Mountain Lion Hunting / Population


February 10, 2003, 11:34 AM
Hey guys,

I've got a question for you Big Game Hunters. I'm not a hunter myself, although I wouldn't mind doing some hunting, venison is tasty. :)

After reading some posts that mentioned Mountain lion hunting I was a bit suprised. I'm not to keen on hunting predators unless there's an overpopulation issue. Especially since they're so important for controlling populations of all the other prey animals.

I was curious how many Mountain Lions there are since their coverage are has diminished so much over the past century or so.

Check out this site.

It says that the population is "Healthy". But I find that hard to believe when they say that there are only 1500-3000 lions in Co. and there were 439 taken in one year! :eek:

How do population #'s stay up with a 15-30% annual kill rate?

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Art Eatman
February 10, 2003, 01:48 PM
Staying with mountain lions, as opposed to prdators in general: The population count is a guesstimate.

For instance: Back some 20 years ago, Texas Parks & Wildlife, in conjunction with the National Parks Service, wanted to do a live-trap population count in Big Bend National Park. They got a really top-notch local-area professional lion hunter to do the work.

For the central Chisos Mountains, an island of mountains in the center of the park, they expectation was for a pair of lions per 100 to 200 square miles, or possibly four or so lions in that area.

They trapped twenty-two lions.

I'm not saying that the Colorado folks are off by a factor of five, but I'd bet there are more lions around than they really know.

Sheep and cattle folks may not know how many lions there are, but they'll know whether or not they see more tracks or fewer tracks in any given year. Same for the amount of livestock losses to lions. What they have a feel for is whether the population is or is not stable.

The issue is less that 439 lions were killed in Colorado in one year. You must also look back to previous years, and look at whatever data indicates a generally-stable population. Further, if for a given amount of hunting effort the kill number is down, it's easy enough to limit the permits and allow the population to recover.

Down here in my desert, we're commonly bum-deep in lion poop, and there are few deer...


February 10, 2003, 07:12 PM
The lion population estimates are SWAG's, the game and fish departments have no idea how many lions there actually are. Hunters provide 75% or more of the useful info on lion populations and locations, the rest is collected by scat counts and finding of lion killed animals. Tracks crossing the roads in the wintertime are as meaningful as game biologists can get for data, but not a lot of time and money is put into it when the biologists can call the best lion guides in any given area and get the skinny from him. Lion populations in units Colorado's 77, 78, and 751 are higher than anyone remembers right now.....

February 10, 2003, 07:52 PM
There was a nice photo on another forum of a 190 lb cat recently taken in WA. In the east cats are on the increase but its hard to get numbers . Some states have reintroduced them and many states refuse to admit that they exist such as here in NY. Ther e are more and more sightings all the time. For info on the eastern population do a search on 'eastern cougar research'.

February 10, 2003, 08:25 PM
If people are seeing lions the population is probably pretty darn thick, you just don't see lions very often. Even where they are thick it can be YEARS between lion sightings unless hunting them.

February 11, 2003, 04:58 PM
Yeah - I remember that story. I thought that the DOW would have made sure that they had a more factual estimate before they put a story out. (Although I thought it was cool that TRs mountain lion record stood for so long). It then took about 3 shakes of a cougars tail for this to show up....

A coalition of 13 conservation groups and individuals lead by Sinapu, a Boulder-based predator advocacy group, had requested that the Commission reduce the quota to 300, the level in 1980, claiming the current quota was too high.

When the DOW set the quotas for the 2003 season the predator biologist estimated that there were 5000 lions in the state. Hopefully, we won't get a ballot initiative to limit lion hunting, like when bear hunting got limitied a number of years ago.


Art Eatman
February 11, 2003, 07:55 PM
I've heard hunters fuss against shooting a scared or running deer, from a belief that the adrenalin and "spook-itis" will somehow affect the taste of the meat.

I wonder if lions feel that way about joggers?

:D, Art

February 11, 2003, 08:24 PM
OMG Art, that is GREAT!!!!!!!!! LMAO!!!!

February 11, 2003, 10:25 PM
There is a movement a foot lead by Jean Goodall to get the the Mountain Lion listed as an endangered species, and or get hunting bans like California has.

They have been pedaling statistics like "Less than 7,000 left in the wild!" Hell Colorado alone has more than that!

Still they are a dangerous, yet dumb threat to hunting.

Edited, added the "y" to "They"

February 11, 2003, 11:45 PM
IMHO this is a big problem for California. What happens when the maximum number of cats to sustainable habitat is way out of proportion? The habitat gets used up.

Will the mountain lions that can't be sustained wonder into populated area's looking for an easy meal? Will maulings be on the rise?

California is one of the lamest states there is and its no surprise that hunting these animals is banned. To these non thinkers poisoning wildlife is more acceptable to curb populations than allowing people to hunt. What a travesty.

February 12, 2003, 01:13 AM
California is one of the lamest states there is and its no surprise that hunting these animals is banned.

You got that right...there was a housing tract put in here that had a "wildlife" greenbelt. The rational thinkers purposed hunting to keep down the Coyoties population, but the PETA type groups got hunting banned in that area...till Fee-Fee and Fido started disapearing in the tract. Gee, the Coyoties got so thick they ran out of game so had to eat the "introduced" game, cats and dogs. Oh, that got their attention! So they of course took a vote to hunt down and thin the Coyoties right, wrong...they poisened all of them! When I here them use the title of "people against the inhumane treated of animals" it makes me sick..."pro choice" is another but I degress...:fire:

Art Eatman
February 12, 2003, 09:23 AM
Lion attacks on people are not common, but they do happen. I know of two separate incidents in Big Bend National Park. There's the "dead jogger incident" west of Denver. The dead housewife near Sacramento. And a couple of near misses in Arizona; near Tucson, IIRC.

A buddy of mine called me one day to ask if I had a "long distance" rifle. "Why?" asks I. "I see a lion, and I don't think I can reach him with my .30-30."

I grabbed my '06 and drove over; about two miles. In the interval, the lion had come sneaking up toward his house. It charged into the yard, grabbed a housecat and disappeared.

A common name for pets, down here, is "Lion Bait".


February 13, 2003, 12:01 AM
Sounds like Arroyo Grande or San Luis type politics.

I'm at Vandenberg.

February 13, 2003, 02:25 AM
Sounds like Arroyo Grande or San Luis type politics

Close Zorro, Pismo Beach. Are you military or private at VAFB?

February 20, 2003, 11:19 PM
Medically Retired, now Civilian Contractor to the USAF.

Gordy Wesen
March 1, 2003, 07:56 PM
Mmmmmm. The other whit meat.

Gordy Wesen
March 1, 2003, 07:57 PM
That would be "white", and hindquarters only please.

Art Eatman
March 1, 2003, 10:08 PM
Hey, lion is some of the finest meat you'll ever throw a lip-lock on! "Sweet" is really too strong a word, but it definitely has a wondrous flavor.

Hams, backstrap, inner tenders...Umm, umm, good!


March 4, 2003, 04:39 PM
They got a really top-notch local-area professional lion hunter to do the work.

Anyone we know, Art?

Art Eatman
March 4, 2003, 11:28 PM
I believe the NPS used Roy McBride for their lion survey. He has been a consultant on many predator-cat deals, including Africa. He was truly fantastic at training dogs for cat-hunting. Even up into his 70s, he'd run a dozen miles or more a day with his dog pack...


March 5, 2003, 10:39 PM
Yea they are out there. They watch you everyday. You just don't know where they are. Their sneaky and can appear out of nowhere just like the wind.

March 10, 2003, 02:09 AM
Ware I live they are around more than you probably want to know. I just read a good book from a man that studies them in this area.

He said if you hike and walk out in the woods more than likely you have walked right under them. I allways thought Id see them on the ground like the one I saw a few years back.

But they spent the majority of there time in the trees.

March 12, 2003, 07:16 PM

Yea Art, the last person that fed me that line about lion being so good did so right before about 7 of us spit it out on his shoes. ROFL.

Big cat tastes just like you would think it tastes folks.

six 4 sure
March 12, 2003, 11:17 PM
One of the things I truely regret I didn't do before leaving Nevada was go lion hunting. I really want to kick myself for not atleast buying the tag to show my friends back in the midwest.

Quick story. This past summer we had several summer interns working at my mine. Three of them went on a 20 mile backpacking/camping trip into a wilderness area. I asked if they planned on take a gun because there were lions in the area. I offered to let one of them borrow something "just in case" they blew me off thinking I was a little crazy. Sure enough, a lion ran across their trail about 10 yards in front of them. Nothing happened, but it gave the girl in the group a little scare. They didn't have any problem with me packing on the following camping trips.


Art Eatman
March 12, 2003, 11:53 PM
A number of years back, we had a Study Butte Porch Society feast-and-festivity gathering. One of the guys had killed a young lion of some 60 pounds; he butchered it out and cooked it for the party. We also had barbecue and a venison ham and something else I disremember. Four meats, anyway.

Folks would very hesitantly try "just a bite" of the lion. And then smile, and load a plate. We ran out of lion meat before anything else, and it was competing with danged good deer meat and barbecue, I can tell you!

I've noticed that folks who know how to do a proper job of field dressing and butchering and then the cooking just don't ever hear many complaints. :D The flip side of that coin is that my ex-wife could take the best piece of tenderloin ever butchered and turn it into shoe leather...

Ya wanna see a lion? Take a couple of old rags, soak'em in bacon grease and hang'em on my south fence. Then, just sit back and wait. Cigar Mountain Mommacat will be along...Or her cub; or Handsome Stranger, if he's around, the big-footed galoot!

:D, Art

March 13, 2003, 09:57 PM
Had a thought reading the post about the movement to make lions an endangered species. Lions survived 10,000 years of intensive hunting and no game laws at all. What will kill them off isn't hunters but the the sort of stupid shortsighted land managament techniques which have brought us the recent wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Californica.

So whaddyasay US Forassed Service? How about we ban roadbuilding, ban logging, ban controlled burns, ban hunting and then watch the lions all die at once some warm August night when their entire territory burns after a lightning storm?:scrutiny:

Steve Smith
March 14, 2003, 05:28 PM
Ok, Art, you have me really curious now. I have several friends that hunt lion here in CO every year. If its that good, I'll try it. I've lost an interest in hunting elk and deer, but hunting predators has always been fun.

Art Eatman
March 14, 2003, 09:20 PM
I've been sorta keeping track of mountain lion sightings in this general area since I moved here in 1983. There are several areas where there is a "happy home" territory for a momma lion. These tend to be smallish mountains or mountain complexes, a mile or four from "neighbors". These aren't necessarily permanent-resident deals, as the food supply will have them moving about the larger countryside--but they tend to be fairly reliable as to some ol' momma cat hanging around.

And Mommy has visitors from time to time, the low-morals critter! :)

And so I regularly see tracks around my immediate area...About the only way to hunt, given the broken-up nature of land ownership, is to bait and wait.

:), Art

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