Cougars are an Oregon success story. After being nearly eliminated by the mid-1960s, today they have a healthy population. The current cougar population in Oregon is estimated to be more than 5,700.
As both the cougar and human populations have grown, so have the number of conflicts and damage complaints. This management plan is designed to address the conflicts between the growing numbers of cougars and humans.
This plan establishes a minimum desirable cougar population of at least 3,000. It does not set a targeted cougar population level or a ceiling. The number of cougars in Oregon may exceed 3,000 as they do today, but the draft plan calls for managing no fewer than 3,000 cougars.
ODFW works within the framework of the law. Oregonians have twice said through initiative petition that hounds may not be used to hunt cougars, and the Legislature and Governor have agreed with that stance. This plan abides by that determination.
However, existing law does allow federal and state employees to use the full range of management tools, including hounds and snares but not including poison, to deal with cougars that are causing human, pet or livestock conflicts. ODFW will continue to respond to safety and damage complaints. Problem cougars that pose a risk to humans, pets or livestock will be humanely euthanized.
This plan follows the same prescription as other management plans by incorporating specific actions to deal with conflict while maintaining recreational – hunting and viewing – opportunities.
As is the case with all similar wildlife management plans, the costs of cougar management are funded by the sales of hunting licenses and tags.
The Cougar Management Plan (pdf)
Oregon is cougar country: Tips on living safely with cougars