Cougar Hunting Basics
Cougars, also known as Mountain Lions, panthers or pumas are the biggest of the small cats, elusive, highly effective predators living mostly on the western hemisphere.
These cats are considered big game trophies on many U.S. states and even when they were hunt until extinction on U.S. eastern states (in fact, only Florida Cougars population remains on the east coast), its population on western states is high enough to allow controlled hunting, even when in some states such as California, hunting cougars is illegal unless a particular individual is considered a public menace.
Highly adaptable, cougars live all along America, from U.S. and Canada down to Patagonia; in fact mountain lions are adapted to practically all habitat conditions, from deserts to mountains passing by tropical forest and even mud terrain.
However hunting such a magnificent predator is not an easy task, so if you are a beginner, the best way to find is to know the basics, as follow:
1- You need a mountain lion license to hunt cougars. Requirements and cost vary from state to state but is always mandatory. In some cases a hunting education course is required before a mountain lion hunting license application.
2- Be aware of rules a regulations. In example, it's illegal to lure cougars as well you can't shoot a kitty cougar or an adult cougar accompanied by two or more kitties; additionally there are international restrictions regarding mountain lions hunting and transportation, so be sure about legal regulations on the area you are planning to hunt on to avoid law infringement.
3- Dogs are allowed. In fact the best way to hunt cougars is with the help of a well trained hounds pack, however you can't use more than 8 dogs and it's mandatory your presence all along the hunting.
4- You must know how to differentiate male from female cougars, especially on long distances. It might be easier on short range but from the distance things are not so obvious, so learn about how to distinguish cougars sex using binoculars. This way it will be easier for you to make the difference.
5- Learn to identify cougar signs on an area. Stools, urine marks and other physical evidences will indicate you are on a cougar territory even when that doesn't imply the mountain lion is near you; in fact this lonely felines territories are wide with a low individuals concentration, so identifying a territory as a cougar one is just the beginning.
6- You must be in good shape. Because once you have identified cougar signs and release dogs it will be time not only to walk but also to do it fast, otherwise you are in risk to get lost from your dogs, and remember, it's mandatory to be an active part of the hunting to avoid law problems.
7- Dogs are the ultimate cougar hunting tactic. In fact the preferred cougar hunting method is using dogs, specifically hound dogs especially trained to pursue a cougar and corner it until you reach the area to kill the cat.
If you don't have trained dogs the best choice is to hire a local outfitter. They will serve you as guide an will help with their dogs to follow the cougar trail, increasing your success ods drastically.
If you count with a guide and a well trained hounds pack, half the job is done, however you are far away of being a master, to do so there's too much still to learn, but as usual, you must begin from the start ... Are you ready?