Will Another Cougar Attack Change Washington’s Hunting Laws?

Mountain Lion Attack Stopped: Split Second Deployment, Deadly Accuracy not Required, iStock-1351714426
Following another mountain lion attack in Washington, many wonder if this should spark an effort to restore hunting for the big cats. iStock-1351714426

Another cougar attack in Washington State has some people arguing on social media that it is long past time for the legislature to repeal a 1996 ban on hunting the big cats with the use of hounds, a move which veteran outdoorsmen and women contend has created considerable problems.

The attack on a 60-year-old mountain biker, who was with four others on a trail in east King County, was brought to a finish when her fellow cyclists managed to bring the young cougar to bay by holding it down with a mountain bike until Fish & Wildlife officers arrived and shot it.

Reports of a second cat in the area could not be confirmed, even after a houndsman was called in to see whether his dogs could catch a scent.

Whether this incident will be discussed by the Fish & Wildlife Commission when it meets March 14-16 remains to be seen. No immediate action would likely result.

The attack made national headlines and ignited a debate on Facebook at the site of Northwest Sportsman magazine, which has covered wildlife management battles in the Evergreen State for several years.

At one time, former State Rep. Brian Blake (D-Grays Harbor) sponsored a bill to allow the pursuit of mountain lions. It was fiercely opposed by predator proponents.

At the time, Blake—an ardent hunter and outdoorsman—remarked, “The use of dogs is the best tool we have for managing cougar populations in our state. What we learned from the pilot project was that hound hunting was the best biological tool to manage the cougar population. The big cats are not killed at random; they are treed to determine their sex and age to then decide if it makes sense to put them down or not.”

The attack occurred only a few miles from where another biker was killed and partly eaten by a mountain lion in May 2018. State wildlife officers were able to track that cat down a few hours later and killed it. Last year, an 8-year-old girl was attacked by a cougar on the north side of Olympic National Park, but her mother was able to rescue her child by aggressively yelling at the animal.

Hunting opponents—those who favor protecting cougars—have been able to prevent sportsmen from regaining ground. It is still legal to hunt cougars, but not with hounds. And recent moves by the Fish & Wildlife Commission suggest a push to return hound hunting likely would not get that panel’s support. Last year, the commission stopped the annual spring black bear hunt.

Bears may also not be hunted with hounds or bait under terms of the 1996 citizen initiative.

However, under Article II of the Washington state constitution, the legislature could reverse or amend the ban. Only within the first two years of enactment of a citizen initiative are the hands of lawmakers constitutionally tied. It has been nearly 28 years since the hound hunting ban was approved.

Historically, mountain lion attacks have been rare, but they have still been deadly. Joggers and cyclists in California have been attacked. A man in New Mexico was killed in 2008. Four years earlier, a cyclist in California was killed and partly eaten in Orange County. Two women were killed in separate attacks in California in 1994, and in 1989, a 5-year-old Montana youngster was also killed.

The Northwest Sportsman Facebook entry brought some interesting reactions from readers. One man predicted, “More and more will happen, kid from a bus stop? As we encroach on their turf, ban hound hunting and trapping. There’s plenty of habitat for them but not when they propagate beyond available land, they are VERY territorial and maintain their domain against young cats which inevitably are pushed into human collision. Without proper game management/conservation practices such as hunting and trapping, more will die. More humans and more cougars. Insane love for animals outweighs logic! Read, ‘Never a Time to Trust!’”

Another man chimed in, “Sounds like a situation of you get what you vote for. I truly hope they weren’t that type and I’m wrong, but cats need to be controlled. Hound hunting is the best way. They have no natural predators that will keep them in check, so what other options are there? They’re really ‘pretty’ until they kill you or something you love…”

Other respondents shared similar sentiments. A few others suggested other solutions, such as capturing and relocating any offending animals.

The Evergreen State has become something of a haven for animal protectionists. In addition to the expanding populations of cougars and black bears—population estimates are treated with suspicion by many in the outdoors—the wolf reintroduction effort has resulted in problems for ranchers and possibly for elk and deer herds. More recently, the Biden administration has been favorable to grizzly bear reintroduction in the North Cascades.

With each new encounter between humans and predatory wild animals, there is invariably a reminder that such attacks “are rare.” But they only need to happen once to change someone’s life forever, or bring it to a grisly end.


About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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CBW

Liberals do not care if you die by a mountain lion. They don’t. They are that arrogant and cannot think that one of their policies could possibly have a flaw in it. They would rather you die and all your kids. Liberals, therefore, are not fit to lead.

musicman44mag

It’s because the mountain lions are true to the territory they are protecting and man is intruding on their lands so man should stay at home in the big cities and exercise in a gym or ride their bike in the city and not go outside and waste resources like the gas it takes to get you and your bike to the mountains to ride. Its all better for the environment because there is less smog created because of no gas usage or less coal deposits in the air because of your electric car and better for the cats because… Read more »

Wild Bill

Hmmm. Sixty year old mountain biker from Washington. I give you nine to one that she was a libtard. I wonder if liberals cafe if other liberals die by mountain lion. Sounds to me like the kitty should have been released. But I am just guessing.

Tionico

You do not know of what you blather. “She”may be of the type you propose, but odds are high this is a group pf plder folks, male and female, that simply enjoy riding and have the time to do so. Keeps us healthy and strong, too. much of east King COunty is more like eastern Wathington… very rural, quiet, sparselypopulated, beautiful,and most of the folks living there woud like to break the eastern parts of King and Pierce counties off into a new county. I’m in my late seventies and still rude, a lot. And I don’t drive an EV… Read more »

Novice.but.learning

In 1998 am acquaintance who owns a few acres on the east side of the Washington Cascades spent a relaxing morning wandering around his land. Then he set up a table and some targets and spent some time turning gun powder and bullets into nicely placed groups on his targets. He told me that, for some reason, he felt like he was being watched. He looked over his shoulder and… a cougar was about 30 feet behind him and to the side. Long story short, the cat leaped and he dropped it 4 feet from where he was standing. One… Read more »

Tionico

Friends of mine used to live along the east side of Woodard Bay, north and east fof Olympia. Nice waterfront piece. The area was small farmsteads, five to twenty acres, many families with kids, most of thich attended the gummit skewls. Which means kids walking to the bus stop each morning, and back home each afternoon. One day after school a few of the kids reported on arrival at home that they had seen a big cat following them that morning. hmmm… no big cats around here. More reports came in over the next few days. The parents decided to… Read more »

Straight-Shootr

Relocating a cat is generally a delayed death sentence for either that cat, or the one in the area where it gets dumped. Relocation almost NEVER works for the big cats..

snowmaker

yes Dave, this is true for all wildlife, unless there isn’t another in the area which is doubtful. most states ban the relocation – unless part of a re population project – for beaver, bobcat, raccoon, skunk, fisher, bear, and so on down the line.

Straight-Shootr

I would file a Freedom of Information request with the USDA/USFS for the reports listed in the TE database. (Threatened and Endangered.)

MP71

Wild animal attacks are another strong argument for citizens to be responsibly armed.

Rob J

“under terms of the 1996 citizen initiative.” Oh Dave, we all know this was a bought and paid for campaign. Those of us who remember the smear campaign can easily recall the hundreds of times a day commercials were aired on TV showing neighborhood cats and dogs stuck in leghold traps, graphic videos of abused dogs that were supposedly injured treeing cats or bears, and “sportsmen” proclaiming the “unfair practice” of hunting bear over bait. No “citizens initiative” has the funding to run an all out PETA styled assault on the emotions of the public. This was one of the… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob J
Bigfootbob

I remember that well. There was also a provision in the initiative that banned trapping Moles/Voles. Also, if my memory serves me correctly, our local celebrity TV gardener/seed purveyor Ed Hume was gaslighted into supporting the initiative because the initiative proponent lied to Ed and said that Moles/Voles were exempt. I still haven’t bought a single seed packet from Ed Hume Seeds since. They are/were quality seed products. To be fair, Ed issued a mea culpa after he realized that he had been used and abused by the commie PETA activists, but IMHO, that was too little too late. I… Read more »

Bigfootbob

Amazing…here we go again…”waiting for approval”, you folks need to hire some elementary school age kid to straighten out your insane censorship algorithm.

Oldman

Reintroduce grizzlies to the north cascades? Why? They are already there and in areas of the higher Okanagan all the way to Idaho. How do I know? I’ve seen them.

Straight-Shootr

And well south of the Okanagan, too. When the wife was working for the US Florist service, they kept getting smoke trap plates in the hills around the Cashmere, WA area all smashed up by something large going after the bait. (A smoke ‘trap’ is a chunk of glass that has soot on it, placed in a box with an opening on one end, and bait in the other. Critters would leave nice little foot prints in the soot, that could be use to ID what was in the area.) Anyway, they finally got lucky, and the glass plate was… Read more »

Colt

I’m always on the prowl for a cougar in the produce section at my market.
Are we talking about the same thing?

Last edited 1 month ago by Colt
Straight-Shootr

A brother of a guy I worked with got a 220 lb cat that was stalking cows and had showed up near a school bus stop. (Eastern Washington, BTW.)

They skinned it out, and cured and smoked the hams.

The brother brought in some of the cougar ham for all of us to try, and it really just tasted like a good ham.

I went home that evening and told my wife I got to eat pussy at work that day… (No, I’m not kidding, and I didn’t have to sleep on the couch either..)

Grigori

In my mid-twenties before fully discovering the joys of cougars over women my age and younger. More intelligent conversations, less whiney, and usually had tubal ligation or hysterectomy, so no worries getting caught in a baby trap. 🙂

JC

I didn’t know big cats like snowflakes. We’ve had some here. Usually down by Tucson. Same reason. Think Sabino Canyon.

Last edited 1 month ago by JC
swmft

pansies too, if you are not willing to kill you should live in a city with two legged predators

musicman44mag

They don’t like snowflakes, they like sheeple.

Tionico

What’s this about snowflakes? DO you think anyne who rides a rail bike is ansnowflake? The snowflakes will be riding the urban paved bikepaths in Seattle and Bellevue.. you know the paces where they take traffic lanes and turn them into dedicated bike lanes?
Nor do you know rural east King, SNohomish, Pierce, or Thurston counties.

old guy

Big cats have also been spotted north of Tucson in Oro Valley pretty regularly.

Get Out

I don’t get worked up when these stories come out, I carry a firearm when out in the woods whether biking, walking or camping. I know a few acquaintances in WA State, and they carry as well.

Tionico

I’ve been an avid cyclist since I was a kid, now sme seven decades. I’lve lived in Washington since 1980 and have cyced most f the western part of the state, logging tens of thousands of miles. Sometimes I’d ride the sixtty or so miles to go vist friends in the Seattle area. I’ve crossed the Lake Washington bridge on the “bike path” a few times. tthere is a place n Mercer Island where the paved path goes through a tunnel (westbound route) and comes out into the open where there is a largish area that is open, but not… Read more »

Larryd

I may be an “outlier” , but I for one, am against hunting mountain lions with hounds.

Last edited 1 month ago by Larryd