One of the major reasons cougar sightings have increased recently is the dramatic decline in the province’s deer population, their traditional prey.
Contrary to the pathetic posturing of fish and wildlife staff and organized hunters the ungulate populations in our province are in serious trouble. Although there are a number of reasons the most prominent and egregious is liberalized hunting.
The increase in deer populations in urban settings should have been a red flag.
The dramatic increase in roads, quad bikes, long hunting seasons and predators has resulted in deer seeking sanctuary from a grim future on their traditional range.
I have hunted the cougar 40 years and this past winter I found few cougar tracks and some were mighty close to human habitation.
Like the deer the cougar wants to survive and because little is left of his traditional food source the urban deer sanctuary increasingly is his hunting ground.
Corruption is pervasive in wildlife management, a point made by the subsequent reporting of a cougar mauling of a young boy at the Pacific Rim National Park August 2011. The Global reporter described the event, then said that Vancouver Island had the largest cougar population in North America. Excuse me -- that was old news when I started cougar hunting in 1972 and no longer true if it ever was!
-- submitted by Barry Brandow