Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cougars in Louisiana

Cryptomundo has the news that they were confirmed by trail cameras. But what is it with state game agencies and their treatment of cougars? They obviously have to live somewhere, but not here...
Although it is illegal to own a cougar in Louisiana, it is possible that there are some illegally held “pets” in the state. Anyone holding a captive cougar in Louisiana must have a permit issued by LDWF, as captive cougars may compromise public safety. LDWF may issue permits to existing owners in the state in order to reduce difficulties associated with determining the validity of reported cougar sightings.
No one said anything about owning a cougar, yet they have to mention it. Just to make sure they put that seed in your mind.
The only species of big cats that occur as black are the jaguar and leopard. Jaguars are native to South America and leopards are native to Africa. Both species can occur as spotted or black, although in both cases the spotted variety is much more common. Although the department receives numerous calls about “black panthers”, there has never been a documented case of a black cougar anywhere in North America.
Once again, no one mentioned black cougars. No one claimed this was a black cougar. So what's the point?

And finally...
The department receives many calls reporting sightings of cougars throughout Louisiana. The vast majority of these reports cannot be verified due to the very nature of a sighting. These animals can move through an area and leave little or no evidence to be found. Many of the calls are found to be cases of mistaken identity. Dog tracks make up the majority of the evidence submitted by those reporting cougar sightings. Other animals commonly mistaken for cougars are bobcats and house cats, usually seen from a distance or in varying shades of light.

The significant lack of physical evidence leads the department to conclude that Louisiana does not have an established, breeding population of cougars. In states that have verified small populations of cougars, physical evidence can readily be found in the form of tracks, cached deer kills, scat and road kills. The recent occurrences of cougars in Louisiana may be young animals dispersing from existing populations in west Texas. An expanding population in west Texas can produce dispersing individual cougars that move into suitable habitat in Louisiana. Young males are known to disperse from their birthplace and travel hundreds of miles seeking their own territories.
Yes, I mistake the common house cat for a cougar pretty much all the time, since I'm no animal expert and therefore a complete idiot.

Michigan blamed it on the Dakotas. And now Louisiana blames it on Texas. But no one wants to admit that cougars are pretty much everywhere.


  1. I will admit it. Cougars are out there. I've never seen one in the wild myself (and I would probably soil myself if I did!), but I have a relative that shot one when I was a kid. It was a bit west of here, if I remember right. Uvalde, maybe?

    Anyway, I know the cougars are out there. They're just not very friendly cats, and they probably avoid humans as much as possible.

  2. I saw one when I was a kid, about a mile away from my house. But that was a long time ago. But back then all the raccoon and coyote hunters knew they were out here. I don't think they're here anymore. Probably all went to Louisiana.

  3. I am 50 years old now and saw a cougar bow hunting in Red River Wildlife Management Area about 10 years ago. There was no dought it was a cougar because it was about 100 # and I was in a tree climber at twenty yards when it laid down and began to lick itself under my stand. I had the incredable luck to watch it 30 minutes before it got up and walked off in to the woods again. It was an experience everyone should have.