<br />

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99(3):11-13.


MOUNTAIN LION STATUS REPORT: BRITISH COLUMBIA<br />

MATT AUSTIN, Large Carnivore Specialist, Ministry <strong>of</strong> Water, Land and Air Protection, PO<br />

Box STN PROV GOVT, Victoria BC V8W 9M4, Canada, email:<br />

Matt.Austin@gems7.gov.bc.ca<br />

Abstract: <strong>Mountain</strong> lions are classified as “Big Game” in British Columbia under <strong>the</strong> provincial<br />

Wildlife Act. There is no provincial mountain lion management plan, however, <strong>the</strong>re is a species<br />

account within <strong>the</strong> provincial Wildlife Harvest Strategy. The harvest management goal for<br />

mountain lions is “to optimize population sustainability within ecosystems while allowing for<br />

options and opportunities associated with hunting and viewing.” <strong>Mountain</strong> lions occupy all<br />

suitable habitats within BC. The distribution <strong>of</strong> mountain lions has been expanding northward in<br />

recent years due deer population increases resulting from less severe winters. The current<br />

provincial mountain lion population estimate is 4,000-6,000 and likely declining after peaking in<br />

<strong>the</strong> late 1990s. Declines are related to <strong>the</strong> severe winter in 1996/97 that reduced deer<br />

populations. Population estimates are based on <strong>the</strong> “best guesses” <strong>of</strong> regional biologists based<br />

on anecdotal and harvest/conflict information. Confidence in <strong>the</strong> population estimate is low but<br />

we have greater confidence in <strong>the</strong> trend estimate. <strong>Mountain</strong> lion hunting is allowed under<br />

General Open Seasons in all but two nor<strong>the</strong>rn regions with negligible populations. There are no<br />

explicit harvest criteria or objectives aside from quotas for female harvest in one region. Both<br />

harvest and mortalities resulting from conflicts increased from 1985 until 1996 and <strong>the</strong>n declined<br />

through 2002. Conservation Officers respond to conflicts with mountain lions through<br />

education, translocation or destruction; compensation is not provided for losses. Known<br />

mountain lion attacks increased during <strong>the</strong> 20 th century, peaking in <strong>the</strong> 1990s.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

87


88<br />

IMPROVING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF MOUNTAIN LION MANAGEMENT<br />

TRENDS: THE VALUE OF CONSISTENT MULT-STATE RECORD KEEPING<br />

CHRISTOPHER M. PAPOUCHIS, <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Foundation, PO Box 1896, Sacramento, CA<br />

95814, USA, email: cpapouchis@mountainlion.org<br />

LYNN MICHELLE CULLENS, <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> Foundation, PO Box 1896, Sacramento, CA<br />

95814, USA, email: cullens@mountainlion.org<br />

Abstract: The sound management and conservation <strong>of</strong> mountain lions relies on comprehensive<br />

scientific data. Yet <strong>the</strong> cost <strong>of</strong> mountain lion research can be prohibitive and <strong>the</strong> results are <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

difficult if not impossible to extrapolate. Wildlife managers, field researchers, and conservation<br />

organizations would benefit from more complete and consistent records <strong>of</strong> validated mountain<br />

lion sightings, hunting mortalities, depredation incidents, and road kills. Scientists who have<br />

mined such data in <strong>the</strong> past have isolated important variables, generated important hypo<strong>the</strong>ses,<br />

and targeted future research. But <strong>the</strong>ir work is usually limited by funding, academic or agency<br />

agendas. Fur<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong>re is no long-term multi-state repository for mountain lion data. The task<br />

<strong>of</strong> data collection is made more difficult because <strong>the</strong>re is no multi-state standard, and <strong>the</strong>refore<br />

states collect and store data inconsistently. This presentation explores <strong>the</strong> potential for<br />

developing a multi-state database, and examines <strong>the</strong> existing state data sets in order to identify<br />

<strong>the</strong> essential variables that might be included.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP


LESSENING THE IMPACT OF A PUMA ATTACK ON A HUMAN<br />

E. LEE FITZHUGH, Department <strong>of</strong> Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, University <strong>of</strong><br />

California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8751, USA, email:<br />

elfitzhugh@ucdavis.edu<br />

SABINE SCHMID-HOLMES, Department <strong>of</strong> Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology,<br />

University <strong>of</strong> California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8751, USA<br />

MARC W. KENYON, Department <strong>of</strong> Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, University <strong>of</strong><br />

California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8751, USA<br />

KATHY ETLING, 6830 St. Tropez Circle, Osage Beach, MO 65065, USA<br />

Abstract: We reviewed current data on puma (Puma concolor) attacks and near-attacks on humans to identify better<br />

ways for people to protect <strong>the</strong>mselves. Not since Paul Beier’s paper in 1991 has anyone documented, established<br />

criteria for validity, and analyzed puma attacks on humans, and much more data are now available. In attempting to<br />

examine human-puma behavioral interactions to 2003, <strong>the</strong> authors have collected accounts <strong>of</strong> 16 fatal and 92 nonfatal<br />

attacks that meet Beier’s criteria. In addition, we have an additional 32 fatal and 84 non-fatal attacks that failed<br />

to meet Beier’s criteria, ei<strong>the</strong>r for lack <strong>of</strong> physical contact, lack <strong>of</strong> verification, occurrence in Latin America,<br />

occurrence prior to 1890, or because <strong>the</strong>y were attacks on hunters. We also have accumulated 155 accounts <strong>of</strong><br />

behavioral interactions between pumas and humans at close proximity that did not result in an attack. We contrasted<br />

<strong>the</strong>se with incidents that resulted in an attack. We analyzed <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> Beier’s fatal:non-fatal attack ratio to predict<br />

missing incidents, and suspect that <strong>the</strong> criterion <strong>of</strong> validation may bias data for attacks prior to 1950. However,<br />

most <strong>of</strong> Beier’s statements and conclusions are confirmed. While <strong>the</strong> analysis is yet incomplete, this presentation<br />

includes highlights <strong>of</strong> our tentative analysis concerning common questions about puma attacks, illustrated by stories<br />

<strong>of</strong> real situations. Being aggressive and making loud noises helps protect people from a possible puma attack.<br />

Warning gunshots are much less effective than is yelling. Charging <strong>the</strong> puma seems to make it run away, but may<br />

result in some injury to <strong>the</strong> person who is charging. Groups <strong>of</strong> 5 people or more are relatively safe, but children in<br />

those groups may still be attacked. Hunters imitating animal sounds or smells may attract pumas, but <strong>the</strong>se<br />

situations usually do not result in serious injuries. People attacked while sleeping on <strong>the</strong> ground <strong>of</strong>ten receive only<br />

minor injuries because <strong>the</strong> puma runs away when <strong>the</strong> person or companions awake, yell, and resist. The strategies<br />

will usually work, but not always, because pumas have different personalities and seem to react differently to <strong>the</strong><br />

same situation.<br />

89<br />

<strong>Proceedings</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong> <strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong><br />

Key words: Animal damage, attacks on humans, conflict with wildlife, cougar, human dimensions <strong>of</strong> wildlife<br />

management, mountain lion, pest control, predation, Puma concolor<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

In this paper we use <strong>the</strong> common name<br />

“puma” to describe Puma concolor.<br />

Occasionally, when we quote o<strong>the</strong>r people,<br />

we retain <strong>the</strong>ir terminology, and <strong>the</strong>y <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

use “cougar” instead <strong>of</strong> “puma.” Beier<br />

(1991) analyzed 9 fatal and 44 non-fatal<br />

attacks by pumas on humans that occurred<br />

between 1890 and 1990 in <strong>the</strong> United States<br />

and Canada. In order to include an attack in<br />

his analysis, it must have been published,<br />

included statements from agency or medical<br />

personnel, and involved contact in which <strong>the</strong><br />

human was bitten, clawed, or knocked down<br />

by <strong>the</strong> puma. Excluded were situations<br />

involving captive pumas and in which<br />

people deliberately approached or harassed a<br />

puma. He found that 64% <strong>of</strong> victims were<br />

children, and only 13 <strong>of</strong> 37 (35%) <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

were alone, while 11 <strong>of</strong> 17 (65%) adult<br />

victims were alone when attacked. He also<br />

found that an aggressive response might<br />

avert and/or repel an attack. Yearlings and<br />

underweight cougars were most likely to


90 REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al.<br />

attack humans. Beier believed he had<br />

discovered all fatal attacks since 1890 that<br />

met his criteria, and all non-fatal attacks<br />

since 1970. Based on <strong>the</strong> ratio <strong>of</strong> fatal to<br />

non-fatal attacks during 1970-1990, he<br />

estimated that he had failed to identify about<br />

12 non-fatal attacks between 1890 and 1970.<br />

Beier documented an increase in frequency<br />

<strong>of</strong> attacks from <strong>the</strong> 1890-1969 period to<br />

1970-1990. While Beier did not tabulate<br />

“near-attacks,” he did analyze <strong>the</strong> victim’s<br />

actions that may have served to prevent <strong>the</strong><br />

attack. “Fighting back” and shouting loudly<br />

were actions that seemed to avert or repel<br />

attacks, as did waving arms, poking or<br />

hitting with sticks, throwing rocks, etc.<br />

Beier also reported an attempt at aversive<br />

conditioning <strong>of</strong> one puma, but it failed to<br />

prevent future aggression. We substantiated<br />

most <strong>of</strong> Beier’s findings and, because we<br />

have more data, we produced some<br />

additional tentative findings.<br />

We have accounts <strong>of</strong> a total <strong>of</strong> 224<br />

attacks by pumas on humans and 155<br />

behavioral interactions that did not result in<br />

an actual attack. The number <strong>of</strong> accounts<br />

through April 2003 that have information<br />

useful for analyzing any specific question is<br />

variable, but only 108 accounts meet Beier’s<br />

(1991) criteria. Of <strong>the</strong> 116 attacks that failed<br />

Beier’s criteria, 32 were fatal and 84 were<br />

non-fatal. Reasons for failure include lack <strong>of</strong><br />

physical contact, lack <strong>of</strong> verification,<br />

occurrence in Latin America, occurrence<br />

prior to 1890, or because <strong>the</strong>y were attacks<br />

on hunters. Beier’s strict criteria avoid<br />

errors <strong>of</strong> commission, but allow for many<br />

omissions. Because we are interested in<br />

behavior more than just counting attacks, we<br />

decided to relax <strong>the</strong> Beier limitations as long<br />

as accounts seemed plausible and contained<br />

useful information. Our intent is to analyze<br />

human and puma behavior in <strong>the</strong>se<br />

situations where data are available and<br />

compare attacks with encounters to try to<br />

provide better advice for people who come<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

face-to-face with a puma, or who want to<br />

prepare for that eventuality. We are still<br />

organizing <strong>the</strong> data, so this report is not <strong>the</strong><br />

final one, but we do have a few<br />

recommendations to make at this time, and<br />

we will make some observations about<br />

reliability <strong>of</strong> reports and frequency <strong>of</strong><br />

attacks in general.<br />

METHODS<br />

We defined “non-attack encounters” as<br />

behavioral interactions between pumas and<br />

humans at close proximity that do not result<br />

in an attack. We purposely did not define<br />

“close proximity” to place emphasis on<br />

“behavioral interactions.” We excluded<br />

incidents in which <strong>the</strong> puma was sighted and<br />

<strong>the</strong>n left, and included incidents in which <strong>the</strong><br />

puma and human exchanged multiple<br />

behaviors. “Close proximity” is necessary<br />

for this to occur, but <strong>the</strong> distance may vary,<br />

and we were more flexible regarding<br />

distance criteria than for behavioral criteria.<br />

If we believed we could learn from <strong>the</strong><br />

interaction, we included it. Most <strong>of</strong> our data<br />

are from published popular accounts,<br />

sometimes substantiated by an agency<br />

incident report. Etling (2001), in particular,<br />

solicited personal accounts from individuals<br />

in <strong>the</strong>ir own words, both before and after<br />

publication <strong>of</strong> her book. We categorized<br />

incidents in several ways to better analyze<br />

and evaluate <strong>the</strong> data. One mentioned in<br />

this paper is a category we called “attacks<br />

terminated by humans.” These are incidents<br />

in which a puma was shot while charging, or<br />

at least clearly intent on creeping up very<br />

close to a human in spite <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> person’s<br />

efforts to discourage such behavior. We<br />

have 20 such accounts, 10 <strong>of</strong> which are from<br />

hunters. In only 3 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hunting accounts<br />

was it clear that <strong>the</strong> hunter was doing<br />

something that might attract a puma (e.g.,<br />

using deer scent, calling turkeys, etc.). Six<br />

accounts were <strong>of</strong> agency employees<br />

investigating previous encounters between<br />

humans and pumas.


We defined a child as a person under 13<br />

years <strong>of</strong> age, whereas Beier (1991) defined a<br />

child as being under 16. We differed from<br />

Beier because we believed that <strong>the</strong> younger<br />

age better represented when girls and boys<br />

reach adult size and behavior.<br />

We entered data into a spreadsheet and<br />

made inferences where <strong>the</strong>y were defensible.<br />

For example, when <strong>the</strong> victim fired a shot,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> attack was fatal to <strong>the</strong> victim, we<br />

inferred that <strong>the</strong> shot did not deter <strong>the</strong><br />

attacking puma, even though <strong>the</strong> account did<br />

not specifically say so. The matrix was<br />

organized with individual incidents in rows,<br />

separated into various categories such as:<br />

Beier fatal, Beier non-fatal, non-verified<br />

(o<strong>the</strong>rwise meeting Beier’s criteria), fatal<br />

prior to 1890, nonfatal prior to 1890, Latin<br />

American incidents, close encounters,<br />

provoked attacks, encounters while hunting,<br />

and 10 o<strong>the</strong>r categories. Columns included<br />

raw data and data coded into categories for<br />

analysis, all <strong>of</strong> which made 193 columns,<br />

including 147 columns <strong>of</strong> original data.<br />

Broad categories <strong>of</strong> data in columns<br />

included descriptions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> habitat and<br />

setting, identification and descriptions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

victims, and detailed descriptions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

incident, including a written description and<br />

data parsed into separate columns.<br />

Information sources, previous reported<br />

puma activities in <strong>the</strong> area, necropsy results,<br />

and injuries sustained by <strong>the</strong> victim(s) also<br />

were entered. An example <strong>of</strong> data sought<br />

and entered is in <strong>the</strong> partial questionnaire<br />

mentioned below.<br />

On a few recent occasions, when it was<br />

possible, we sent a 4-page questionnaire to<br />

<strong>the</strong> witness <strong>of</strong> an attack to get more detailed<br />

information. The questionnaire was generic<br />

and designed to help people remember detail<br />

without leading <strong>the</strong>m to specific answers.<br />

Thus, we did not ask whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> puma was<br />

pumping its rear feet up and down, but<br />

instead we asked what <strong>the</strong> puma was doing<br />

with its feet. Although <strong>the</strong> situations were<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al. 91<br />

serious, <strong>the</strong> responses sometimes interacted<br />

with <strong>the</strong> generic nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> questions in a<br />

humorous manner. A real example <strong>of</strong> a<br />

questionnaire we recently received from a<br />

man who gave permission to use it will<br />

illustrate both <strong>the</strong> detail <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> questions and<br />

some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> humor that occasionally occurs.<br />

It also illustrates an incident that is not<br />

classified as an attack under <strong>the</strong> Beier<br />

(1991) criteria, because no contact was<br />

made. We have called it a “terminated<br />

attack.”<br />

To appreciate <strong>the</strong> humor, it helps to<br />

imagine <strong>the</strong> victim’s perspective on <strong>the</strong><br />

attack and his response to <strong>the</strong> “ivory-tower”<br />

nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> questions that came from some<br />

stranger at a far-<strong>of</strong>f university. The victim<br />

was hunting deer in a remote area when he<br />

was charged from behind. The puma<br />

vocalized with a “growl-hiss” sound, which<br />

alerted <strong>the</strong> victim to <strong>the</strong> charge. He killed<br />

<strong>the</strong> puma during its charge, after missing his<br />

first shot. After <strong>the</strong> second shot <strong>the</strong> puma<br />

fell only 5.2 m (17 feet) from him. Here are<br />

a few <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> questions and <strong>the</strong> victim’s<br />

responses:<br />

How was <strong>the</strong> puma identified (what<br />

evidence or characteristics)?<br />

The cougar died, not much question that<br />

it was a cougar.<br />

Condition <strong>of</strong> teeth:<br />

Perfect teeth, no fillings.<br />

Condition <strong>of</strong> claws:<br />

Damned sharp.<br />

Did attack involve a fatality?<br />

Yes, <strong>the</strong> cougar.<br />

Puma posture and position <strong>of</strong> ears at time <strong>of</strong><br />

first sighting:<br />

The cat was charging me. I later<br />

measured <strong>the</strong> distance from where it<br />

started <strong>the</strong> charge, which was 86 feet. I<br />

don’t recall what position <strong>the</strong> ears were<br />

in. [86 feet is 26.2 m].<br />

What was puma doing with eyes and tail at<br />

time <strong>of</strong> first sighting?<br />

Tail seemed to be floating out behind <strong>the</strong>


92 REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al.<br />

cat.<br />

What was puma doing with its feet at time<br />

<strong>of</strong> first sighting?<br />

Bounding toward me.<br />

Victim behavior just after first sighting?<br />

Putting rifle to shoulder and firing.<br />

Were <strong>the</strong>re signs <strong>of</strong> aggression by puma?<br />

The cougar was charging me, full speed<br />

ahead, which seemed pretty aggressive to<br />

me at <strong>the</strong> time.<br />

Did victim fight back?<br />

Yes.<br />

How?<br />

I shot <strong>the</strong> puma in <strong>the</strong> throat/chest.<br />

Puma response:<br />

Puma rolled and died.<br />

Was puma injured by victim?<br />

Yes, severely.<br />

Quality <strong>of</strong> Data<br />

Some accounts are not included in this<br />

analysis. The 224 attacks and 155<br />

encounters we analyze do not include 14<br />

incidents for which we believe additional<br />

investigation is needed to validate <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

accuracy. Nor do we include 8 o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

incidents we suspect, but cannot prove, are<br />

duplicates <strong>of</strong> incidents included in <strong>the</strong> tally.<br />

In addition, we have 10 more reports that we<br />

decided not to use because <strong>the</strong>y included too<br />

little information or were <strong>of</strong> doubtful<br />

validity. Our data do include incidents that<br />

do not meet Beier’s criteria, but we kept<br />

those separate in order not to invalidate<br />

comparison with Beier’s (1991) findings. As<br />

we analyze data more completely, more <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> incidents may be excluded, primarily for<br />

lack <strong>of</strong> information. Our files also include<br />

several accounts that have recently come to<br />

our attention that are not yet entered in <strong>the</strong><br />

database and are not included in this paper.<br />

These latter data, and additional details from<br />

<strong>the</strong> accounts we have analyzed will be<br />

included in a later, more complete treatment.<br />

As already mentioned, we included all<br />

<strong>the</strong> accounts we have discovered, and we<br />

tried to estimate <strong>the</strong> validity <strong>of</strong> each. The<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

editor <strong>of</strong> Outdoor Life, from 1897 to 1925,<br />

asked his readers to provide accounts <strong>of</strong><br />

puma attacks on humans. He <strong>the</strong>n tried to<br />

verify <strong>the</strong> accuracy <strong>of</strong> each account,<br />

generally without success. In each case, he<br />

was ei<strong>the</strong>r unable to locate <strong>the</strong> respondent,<br />

or <strong>the</strong> knowledgeable people from <strong>the</strong> area<br />

where <strong>the</strong> attack was supposed to have<br />

occurred claimed no knowledge <strong>of</strong> it<br />

(Anonymous 1925, cited by Beier 1991).<br />

During this same period, Forest and Stream,<br />

which became Field and Stream, also<br />

printed numerous personal accounts <strong>of</strong><br />

encounters with pumas. At this time, we<br />

have been able to locate only 1 reference to<br />

incidents that may have been confirmed<br />

(Marsh 1917), or failed confirmation, by<br />

Outdoor Life (Anonymous 1917). We are<br />

aware <strong>of</strong> one, and perhaps three fraudulent<br />

accounts in recent years, and we also<br />

questioned <strong>the</strong> validity <strong>of</strong> one unusual<br />

account that we later found had been<br />

confirmed by an agency. We recently tried,<br />

unsuccessfully, to obtain agency<br />

confirmation <strong>of</strong> an account, only later to find<br />

that <strong>the</strong> confirmation had been provided to<br />

Etling several years earlier. Therefore, <strong>the</strong><br />

verifications <strong>the</strong>mselves can be erroneous in<br />

ei<strong>the</strong>r direction. It is possible that we have<br />

analyzed a few spurious reports, but if so,<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir effect on our findings should be minor.<br />

We have placed our 379 useful incidents<br />

in categories <strong>of</strong> similar types <strong>of</strong> incidents<br />

and levels <strong>of</strong> reliability. The 108 fatal and<br />

non-fatal incidents that meet Beier’s (1991)<br />

criteria may be considered to be a complete<br />

count <strong>of</strong> well-defined and verified attacks.<br />

(See a more complete defense <strong>of</strong> this<br />

assumption in <strong>the</strong> results and discussion<br />

section). The few verified non-fatal<br />

incidents we may have missed would not<br />

affect group values in an important way.<br />

The 116 o<strong>the</strong>r attacks and 155 encounters<br />

represent nei<strong>the</strong>r a total count nor a<br />

statistical sample, nor do we know anything<br />

about <strong>the</strong> underlying statistical distribution


except that attacks by pumas on humans are<br />

rare. We know nothing <strong>of</strong> bias caused by<br />

missing data. We can speculate that missing<br />

cases may not have been considered<br />

important enough to report; <strong>the</strong>re may have<br />

been nobody to report to; fatal incidents may<br />

have been undiscovered; <strong>the</strong>y may have<br />

been reported and <strong>the</strong> records lost; <strong>the</strong>y may<br />

have been printed in obscure references that<br />

we did not find; we may have wrongly<br />

discarded some incidents recorded from<br />

word-<strong>of</strong>-mouth accounts, etc. Thus, we<br />

have a core <strong>of</strong> strictly defined data that we<br />

treat as a total count. These data are<br />

restricted by <strong>the</strong> verification criterion in<br />

such a way that <strong>the</strong> passage <strong>of</strong> time reduces<br />

opportunity for verification. The core exists<br />

in a matrix <strong>of</strong> less well-defined incidents,<br />

<strong>the</strong> statistical properties <strong>of</strong> which are<br />

unknown.<br />

At a finer level, even <strong>the</strong> welldocumented<br />

cases have many blank cells in<br />

<strong>the</strong> data matrix because specific items were<br />

unknown or not reported, and <strong>the</strong>re was no<br />

way to infer <strong>the</strong> information. In <strong>the</strong>se<br />

situations, we usually cannot assume <strong>the</strong><br />

nature <strong>of</strong> possible biases caused by missing<br />

data, if <strong>the</strong>y exist.<br />

To summarize, we have nearly total<br />

counts <strong>of</strong> incidents in Beier-quality<br />

categories, missing incidents in o<strong>the</strong>rs, and<br />

missing data in all incidents. The categories<br />

in which we can assume total counts may be<br />

subject to a time-related bias that may affect<br />

<strong>the</strong> statistical distribution <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> data. We<br />

have little a priori information to guide us.<br />

Therefore, we are restricted mostly to<br />

descriptive statistics and forming hypo<strong>the</strong>ses<br />

that may later be independently verified.<br />

We do use a Chi-square test to explore <strong>the</strong><br />

similarity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> distributions in three<br />

different categories, two <strong>of</strong> which we<br />

assume are total counts.<br />

Statistical Methods<br />

We have no a priori models or<br />

hypo<strong>the</strong>ses. We had believed that most, if<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al. 93<br />

not all, puma attacks were predatory, but<br />

information provided by Sweanor et al.<br />

(personal communication) contradicts that<br />

belief. Thus, our analysis is exploratory,<br />

examining <strong>the</strong> data to find hypo<strong>the</strong>ses and<br />

descriptive models that may later be<br />

subjected to data collection and statistical<br />

interpretation. In <strong>the</strong> few cases where<br />

statistical testing was warranted, we report<br />

<strong>the</strong> test used along with <strong>the</strong> results, but for<br />

<strong>the</strong> majority <strong>of</strong> situations, descriptive<br />

statistics are <strong>the</strong> only analysis used.<br />

Never<strong>the</strong>less, we feel secure in drawing<br />

some conclusions about how to reduce risk<br />

<strong>of</strong> serious injury during a puma encounter.<br />

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION<br />

What Can We Tell About <strong>the</strong> Data?<br />

With respect to counting attacks and<br />

comparing frequencies, we can be a little<br />

more specific about statistical qualities <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> data. Like Beier (1991), we believe we<br />

have a near-complete count <strong>of</strong> verified fatal<br />

attacks from 1890 to 2003 in <strong>the</strong> U. S. and<br />

Canada. Authors <strong>of</strong> new books (Danz,<br />

1999, Deurbrouck and Miller 2001, and<br />

Etling 2001) did extensive new searches,<br />

and failed to find any fatal attacks that meet<br />

Beier’s criteria that were not included by<br />

Beier in his original list, or else occurred<br />

after his publication. The 108 attacks we<br />

analyze that meet Beier’s criteria include 7<br />

fatal and 38 non-fatal attacks that occurred<br />

after Beier published his list, and 9 fatal and<br />

54 non-fatal attacks that meet Beier’s<br />

criteria and occurred between 1890 and<br />

1991. On <strong>the</strong> basis <strong>of</strong> additional information<br />

(personal communication, Dale Elliot to<br />

Etling, July 2000), we moved one <strong>of</strong> Beier’s<br />

non-fatal attacks (Bird and Sieh, Nevada,<br />

1971) to <strong>the</strong> “provoked attack” category and<br />

added 11 new non-fatal attacks between<br />

1890 and 1991. It is possible that attacks,<br />

even fatal ones, occurred in <strong>the</strong> U. S. that<br />

were never known, especially during <strong>the</strong><br />

depression years <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1930s and <strong>the</strong><br />

various gold rushes in localities in <strong>the</strong>


94 REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al.<br />

Table 1. Calculations <strong>of</strong> non-fatal attacks by pumas in <strong>the</strong> U.S. and Canada between 1890 and 1969<br />

that might not have been detected.<br />

Source<br />

Beier (1991)<br />

1970-1990<br />

Our data<br />

1970-2001<br />

Ratio NF/F<br />

from 1970<br />

onward<br />

× Fatal<br />

attacks 1890-<br />

1969<br />

= Calculated<br />

non-fatal<br />

attacks<br />

− Attacks<br />

detected<br />

1890-1969<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

= Calculated<br />

attacks not<br />

detected<br />

31÷5 = 6.2 4 25 13 12<br />

69÷12 = 5.75 4 23 21 2<br />

western U.S. It is certain that attacks<br />

occurred in Latin America for which no<br />

records are available. Written accounts <strong>of</strong><br />

attacks occur in some obscure publications,<br />

not susceptible to easy location. One<br />

example is <strong>the</strong> killing <strong>of</strong> Henry Ramsey in<br />

1876 (Hunter 1922:110). That account was<br />

found by scanning <strong>the</strong> table <strong>of</strong> contents <strong>of</strong> a<br />

county history that was in a fund-raising<br />

auction <strong>of</strong> “white elephant” donations. All<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se missing accounts would, <strong>of</strong> course,<br />

fail Beier’s criterion <strong>of</strong> verification, and<br />

perhaps o<strong>the</strong>r criteria as well. We believe<br />

we can use <strong>the</strong> 16 fatal attacks that meet<br />

Beier’s criteria as a complete count, not<br />

requiring statistical measures <strong>of</strong> variability.<br />

The 92 Beier-quality non-fatal attacks<br />

probably include a large majority <strong>of</strong> all nonfatal<br />

attacks (Table 1). They should be<br />

representative, and probably can be treated<br />

as a complete count. However, <strong>the</strong>y were<br />

not sampled according to a statistical design.<br />

The remaining 116 attacks and 155<br />

encounters have unknown statistical<br />

properties, with variable report quality and<br />

amounts <strong>of</strong> information.<br />

Beier (1991) estimated that he might<br />

have missed finding 12 non-fatal accounts<br />

between 1970 and 1990. He did this by<br />

assuming that he found all <strong>the</strong> accounts from<br />

1970 to 1990, and multiplying <strong>the</strong> ratio <strong>of</strong><br />

non-fatal to fatal attacks during that period<br />

by <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> fatal attacks from 1890 to<br />

1969. We discovered 8 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 12 missing<br />

accounts, and also 3 more between 1970 and<br />

1990, so we recalculated <strong>the</strong> potentially<br />

missing non-fatal accounts (Table 1). These<br />

were calculated through 2001, as <strong>the</strong> 2002<br />

data are yet incomplete. The analysis in<br />

Table 1 assumes a constant rate <strong>of</strong> attacks<br />

across years. Puma populations, prey<br />

populations, and <strong>the</strong> number, age, sex, and<br />

group size <strong>of</strong> people at risk may have<br />

changed considerably since 1890. These<br />

factors may affect <strong>the</strong> attack rate. Thus, <strong>the</strong><br />

calculation may be invalid to <strong>the</strong> degree that<br />

<strong>the</strong>se parameters have changed.<br />

Even if <strong>the</strong> analysis in Table 1 is valid,<br />

<strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> fatal attacks is small enough<br />

that a change in even one attack can alter <strong>the</strong><br />

calculation <strong>of</strong> non-detected non-fatal<br />

attacks. Because <strong>the</strong>re is a chance that we<br />

may have missed some fatal attacks prior to<br />

1970 (and especially prior to 1950 as<br />

discussed later), this is a tentative<br />

calculation that serves only to illustrate that<br />

<strong>the</strong>re likely are some incidents we have not<br />

found, but that number is relatively small.<br />

We will return to this topic later with respect<br />

to possible bias caused by Beier’s<br />

verification criterion.<br />

Comparing Verified and Unverified Data<br />

Figure 1 shows <strong>the</strong> relationship through<br />

time between <strong>the</strong> 15 Beier-quality fatal<br />

attacks, <strong>the</strong> 86 non-fatal attacks, and <strong>the</strong> 27<br />

non-verified, non-fatal attacks, 1890-1999.<br />

The Beier-quality non-fatal attack curve


Figure 1. A comparison <strong>of</strong> patterns <strong>of</strong> fatal<br />

and non-fatal attacks that conform to Beier’s<br />

(1991) criteria with non-verified non-fatal<br />

attacks.<br />

diverges from <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r two beginning in<br />

1950. All three types <strong>of</strong> data have been<br />

subject to <strong>the</strong> same bias from a conscious<br />

increase in collecting attack reports<br />

beginning with Barnes (1960), our effort<br />

from 1984 (Fitzhugh and Gorenzel 1986),<br />

and intensive searches beginning about 1990<br />

(Beier 1991) and increasing in 1998-2001<br />

(Danz 1999, Deuerbrouck and Miller 2001,<br />

Etling 2001).The Beier-quality fatal attacks<br />

curve (Figure 1) began to exceed past levels<br />

in <strong>the</strong> 1970s, and increased even more in <strong>the</strong><br />

1990s. We confirmed that Beier<br />

documented all <strong>the</strong> verified fatal attacks<br />

since 1890, and Figure 1 shows that <strong>the</strong> nonverified,<br />

non-fatal attacks coincide closely<br />

with Beier-quality fatal attacks. The<br />

difference in <strong>the</strong> shape <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> curves in<br />

Figure 1 may be partly attributable to an<br />

increase in agency funding, staffing, and<br />

attention to puma incidents beginning in<br />

about 1950, allowing for more verification<br />

and recording <strong>of</strong> non-fatal incidents (Harley<br />

Shaw, personal communication). Thus, <strong>the</strong><br />

post-1950 non-verified data may be<br />

depressed because a greater proportion <strong>of</strong><br />

those incidents were verified than happened<br />

pre-1950. The post-1950 verified non-fatal<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al. 95<br />

Figure 2. Non-fatal to fatal attack ratios.<br />

Bars represent a 20-year running average<br />

beginning with 1890-1909, 1900-1919, etc.,<br />

except that 1990 represents only 1990-1999.<br />

Includes only data that conform to Beier’s<br />

(1991) criteria. The zero value at 1890<br />

represents a 20-year period, 1890-1909, with<br />

no verified non-fatal attacks. The zero value<br />

at 1950 represents a 20-year period, 1950-<br />

1969, without fatal attacks. (N = 101; 15 =<br />

fatal, 86 = non-fatal.)<br />

data would have increased by <strong>the</strong> same<br />

amount.<br />

The proportional change in <strong>the</strong> Beierquality<br />

non-fatal attack curve after 1949,<br />

applied to higher numbers <strong>of</strong> non-fatal<br />

incidents compared with fatal incidents,<br />

magnifies <strong>the</strong> visual comparison between<br />

<strong>the</strong> curves, although prior to 1950 <strong>the</strong> nonfatal<br />

curve is only slightly higher than <strong>the</strong><br />

fatal curve. The effect <strong>of</strong> magnification can<br />

be removed by examining proportions<br />

directly, using non-fatal to fatal ratios by 20year<br />

periods (Figure 2). The 1960-1990<br />

ratios seem consistent, with an average<br />

value <strong>of</strong> 6.5. The 1890-1930 average is less,<br />

at 2.4 (including 1890-1909, when <strong>the</strong>re<br />

were no recorded non-fatal attacks), but is<br />

more variable. Only <strong>the</strong> 1940-1959 ratio<br />

seems unusually high, created by <strong>the</strong> first<br />

big increase in non-fatal attacks, which<br />

occurred during <strong>the</strong> 1950s, while no fatal<br />

attacks occurred 1950-1959. While non-


96 REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al.<br />

Table 2. The effect <strong>of</strong> including non-verified puma attack incidents on <strong>the</strong> non-fatal:fatal attack<br />

ratios before and after 1950, U. S. and Canada.<br />

Data 1890-1949 1950-1999 Difference<br />

Beier-quality only 6 ÷ 4 = 1.5 86 ÷ 12 = 7.2 5.7<br />

Beier-quality & all non-verified 16 ÷ 7 = 2.3 96 ÷ 13 = 7.3 5.0<br />

Beier-quality & non-verified non-fatal only 16 ÷ 4 = 4.0 96 ÷ 12 = 8.0 4.0<br />

fatal attacks did not decrease after that, fatal<br />

attacks increased starting in 1970, bringing<br />

<strong>the</strong> ratios down. Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> variation in<br />

Figure 2 is caused by zero values. The nonverified,<br />

non-fatal data (Figure 1) are<br />

approximately <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> same value as <strong>the</strong><br />

Beier-quality fatal data, and <strong>the</strong> curves are<br />

very similar, so we may be justified in<br />

combining <strong>the</strong> non-verified non-fatal data (n<br />

= 23) with <strong>the</strong> Beier-quality non- fatal data<br />

(n = 86). Four non-verified fatal attacks also<br />

were included with <strong>the</strong> 15 verified fatal<br />

attacks to be consistent. Ratios for <strong>the</strong><br />

periods before and after 1950 (Table 2)<br />

show that adding all non-verified incidents<br />

(fatal and non-fatal) increased <strong>the</strong> ratios<br />

slightly; ratios were even greater when only<br />

non-verified, non fatal incidents were added.<br />

The non-verified data also reduced <strong>the</strong><br />

differences between <strong>the</strong> earlier and later<br />

periods. If we assume that <strong>the</strong> underlying<br />

ratio <strong>of</strong> non-fatal to fatal attacks is<br />

consistent across years, it appears that<br />

excluding non-verified data changes <strong>the</strong><br />

ratios. The changes represent bias if we are<br />

justified in using <strong>the</strong> non-verified data.<br />

Beier’s (1991) calculation <strong>of</strong> ratios from<br />

1970-1990, to estimate missing non-fatal<br />

attacks prior to 1970, assumed a constant<br />

relationship. It seems logical that we have<br />

detected a larger proportion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> actual<br />

non-fatal attacks in recent years, and <strong>the</strong><br />

data seem to indicate that this is so (Figures<br />

1-3). However, some biological,<br />

demographic, and cultural differences may<br />

have caused a change in ratios not related to<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

reporting frequency. These changes have to<br />

do with changes in persecution <strong>of</strong> pumas,<br />

especially before, during, and after World<br />

Wars I and II, <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> people using<br />

puma habitat, changes in <strong>the</strong> degree <strong>of</strong> puma<br />

habituation to humans, changes in <strong>the</strong><br />

proportion <strong>of</strong> children versus adults exposed<br />

to pumas, and changes in <strong>the</strong> inclination or<br />

ability <strong>of</strong> people to report incidents. We<br />

believe <strong>the</strong> underlying non-fatal to fatal ratio<br />

may have changed about <strong>the</strong> middle <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

20 th century, but measurement <strong>of</strong> this<br />

potential change is confused by changes in<br />

Figure 3. Non-fatal to fatal attack ratios.<br />

Bars represent a 20-year running average<br />

beginning with 1890-1909, 1900-1919, etc.,<br />

except that 1990 represents only 1990-1999.<br />

Included are data that conform to Beier’s<br />

(1991) criteria and non-verified data, both<br />

fatal and non-fatal. The zero value at 1950<br />

represents a 20-year period, 1950-1969,<br />

without fatal attacks. (n = 128; 19 = fatal, 109<br />

= non-fatal.)


<strong>the</strong> rate <strong>of</strong> detection <strong>of</strong> attacks and changes<br />

in verification <strong>of</strong> detected attacks.<br />

We did subject <strong>the</strong> Beier-quality data to<br />

2 Chi-square comparisons with 27 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

accounts that were not verified, but met<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r Beier criteria. These are <strong>the</strong> same data<br />

shown in Figure 1. We used <strong>the</strong> Beierquality<br />

data as <strong>the</strong> observed value and <strong>the</strong><br />

non-verified non-fatal data, paired with <strong>the</strong><br />

Beier-quality data by decades, as <strong>the</strong><br />

expected value. The Beier- quality fatal data<br />

were not different from <strong>the</strong> non-verified,<br />

non-fatal data (χ 2 = 13.7, 10 df, P =


98 REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al.<br />

Figure 4. Puma responses to noise, including<br />

lethal shots from firearms (n = 133).<br />

to draw out <strong>the</strong> duration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sound. For<br />

example, a puma was recently stalking<br />

chickens in <strong>the</strong> yard <strong>of</strong> a lighthouse<br />

compound, with people around and active,<br />

in broad daylight. One man banged doors,<br />

without effect, <strong>the</strong>n got a .22 rifle and fired a<br />

shot into <strong>the</strong> ground without even causing<br />

<strong>the</strong> puma to flinch or look up. It was fixated<br />

on <strong>the</strong> chickens. The man <strong>the</strong>n fired 7-8<br />

shots rapidly into <strong>the</strong> ground, upon which<br />

<strong>the</strong> puma looked up and walked into <strong>the</strong><br />

nearby brush, but did not leave <strong>the</strong> area. It<br />

stayed on a nearby high area and watched<br />

while people put <strong>the</strong> chickens into a pen<br />

(Robert Hansen, Pacific Rim National Park,<br />

Vancouver Island, B.C., personal<br />

communication, 8 May, 2003). This<br />

indicates that <strong>the</strong> puma did not react to a<br />

single shot or to slamming a door, but did<br />

react to a subsequent rapid series <strong>of</strong> shots.<br />

We conclude that noise is effective, but<br />

<strong>the</strong> kind <strong>of</strong> noise makes a difference. The<br />

best deterrent in <strong>the</strong> event <strong>of</strong> a puma<br />

encounter is to yell or scream as loudly as<br />

possible. If you are going to shoot a gun,<br />

you should fire in rapid succession to<br />

frighten <strong>the</strong> animal away or shoot to kill <strong>the</strong><br />

puma.<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

What if You Charge <strong>the</strong> Puma?<br />

Our data include 6 accounts in which <strong>the</strong><br />

primary victim ei<strong>the</strong>r charged <strong>the</strong> puma and<br />

fought with it, or engaged in “mock lunges”<br />

toward <strong>the</strong> puma. In 3 cases in which<br />

people actually charged and made contact<br />

with <strong>the</strong> puma, <strong>the</strong> puma left <strong>the</strong> area,<br />

sometimes after a brief scuffle in which <strong>the</strong><br />

human suffered light degrees <strong>of</strong> injury. Two<br />

examples follow: a man heard a commotion<br />

in his back yard and went to investigate. He<br />

thought his Scottie dog was being attacked<br />

by a large German shepherd. It was really a<br />

mountain lion, but he didn’t realize it until<br />

he had jumped onto <strong>the</strong> attackers back.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> man realized it was a puma, he let<br />

go after a brief scuffle and <strong>the</strong> puma ran <strong>of</strong>f.<br />

The man received stitches for cuts behind<br />

his ear (Colorado Division <strong>of</strong> Wildlife<br />

2002). In <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r case, a man noticed a<br />

puma eating his daughter’s house cat, and<br />

decided to save <strong>the</strong> cat by wrestling with <strong>the</strong><br />

puma. The puma swatted <strong>the</strong> man in <strong>the</strong><br />

face, and <strong>the</strong> man <strong>the</strong>n decided to let go. The<br />

puma left with <strong>the</strong> house cat in its mouth<br />

(The New York Times 2002).<br />

Two cases involved repeated “mock<br />

lunges” by people causing <strong>the</strong> pumas to<br />

leave <strong>the</strong> area without attacking. In <strong>the</strong> first<br />

case, a woman came upon a puma crouched<br />

about 1.8 m (6 feet) away. It began to move<br />

toward her in a crouched position, growling.<br />

She lunged forward, holding arms wide and<br />

growled back at it. It retreated a bit, began<br />

to approach again. She growled and lunged<br />

again; <strong>the</strong> puma retreated again, not as<br />

startled as it was <strong>the</strong> first time. Then <strong>the</strong><br />

puma took a last glance and turned into <strong>the</strong><br />

forest. The woman walked backwards<br />

awhile, <strong>the</strong>n turned around and ran (Personal<br />

correspondence to K. Etling on 4 Dec, 2001,<br />

from K. Hogland).<br />

In <strong>the</strong> second example, a puma<br />

confronted 2 biology students ga<strong>the</strong>ring data<br />

in Alum Rock Park, San Jose, California.<br />

The women yelled and made <strong>the</strong>mselves


look bigger, but <strong>the</strong> cat continued to<br />

advance. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> women snarled like a<br />

dog and “mock lunged,” and <strong>the</strong> puma ran<br />

into some bushes. A nearby rancher<br />

approached on horseback, accompanied by 2<br />

dogs. When <strong>the</strong>y directed <strong>the</strong>ir attention<br />

toward where <strong>the</strong> girls thought <strong>the</strong> puma<br />

was, it bounded <strong>of</strong>f (Linda Lewis, web site:<br />

, citing personal communications<br />

with Jessie Dickson, April 18-19, 2001).<br />

In probably <strong>the</strong> most dramatic example<br />

demonstrating puma behavior following<br />

human aggressiveness, a deer hunter and a<br />

puma were stalking <strong>the</strong> same deer when <strong>the</strong><br />

deer detected <strong>the</strong> puma and fled. From 27<br />

m (30 yards) away, <strong>the</strong> puma transferred its<br />

stalk to <strong>the</strong> hunter. The hunter hid behind a<br />

tree while <strong>the</strong> puma approached, crouching.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> puma got close <strong>the</strong> hunter jumped out<br />

and yelled. That puma left running (Ford<br />

1994). The puma obviously knew <strong>the</strong> hunter<br />

was behind <strong>the</strong> tree, but <strong>the</strong> hunter’s actions<br />

probably appeared to <strong>the</strong> puma as an attack<br />

coming from a hidden (ambush) position.<br />

The action successfully interrupted <strong>the</strong><br />

predatory stalking behavior and instigated a<br />

flight behavior.<br />

Is It Safer to Hike in Groups?<br />

Solitary people are 3 times as likely to<br />

be attacked or to have an encounter as<br />

people in pairs or larger groups (Figure 5).<br />

However, only groups <strong>of</strong> 5 or more seem<br />

fairly secure against attack. We were much<br />

less likely to find data on non-attack<br />

encounters than on attacks. Thus, <strong>the</strong><br />

relative levels <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> paired bars in Figure 5<br />

cannot be used to compare attack and nonattack<br />

encounters. We assumed that <strong>the</strong><br />

reporting rates for attacks and non-attacks<br />

are different but are not affected differently<br />

by group size. Figure 5 shows that <strong>the</strong><br />

relationship (but not absolute proportions) <strong>of</strong><br />

attack and non-attack encounters is similar,<br />

regardless <strong>of</strong> group size. The similar<br />

percentages within group size categories<br />

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MOUNTAIN LION WORKSHOP<br />

REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al. 99<br />

Figure 5. Relationship <strong>of</strong> human group size<br />

and age composition with type <strong>of</strong> encounter<br />

(n = 379).<br />

and <strong>the</strong> consistent pattern among <strong>the</strong>m<br />

indicates to us that <strong>the</strong> tendency <strong>of</strong> a puma<br />

to approach humans (or for humans to come<br />

close to pumas) is related to group size and<br />

is independent <strong>of</strong> whe<strong>the</strong>r an attack occurs.<br />

It seems to indicate that once a puma is in<br />

close proximity to humans, whe<strong>the</strong>r an<br />

attack occurs or not may be explained,<br />

statistically speaking, as a random or<br />

systematic decision, affecting all group sizes<br />

to <strong>the</strong> same extent once <strong>the</strong> initial approach<br />

is made. Such a mechanism could be<br />

created ei<strong>the</strong>r by <strong>the</strong><br />

physiological/behavioral state <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> puma<br />

or size and behavior <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> human(s), or<br />

both interacting. If we could detect and<br />

record non-attack encounters as thoroughly<br />

as we do attack encounters, we might be<br />

able to create more hypo<strong>the</strong>ses based on <strong>the</strong><br />

ratios and timing <strong>of</strong> one to <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r. Data<br />

presented by Sweanor et al., at <strong>the</strong> <strong>Seventh</strong><br />

<strong>Mountain</strong> <strong>Lion</strong> <strong>Workshop</strong>, help<br />

considerably in this direction. We<br />

encourage all who study radio collared<br />

pumas to record and publish similar data.<br />

In Figure 5, adults strongly predominate<br />

in <strong>the</strong> single person attack and non-attack


100 REDUCING PUMA ATTACKS · Fitzhugh et al.<br />

Figure 6. Proportions <strong>of</strong> human age classes<br />

in different types <strong>of</strong> incidents, as affected by<br />

human group size (n = 379).<br />

categories and in <strong>the</strong> two-person non-attack<br />

category. This may reflect <strong>the</strong> relative use<br />

<strong>of</strong> wildland trails by single and paired adults<br />

versus children. However, <strong>the</strong> categories <strong>of</strong><br />

attacks on two people and on 3-5 people<br />

show increasing proportions <strong>of</strong> groups<br />

mostly composed <strong>