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More Cougar Sightings, Attacks | Methow Grist
Cougar hunting permits to be issued

photo photo by Cal Tresser

A handful of cougar sightings in local residential areas have prompted the Department of Fish and Wildlife to seek new hunting permits. Local hunters killed two cougars within hours on Sunday.

Earlier in December three cougars were sighted in the Alder Creek area near the Twisp-Carlton road. One juvenile male cougar was exterminated after killing a homeowner’s dog. Cal Tresser believes that the two found in the Lookout Mountain area over the weekend were the other two spotted near Alder Creek.

Sightings have also been reported near Walters Rd., Heckendorn area, and the Crown S Ranch. On February 3 a cougar attacked ducks at Crown S before evading Fish and Wildlife officer Cal Tresser. Wednesday evening the cougar was sighted crossing the road toward Crown S Ranch again, though no further attacks have been reported at Crown S to date.

On Sunday, a licensed hunter on Lookout Mountain Road shot a cougar. Several hours later, a livestock owner went to check on his cattle and found that a calf had been attacked. He called Tresser who arrived and inspected the calf. “The snow had melted beneath the calf, the kill was so fresh,” said Tresser. “The area was covered in fresh cougar tracks.”

After confirming that a cougar killed the calf, hounds were released and the cougar was treed and killed within 200 yards of the dead calf.

"I have never seen this many removals," said Fish and Wildlife officer Jason Day. Day stated that since December there have been 6 cat removals in the Methow Valley and one in the Okanogan Valley. However, new permits will be made available in the next few weeks.

In light of the most recent cougar activity, the Department of Fish and Wildlife will issue public safety cougar removal permits to safely remove the cougars from specific residential areas. These permits will allow the use of hounds for the purpose of hunting cougars—a practice made illegal after Initiative 655 passed and banned hounds for cougar hunting.

These new permits will be allowed for use between February 15 until the end of March and specifically target the three cougars which have been sighted in residential areas but have not yet been removed/eliminated.  "The public safety cougar removal permits are very site specific," said Officer Day. "We aren’t wanting to harvest all of the cougars in the area. Our goal is to keep humans and their pets and livestock safe."


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