CA mountain lion permits issued and lions killed 1972 to 2007. Cougar depredation

spectr17

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Kind of interesting to see the cougar depredation numbers over the years.
 

cjack

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This shows how effective wildlife management can be.
 

cutbait

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I read it as a 50% success rate.

Damn good odds for such a reportedly "elusive" creature
 

cjack

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Or the opposite.
I don't know. It seems that the amount killed or "managed" is in direct proportion or there abouts to the # of permits. If they want to reduce the #'s they know they can use a 1 to 2 ratio.
 
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mezcan

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Hmmm. 1800 killed in the last 20 yrs or so and the kitty populations continue to get bigger ? Doesn't sound like 'sound management' principles.
 

DFG_Bear

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Just curious, what numbers do you have to indicate that the lion population is increasing in California?
 

51Shot

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Just read where the Lt. govenor and some others from California want the director of the Cal dept of fish and game to resign for going out of state and killing a mountain lion on a legal hunt...
 

DFG_Bear

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That is a rhetorical question, right?
No. This isn't the first time I've heard people saying that the mountain lion population in California is increasing. I'm really curious if these people have hard numbers upon which to base this claim.
 

Orygun

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What is "THE" number of cougars in CA? I always see estimates in news articles. Are the criteria for issuing take permits the same as they have always been? If not, there any factors (like political) which have trended down the number of permits? Taken at face value, the cat removal numbers would appear to be fairly consistent. That might even be indicative of a fairly stable population.

To the north it is a game animal subject to harvest quotas. The harvest numbers are on par with historical harvests when the use of hounds was legal. Our cat numbers have been increasing. Our bear numbers certainly have. Our F&W folks have told us that.
 

mezcan

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Just curious, what numbers do you have to indicate that the lion population is increasing in California?
While living in Humboldt County , working in Siskyou, Del Norte, Trinty and Mendocino counties I probably only saw 3 sets of cougar tracks over a 15 year span of hiking in the wilderness. Since relocating to Southern Cal (OC) I see cougar tracks more often than not when out in the CNF chasing legally hunted critters . Their used to be a ton of coyotes out there too , but for some reason I don't see sign anymore . Mule deer used to bed in deep ravines and craggy areas on the hillsides in my favorite area but now I've observed Spring/Summer bedding areas in the middle of large open fields devoid of trees or other elevated stalking positions ....

If the northern counties have most of the depredation kills , why are there so many more signs of kitties in my travels here the last 15 years. Certainly not because the population is stable.

Humans have been attacked in the north (Praire Creek Redwoods SP), as well as the south (Caspars Regional Park-San Juan Capistrano and Whiting Ranch trail ).

All I have is my own experiences and opinions.

Educate us Bear. You are the expert. Don't sit silent.
 
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DFG_Bear

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I simply wanted to provoke some critical thought, not just emotional hearsay, which is what I usually am confronted with (not passing judgement on anyone here by any means).

Busy at work; busy at home. give me some time to pull some charts together and I'll try my best to elucidate my thoughts.

But just quickly, if mountain lions primary prey source is deer, and the statewide deer population is declining, just exactly how can the lion population be increasing? Don't blame the pigs, because for the most part, lions turn their noses up at pigs. I've seen zoo lions let pig meat go rancid for a week before they'd get hungry enough to touch it, and I'm only aware of one instance where a wild lion was documented to kill a wild pig (2010 - Santa Cruz).
 

Fugaloo

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I think the correlation between abundance of prey and abundance of cat is irrelevent. Nobody seems to have a real number on them because they aren't being conserved, they're being preserved. We have great knowledge bases on deer because every hunter is part of the data collection process. It seems like instead of managing the species ike we do with so many other animals we are just ignoring them. Even a moderate tag quota has to be better for the species than just guessing. Having hunters out there doing the ground work and paying for it to boot seems like it would key biologists into health trends and genetic info. As slow as the process is, Deer management works because we can see population decline before it's too late and make changes to counteract, also health issues can be localised, isolated and dealt with because there is feedback coming from this vast network of people who care.

This ban only isolates the mountain lion from the works of direct conservation.
 

RIFLEMAN

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Marc,

But just quickly, if mountain lions primary prey source is deer, and the statewide deer population is declining, just exactly how can the lion population be increasing? Don't blame the pigs, because for the most part, lions turn their noses up at pigs. I've seen zoo lions let pig meat go rancid for a week before they'd get hungry enough to touch it, and I'm only aware of one instance where a wild lion was documented to kill a wild pig (2010 - Santa Cruz).
I am not asserting that the lion population is growing necessarily, but I would offer the following points to consider before attempting to make too strong a dependent correlation between the declining deer population and the lion population:
1. Lions may be obligate carnivores, but they are not obligate venison consumers. Certainly, lions prefer deer (having evolved alongside and be physiologically adapted to preying on cervids), but they are opportunistic and generalist in their nature. Even if, for the sake of argument, lions don't fancy pork, logic would dictate that since they are capable of killing hogs (at least the sub-adult classes), then they will kill and eat hogs in the absence of deer.
2. Come up to my hunting country and you will see lion scat with nothing but hog hair in it; granted, this is purely anecdotal, but it cancels out your anecdotal zoo lions! :>)
3. The study of Southern California lions in LA and Ventura Counties are indicating substantial predation on coyotes; so much so that there have been a few documented cases of lion mortality from rodenticide concentrations. The necropsy of lions killed by other means are also indicating levels of rodenticide, and it is being theorized that rodenticide is working up the chain (D-CON-to rat-to coyote-to lion) in a manner reminiscent of the relationship between DDT and the bald eagle or mercury and male orcas.
4. The sub-adult classes of lion are known to prey primarily on non-cervid species initially after dispersing until their hunting skills have developed to the point of being able to efficiently kill larger prey. Now, you may argue that this trait does not mean that adult lions would or could subsist on beaver, rabbits, turkeys, and meso-predators alone (or allow a female to raise her offspring) in absence of deer, but I am not aware of any data that would indicate that lions couldn't.
5. It seems that the number of incidents where lions are entering towns is increasing, which, if true, would lend credence towards an increasing lion population given their highly territorial nature and penchant for intraspecific aggression. Of course, determining if there is indeed an increasing trend and incorporating the movement of the urban interface are both necessary to support this argument.
 

mezcan

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Marc,


I am not asserting that the lion population is growing necessarily, but I would offer the following points to consider before attempting to make too strong a dependent correlation between the declining deer population and the lion population:
1. Lions may be obligate carnivores, but they are not obligate venison consumers. Certainly, lions prefer deer (having evolved alongside and be physiologically adapted to preying on cervids), but they are opportunistic and generalist in their nature. Even if, for the sake of argument, lions don't fancy pork, logic would dictate that since they are capable of killing hogs (at least the sub-adult classes), then they will kill and eat hogs in the absence of deer.
2. Come up to my hunting country and you will see lion scat with nothing but hog hair in it; granted, this is purely anecdotal, but it cancels out your anecdotal zoo lions! :>)
3. The study of Southern California lions in LA and Ventura Counties are indicating substantial predation on coyotes; so much so that there have been a few documented cases of lion mortality from rodenticide concentrations. The necropsy of lions killed by other means are also indicating levels of rodenticide, and it is being theorized that rodenticide is working up the chain (D-CON-to rat-to coyote-to lion) in a manner reminiscent of the relationship between DDT and the bald eagle or mercury and male orcas.
4. The sub-adult classes of lion are known to prey primarily on non-cervid species initially after dispersing until their hunting skills have developed to the point of being able to efficiently kill larger prey. Now, you may argue that this trait does not mean that adult lions would or could subsist on beaver, rabbits, turkeys, and meso-predators alone (or allow a female to raise her offspring) in absence of deer, but I am not aware of any data that would indicate that lions couldn't.
5. It seems that the number of incidents where lions are entering towns is increasing, which, if true, would lend credence towards an increasing lion population given their highly territorial nature and penchant for intraspecific aggression. Of course, determining if there is indeed an increasing trend and incorporating the movement of the urban interface are both necessary to support this argument.
Yah, eloquently stated !
 

Orygun

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hand it is being theorized that rodenticide is working up the chain (D-CON-to rat-to coyote-to lion) in a manner reminiscent of the relationship
I would argue it's more likely that hamburger mixed with a rodenticide is finding its way into a coyote. That is one reason why you can't buy large amounts or certain kinds anymore without a license in CA. The fact that it happened shortly after leg-hold traps were banned should also tell you something. I do not know what the lethal dosage for a cougar would be. But you would need a lot of rats poisoned that would have to be eaten by a coyote to accumulate enough then that the lion would have to consume to actually kill it. Know you could just have the cat eat meat with rodenticide and cut that chain down as well.

Brodifacoum does store in fatty tissue. The trick is to get enough in an animal to where it hasn't then bled out and died.

Is the cat predation on coyotes more of a function of an apes predator eliminating the competition? Not having seen the study I don't know. Also, was there any indication of increases in fox populations as the coyotes dropped in numbers? Since anecdotes are being mentioned, my conversation back in the early with a rancher in one of the ranchers in a canyon located between Monterey and Salinas was interesting He was an honest to goodness oldtime cowboy that has seen the are develop and change over the decades. He had seen the cats come and go. He saw the cats where he never seen them before. In those areas the coyotes all but disappeared. He also noticed that the numbers of foxes went way up. Whether or not all the homes being built in the area wasn't contributing was hard to say.

Even though the number of permits has trended downward to a sort of stable number, have the actual numbers on incidents involving livestock and pets in increased or also remained stable?
 


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