Washington state plans to increase trophy hunting of cougars despite widespread public opposition

By on April 9, 2020 with 31 Comments

Every day produces ample evidence that those involved with harming and killing animals don’t take a break, even during a national emergency. And neither do we. The latest example involves a proposal to expand trophy hunting of cougars in Washington State. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recently introduced proposals to increase the kill quotas for cougars, and the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on them this Friday at 10am PT.

According to the agency, there are just 2,000 adult cougars left in Washington, but that hasn’t stopped trophy hunting advocates from making misguided and baseless claims that the cougar population is growing out of control and that restrictions on hunting them must be lifted.

In eastern Washington, unfortunately, community leaders have fed or even organized harmful fear campaigns that only result in increased and unnecessary public anxiety about cougars rather than producing effective solutions for preventing human-wildlife conflict.

The large majority of Washingtonians do not support the trophy hunting of cougars or other native carnivores. In a new poll conducted by Remington Research Group, 65 percent of voters across the state are opposed to the trophy hunting of cougars. Moreover, a majority of voters oppose trophy hunting of cougars even to prevent conflicts with livestock and humans.

Trophy hunting of cougars doesn’t just harm the targeted adult individuals; it frequently kills their kittens, who die of starvation, predation or exposure to the elements when their mothers are killed. Extensive research in Washington by large carnivore experts has shown that it can cause problems for people as well. The death of a resident male cougar typically results in younger males coming into the area looking to claim his territory. These younger males are more likely to be involved in conflicts with humans, pets and livestock. In areas with low to no trophy hunting of cougars, conflicts are quite rare compared to areas with higher trophy hunting.

If you live in Washington, we encourage you to speak out against these proposals and tell the Commission you do not support trophy hunting of the state’s rare wild cats. You can speak in support of cougars right from your home by submitting comments to the Commission through its website as well as virtually attending the Commission meeting. The virtual public comment period begins at 8:30am PT. You can pre-register for the webinar here. I’m proud to report that HSUS wildlife and state affairs staff are actively engaged in the fight to halt this cruel and needless killing before it starts. In this and other situations, I want you to know that you can count on us to keep working for animals, even in the midst of adversity. And all of us at the HSUS and its affiliates know that we can count on you, too.

Categories
Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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31 Comments

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  1. Kristin P Noreen says:

    I am adamantly opposed to trophy hunting of any kind. There are fewer than 2,000 cougars left in Washington. Wildlife does not exist for our convenience (or not), the cougars have as much right to be here as we do.
    There is no point to trophy hunting other than to kill. I don’t want to know anyone who does it.

  2. Carol Stevens says:

    Trophy hunting of cougars doesn’t just harm the targeted adult individuals; it frequently kills their kittens, who die of starvation, predation or exposure to the elements when their mothers are killed. Extensive research in Washington by large carnivore experts has shown that it can cause problems for people as well. The death of a resident male cougar typically results in younger males coming into the area looking to claim his territory. These younger males are more likely to be involved in conflicts with humans, pets and livestock. In areas with low to no trophy hunting of cougars, conflicts are quite rare compared to areas with higher trophy hunting.

  3. Tim Melia says:

    Leave the cats alone

  4. Dawn Castle says:

    No! These beautiful creatures should be left alone. Why allow trophy killing when those trophies just look sad and gather dust! Please don’t do this!

  5. Paula Dunn says:

    We need to keep the balance..once you let these trophy hunters in we will have no mountain lions . Please work with nature..not against it.

  6. Phebe Schwartz says:

    Why are you allowing people to kill these beautiful animals???? Just so they can say they did? So they can hang a head on their wall?

    This is barbaric, and needs to stop! PLEASE do not allow trophy hunting!!!

  7. Angel Goering says:

    Please don’t. They have such a huge amount of space they roam and we are encroaching more and more on where they naturally live. We already have too many deer in our areas and car wrecks because of them constantly, this will only increase the imbalance

  8. PATTY TRAMMELL says:

    It’s a shame your state can’t take care of your wildlife instead of killing everything. People now days would rather see live animals then a bunch of people who kill everything and have nothing left of nature. That is as kind d as I can be because I will never understand your mentality!

  9. Susan Schmidt says:

    This better not be for protection of cattle ranchers. Please. Rather than cougars, target these guys.

  10. lisa wood says:

    Why increase the quota? And that is an word by the way.
    What do those hunters do with the bodies? How are they used?
    I need a true explanation why is trophy allowed. What is done with the remains.

  11. Joanne mainiero says:

    these state and federal agencies are just glorified bogus commodities.. hunters hunters just low life worthless TAX waste hunters.. with a title to kill. they call the shots animals live or die..
    .

  12. Ashley Lawrence says:

    All the destructive trophy hunting needs to end!!!! Find something worthwhile to do with your time hunters!!!!!!!!!

  13. Lydia McKay says:

    Far too long humans have ruined the natural balance of wildlife in favor of herbivores. It’s only just finally after years of being nearly endangered that these big cats are finally starting to make a comeback. It’s is disgusting that this is the solution for Farming agriculture Animal safety when other solutions exist that can still protect livestock.

  14. joanne sugden says:

    I was sorry to hear via twitter of your action to kill cougars for trophys hunting! Shame on you! This is not sport but cruel, if you don’t eat it don’t kill it!

  15. Debra Doucette says:

    How dare you

  16. Ron says:

    If they allow it it’s to do population control only. Dont be fooled by these articles. Either they are over feeding on deer. Or they will be then deer will be wiped out and cats will starve…until your pets become their food

    • Bob says:

      If that were the case, Ron, then biologists would not have spoken out against the change, and the current status and trend reports posted by WDFW would not state (in part) under Management Concerns: “Exceeding harvest beyond management objectives continues to be a concern. On average, 32% of the PMUs within a given hunt season close (range = 16-50%) and of the 45 PMUs with harvest limits, 18% go beyond the upper end of the harvest guideline (Table 1). About half of the overages occur prior to January 1 (when harvest limits do not yet apply) and the other half after harvest guidelines take effect and hunters must call within 72 hours; this causes a lag time in closure. Percent of female harvest is also a concern as changes in adult female and kitten survival are the most influential parameters to population growth (Martorello and Beausoleil 2003).”

      Additionally, the commission stated clearly that the only purpose of the change was to “increase hunter opportunity.”

      Perhaps, you might update your knowledge base to research conducted in the past 20 years than persisting with mythologies from the 1800s. You are well behind on issues of predator-prey relationships, cougar social structure, and cougar population dynamics.

  17. Dawn says:

    60 percent of all wildlife is gone from the earth. The wildlife is what makes the world worth living in. It is the Trump administration that is causing this his son Don Jr likes to murder endangered species. Get a lawyer and stop the trophy hunting before it is to late. Washington State has murdered wolves and now wants to continue destruction of the earths wildlife and resources! Stop them !!!!!Washington State is murdering our wildlife!!!!Stop them !!!!

  18. Joyce smolka says:

    Stop this crap!!!!! No need for this brutal ality

  19. Sandra says:

    Its time to end the disgusting trophy hunting once and for all!!

  20. Joanne Alderman says:

    I am adamantly against the Trophy Hunting of Cougars in Washington State. Since there are less than 2,000 Cougars left, why does the Legislation of Washington State decide that they must kill all remaining Cougars? Who are they to make this decision? Are you so cruel and have no compassion for the Cougar Babies that are left behind? Leave these animals alone – you are no better than the trophy hunters in Africa who are killing elephants and other animals constantly! Ask God to help you come up with a more HUMANE SOLUTION-Washington State Legislation!!! STOP MURDERING THE WILDLIFE IN WASHINGTON STATE!!!!!!!!!!

    • Catherine Peterson says:

      Stop this insanity! Cougars are more majestic in their own skin. Let many enjoy these cats rather than someone getting a notch on their belt

  21. Marie says:

    True hunters DO NOT kill apex predators. They DO NOT kill for a trophy on the wall.
    You do not kill a cougar for food – only to feed one’s ego.
    I have always had relatives who hunt, they would NEVER kill a cougar or any predator species.

  22. Sheryl Reed says:

    This is ridiculous. I understand if thereis a problem with a animal attacking domestic animals. But trophy hunting is going to run an already scarce populations into extinction for the gain of man to have more land. It’s sinful greed.

  23. Pat Cuviello says:

    Ballot Initiative?

  24. Mark Martin says:

    Leave these beautiful animals alone. Who the heck is the state to allow such a thing?

  25. Naomi Royle says:

    Trophy hunting supports a psychological sickness which can translate into violence in human to human contact. Do not allow this to spread.

  26. Joey says:

    I’m a resident of Washington state. I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve only seen a cougar once in my life. I saw it in hills of Green mountain about 17 years ago.

  27. Priscilla Christenson says:

    Trophy hunting for cougars in our state cannot be allowed! For a state that values its natural beauty and wild lands, trophy hunting sends a conflicting, horrendous, and unnecessary message of what is valued in the Pacific Northwest. Do not allow this to move forward!!!!

  28. Bob says:

    A survey conducted for HSUS in Washington State on March 21 and 22 showed generally 59% are against increasing the quota, and more than 65% are against hunting cougars. However, if we look at the Washington state survey of Wildlife Values conducted for the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) and compare the citizen’s values to the values of the agency’s employees, we note a large difference in the two major categories:

    National: Traditionalists 28% Mutualists 35% Pluralists 21% Distanced 15%
    WA citizens: Traditionalists 28% Mutualists 38% Pluralists 19% Distanced 14%
    WDFW: Traditionalists 48% Mutualists 17% Pluralists 27% Distanced 8%

    Agency bias against the values of the people whose public wildlife trust it is supposed to protect is evident. For those of us who closely follow these issues, it is encouraging to have CEO Kitty Block speak out for our Washington State cats, and we hope to see HSUS bring more force to our fight to protect our cougars from trophy hunters.

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