View Full Version : Need Tips on Cougar Please

December 19, 2004, 23:39
A cat is depleting my friend's livestock. The sheriff and F&W will not react. He is in a slightly built-up area outside city limits, with a fairly good bullet stop in the direction away from the highway (houses about 1000 yards beyond that). It comes up the gulley and picks off the sheep, then the coyotes clean up the mess. The gulley has a large number of heavy pines in it.

Any suggestions as to
1.) weapon? I'm leaning toward a shotgun with 00 buck or a slug.
2.) tactics? I have no idea when this thing shows up. It's dark at 4:30 here now, and lasts until almost 7:00am. Is there a typical time or pattern? How about bait?
3.) misc.?

Your help is appreciated. He lost five sheep yesterday alone. Eviserated and stripped, only the head and guts left.

Da Nerd
December 20, 2004, 00:26
Are you sure you are dealing with a cougar and not just a bunch of hungry coyotes??
I doubt you will get close enough to a cougar to use OO buck shot.
In Colorado the Dept of Wildlife will reimburse a rancher for lost livestock if proved to have been done by a bear or cougar.. what is the law in your state?
I doubt a cougar kills and EATS five sheep.. that is why I think is coyotes.
A cougar usually drags it's kill off and covers it to return and eat on it again and again....
You could be dealing with a pack of stray dogs...

December 20, 2004, 23:30
No, it's a cat for sure. Coyotes don't eviscerate the prey in one swipe and then eat all the meat. That's the shape the sheep are in when the coyotes find them. Coyotes take them down by the throat or heels. The cat is gutting them.

Cats can be destroyed if they are a threat to life or livestock, with the landowner's written permission. The disposal of the carcass has to be done in accordance with F&WL dictates. That's it.

I'm sorry, I misspoke when I said five sheep were lost in one day. I mean "as of this point."

December 20, 2004, 23:51
You need to be up high so you can shoot down into the gully with no chance of putting a round in someones back yard. Tree stand? A .22 magnum for a head shot would be less noisy and effective at 50 yards or so, just be sure you are legal.

Any deer rifle type caliber would be more effective, of course and you would be less likely to have to follow a wounded animal. The odds of getting a shot in daylight may be pretty slim however.

I would think a big cat would be a danger to any kids in the area. Any tracks or other proof that it's a cat? Also, have you checked with the game warden to see if a trapper is available?

Da Nerd
December 21, 2004, 01:31
Cougar Predation - Description
Cougars attempt to stalk their prey and attack from cover. They frequently kill sheep and goats by biting the top of the neck or head. Broken necks are common in these kills. This differs from the typical coyote bite in the throat and general mutilation caused by dogs. However, cougars also may kill sheep and goats by biting the throat. This may result from prey falling or being knocked down and caught, or it may simply be the method found effective by individual cougars and most convenient on some prey animals. Cougars may kill by grasping the head of prey such as sheep, goats and deer and pulling the head until the neck is broken. Many of these may not have been bitten but die quickly. Cougars kill calves much like they do sheep and goats. Multiple kills of sheep and goats by cougars are common; cases of a hundred or more animals killed in a single incident have been recorded. As a rule, very few animals, often only one or two in such incidents, are fed upon by the cougar.
Cougars usually kill larger animals, such as deer, elk, horses and cattle, by leaping on their shoulders or back and biting the neck. Claw marks on the neck, back and shoulders are characteristic of these kills. The prey animal's neck may be broken by bites or by the animal failing from the attack. There may also be bites in the throat of these larger prey. The size of the canine tooth punctures and the type of bone damage help distinguish cougar kills from those made by coyotes, dogs and foxes. An adult cougar's upper canine teeth are approximately 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 inches apart; the lower teeth are approximately 3/8 to 1/2 inch closer together. A cougar's teeth are massive compared to those of the average coyote or bobcat.

Except when prey is scarce, cougars do not normally feed on carrion other than their own kills or possibly those taken away from other predators. They usually carry or drag their kills to a secluded area under cover to feed and drag marks are frequently found at fresh kill sites. Cougars generally begin feeding on the viscera (liver, heart, lungs, etc.) through the abdomen or thorax but like other carnivores, individuals differ. Some begin feeding on the neck or shoulder while others prefer the hindquarters. Like other cats, cougars normally leave relatively clean-cut edges when they feed compared to the ragged edges of tissue and bone left by coyotes. They also may break large bones in feeding on domestic and wild animals.

Cougars frequently try to cover their kills with soil, vegetation (leaves, grass, limbs) or snow. They may eviscerate prey and cover the viscera separately from the rest of the carcass. Even where little debris is available, bits of soil, rock, grass or sticks may be found on the carcass. However, where multiple kills are made at one time, there may be no effort to cover more than one or two of them.

Cougar "scrapes" or "scratches", composed of mounds of soil, grass, leaves, or snow, are probably a means of communication with other cougars. These scrapes are generally 6 to 8 inches high and urine is deposited on the mounds. Male cougars appear to make scrapes as territorial markers around their kills and near trails and deposit urine and feces on them; these markers may be considerably larger than others, up to 2 feet long, 12 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches high in some cases.

Cougar tracks are relatively round and rarely show any claw marks since the claws are normally retracted. Tracks of large adult males' front feet may be 4 inches or more long and about the same or slightly less in width. The hind tracks are slightly smaller. The rear pads of the feet are distinctively different from those of other carnivores. Typically, there are two lobes in front and three on the rear of the rear pads although there are individual variations. With extensive

December 21, 2004, 10:15
I am surprised the F&W officer in your locale won't do anything. In WA if there is a cougar killing livestock, usually our F&W officers get a hound hunter to track and kill or relocate with a radio collar on, which I believe must embarass the hell out of the cougar. What self respecting cougar wants to be seen with one of those on. Ha ha

If you can talk directly with your local F&W officer, they may be able to help. I know in WA if a rancher calls with a potential kill an officer will go out and verify what animal made the kill. If it is a cougar or bear, the officer will do something about it. If it is feral dogs then it is the problem for the county animal control.

I would suggest using a .223, if legal in OR, to dispatch the cougar. Find a good hide with a backstop and wait. Be sure and check any local ordinances to be sure of no firearms restrictions. I am assuming OR is similar to WA in that animals depradating on livestock may be legally killed.

December 21, 2004, 10:48
The Department of Natural Resources has been telling us folks there are no cougars in Illinois....well....guess what a train hit?


I think they are one badass lookin cat!

Da Nerd
December 21, 2004, 14:49
A couple of months ago a train that runs behind my house,, killed a cougar less than a mile from me,, in a fairly populated area.. they also found it's den.
Seems the cats are making a home in suburbia...

Sword of Laban
December 21, 2004, 16:47
Yep last year there was a cougar in a tree over a grade school playground in Gresham OR, a large suburb of Portland. Cougar ran off and they never found it but we had a cougar warning in the area for a long time. We also had a black bear wandering downtown last year as well, lots of pink liberal meat downtown that the world would be better off without. I exercise well armed though in all honesty I worry less about the four legged critters.

Good luck bagging the kitty. Sounds like a low light situation, do you have NV?

December 21, 2004, 16:54
Recently there was an article in the local paper about a ML being found in Omaha NE. They are somewhat common here in Idaho and do make off with smaller animals and house pets up to German Shepperd size easily. IIRC some ranchers use llamas to protect their sheep. I would think trapping to be one of the easiest ways to eliminate the problem with the least chance of something going wrong. Like a rifle shot over traveling the intended target.

Da Nerd
December 21, 2004, 17:32
Some one here in town used a lama and a BEAR killed it...
They will never take the place of a well placed 30-30...:rofl:

December 22, 2004, 00:43
Please keep us updated.

December 22, 2004, 09:41
Don't be surprised about finding cougars in areas that people tell you there are no cougars. A cougar was found in a city park in Seattle, WA a few years back, Seattle is a city of almost 600,000. The park is surrounded by houses, yet the cat got in there.

All you have to do is look to CA to see what cougars are capable of. After passing a no hunt for cougars state wide, the cat population steadily increased to the point that the cats were coming into urban areas and they would jump into dog kennels and kill large dogs for food. From a cougars perspective it would have been the best prey, it can't run away locked in a kennel. People were having to put roofs on their dog kennels. Just goes to show you what happens when the majority votes to manage our natural resources and takes the job out of the hands of the professional wildlife biologists.

Happy Hunting

Da Nerd
December 22, 2004, 10:23
The influx of tree huggers to Colorado aided in the passing of several 'new' hunting laws concerning cougars and bears. No spring bear hunts, not baiting of bears or lions, and no hunting with dogs. Well that pretty much takes cougars and bears out of the hunt, unless you just happen upon one. So now we are eye ball deep in cats and bears, and no relief in sight.
You just can NOT regulate hunting by emotion, facts and logic need to be applied as well. There is less and less space and more and more critters.
We have already had several deaths by cats and bears and it is only going to get worse. Damn I hate tree huggers.

December 23, 2004, 18:13
DaNerd does a good job on the cat kills. I agree that what you are describing sounds like a few dogs running together...maybe a bear. This used to be big sheep country and my suspect list would be the neighbors dogs getting together after dark. Once again, it does not sound like a cat...IMHO of course.

If he does take a cat, get the backstrap and grill it. YUM! Don't overcook!

December 24, 2004, 12:27
Tain't no cat. Tain't no bear nor yotes neither'.

Tis a damned ALIEN!!! Yup... auh reckon it tis!


Good luck with the alien!

Da Nerd
December 24, 2004, 13:49
Nope, alien kills NEVER bleed. Strange how that happens, but i have seen it many times.

December 24, 2004, 15:42
Nope, alien kills NEVER bleed. Strange how that happens, but i have seen it many times.

That was the old way, too many people were catching on and the publicity was getting beyond the shadow governments ability to hide the truth. Now the kills do bleed....be afraid, be VERY, VERY AFRAID. (demonic cackling sound in background)

December 24, 2004, 16:34
I'd go with the .223 as well. Perhaps a 55 gr. soft point from an elevated position if possible. I knew an old logger who shot wolves with his .223 contender from his D9. Said it made a mess of them. You do want to kill this beast clean. I see no reason why a wounded cougar would be less dangerous than one of Capstick's dreaded wounded leopards.

Good luck. I'd make a necklace out of it's teeth and wear it to bed on special occasions............

Oh yeah, Merry Christmas all!

December 25, 2004, 15:02
If you know the point of entry get one of those hunting cameras that has the motion senser on it with a timer. When the offender walks past it takes a photo and time stamps it. That way you know when to be there and what you need to kill.

Da Nerd
December 29, 2004, 21:22
well, whats the latest findings on this cat chase???

December 30, 2004, 20:19
Originally posted by Da Nerd
well, whats the latest findings on this cat chase??? I'm going out there this weekend to check on tracks and such. It's been quiet for a week and rains have washed everything away. I need to check on positions and firing angles. I may be able to shoot from an elevated position into the gulley. If i do that, hell, it will be FAL City!:fal: :fal: :devil:

Para Driver
December 31, 2004, 10:46
try and use some light powder across his/her possible infilitration/egress routes.. get some idea which path he/she prefers.. maybe even get a good look at it's track for ID purposes (post a photo). In Africa they sweep the dirt in the camps (leave a fine powder) so they can see if a snake or cat came into camp during the night, and from what direction.

you'll need a goat/sheep or small cat or yappy dog for bait..

I agree that if you can get some altitude, like a tree stand in place, that will give you some advantage.. I don't think you'll get two chances.

My money is on a 12ga slug gun, with a powerful light on it..
blink-bang. adios.. nothing goes too far with a brenneke in it...
I say a 12ga slug so you don't risk the round getting off your property, but getting the cat exactly where you want him may not be in his playbook, so back it up with some 3" 00 (or #1 if you can find some).. you can always hit the bypass, and shuck out the slug if you catch him on open ground..

#1 is the next size compared to 00 and has something like 50% more lead in the same size shell.. the 00 pellets are so big you only get 9 in a standard and I think 12 pellets in a 3" shell.. the #1 has way more punch.

January 02, 2005, 20:03
Hi again geerhed,
Why are you so sure that this is a cat? Like I said before, the consistent gutting is not really normal on a cat kill and they'd usually move the carcass to a place of hiding so they can snack on it later.
You should be seeing back of the neck damage for a healthy cat and maybe front of the neck damage for juveniles or damaged ones. Additionally, a cat that's ripping up a flock should be leaving some near miss survivors with claw marks on their backs and flanks.
Anyhow, it doesn't take much of a gun to wack a lion. I'd avoid OO buck unless you are going into a den after one. A good friend of mine is an outfitter and he usually uses a 22 mag pistol. He did go to 357 and then a 40 after he had a close call in a den with an arrow wounded lion. He goes back to the 22 mag when he's sick of packing the extra weight.
If you really have a bad cat, get a govt trapper or lion hunter involved. They'll probably tree it with a dog and get it that way. You indicated that DOW did not want to get involved...I'm guessing that they don't buy into this as lion damage.
I'm not trying to bash your post, it just doesn't add up to me. Good luck.

January 03, 2005, 18:17
Two quotes from Da Nerd's previous post:

"Cougars generally begin feeding on the viscera (liver, heart, lungs, etc.) through the abdomen or thorax but like other carnivores, individuals differ."

"Cougars frequently try to cover their kills with soil, vegetation (leaves, grass, limbs) or snow. They may eviscerate prey and cover the viscera separately from the rest of the carcass. Even where little debris is available, bits of soil, rock, grass or sticks may be found on the carcass. However, where multiple kills are made at one time, there may be no effort to cover more than one or two of them."

How is it this "could not" be a cat? It seems pretty consistent, IMHO.

January 03, 2005, 18:20
Hell, why don't you get a bunch of your friends together, dress up in the sheep skins, and go sit in the field with the flock where the butching occured?

Or, you could ask a guy you really don't like and ask HIM to go sit all dressed up in the field while you sit in a tree stand.

January 03, 2005, 19:26
I never said "could not be." That would be stupid when you are dealing with wildlife...there are simply too many variables. My questions are based on several things:
1. They live around me (the nearest cache occurring 150 yards behind my house) and I've dealt with predators tearing up sheep calls for 25 years and the scene described sounds like dogs or a bear.
2. Lions kill with neck shots-usually posterior. Bobcats anterior.
3. Flanks injuries on survivors are common and obvious.
4. Lions usually do not consume the kill on scene but rather drag it off to an area of seclusion and cover it with a bunch of debris...up to a foot. They tend to gather this debris from a large(3-4') area all around the carcass. This too, is quiet obvious. Debris gathered from a smaller perimeter(1') around the carcass
is indicative of a bobcat. Bobcat do kill sheep...look for throat bites and needle like tooth punctures in contrast to larger diameter tooth holes from the cougar.
5. A lion has a tremendously large home range area. To wait for a lion to come back to a certain spot might be quite futile. Again, assuming that the critter is healthy.
6. While some cats will consume some organs, the first common areas of feeding are at the throat kill site, the back strap and flank area. Other portions might be consumed at a later date but some cats will actually bury the guts.

Once again, I'm not saying it can't be. I'm asking why the conclusion of a cougar doing this was reached. The answer might be "BECAUSE I SAW IT KILL THE SHEEP". That is possible. I'm just saying that it doesn't sound like a typical cat kill scene...from my own experience and training.

January 04, 2005, 20:33
Like was stated above Cat tracks don't show claws, also the scat-Shit - is what I call it , not have a lot of leaves and debris like Coyote shit. Also the turds will tend to taper more pointy like, than coyote. A mature cougar print will be very large relative to a coyote, feral dog.

You'll probably never see one.

Increased Human activity and odd noises at all hours will drive em elsewhere.

You can rig remote, timed firecrackers to blow in the wee hours and such disturbances will send em to easier pickins.

I know they can be had, by a man alone, but most men who know how to use a computer, vibrate too much to be still.

For Airfare there, and grub I'll come help.:) :tongue:

I have a standin offer to go do the same thing in Lincoln Co. NM, where that murdering punk Billy the Kid did his back shootin. Free rent , horses,grub and Mex women, whole set, fine country. Too many texans and Apaches.

You can trust an Apache, to be true to his Nature, Texans you gotta figure one at a time, Mexicans will kill you for your Timex.

This is out in the country, in town rules go by the wayside. My friend, Mex -American looses about $8,000 to Cats and Coyote. :|

Da Nerd
January 04, 2005, 23:20
The loses of livestock by cats, bears, coyotes is the price you pay for doing business in their country. Get used to it,, cause they will collect the rent.

January 21, 2005, 05:00
The loses of livestock by cats, bears, coyotes is the price you pay for doing business in their country. Get used to it,, cause they will collect the rent.

Ditto on that. Its part of the program.

Da Nerd
January 24, 2005, 05:38
Well no updates or sightings........my guess if this cat is gonna die,,,it is gonna be of OLD AGE.!!:biggrin:

Da Nerd
January 30, 2005, 03:20
Hell, you dont need no stinking gun..
just take this mule along..

February 20, 2005, 01:15
Originally posted by Da Nerd
The loses of livestock by cats, bears, coyotes is the price you pay for doing business in their country. Get used to it,, cause they will collect the rent.

As the dominant predator, I just got a refund.

Da Nerd
February 20, 2005, 23:23
Picture,, we want PICTURES

February 21, 2005, 12:01
Yes pictures.

If someone can get action photos of a mule kill'n a cat, then you need to post your kill.

Were you stalking the cat, what time of day was the kill, how about the size of the cat? Need some more details, 14 sheep, ouch.