Rugged mountains at sunrise.
Text: The editorial voice of the Mountain Lion Foundation.


Myth Busters: Why Hunting Lions with Hounds isn't Necessarily Better

Hound hunters are always bring up the "selectivity" option when touting the merits of using hounds to hunt mountain lions. They claim that the use of hounds COULD reduce the number of females killed and, subsequently the number of kittens orphaned because unlike "boot" hunters "they" have the ability to observe the animals from close up and of course will only kill those that would be considered to be "trophy toms."

As noted by MLF in an earlier blog (Exposing the "Selectivity" Myth of Hound-Hunting Lions) the claim of selectivity rarely holds up in real world conditions where most hunters don't care what they kill and many guides can't determine the age or sex of the creature that has been treed.
Photo of mountain lion in forest tree with snow.
Such was the case in Montana a few weeks back when a young lion hunter shot and killed a treed female mountain lion. It's not noted as to whether or not he knew the sex of the animal or if that even was taken into consideration before he shot it, but in this particular case, Americans lost even more than usual when this precious natural resource was killed to satisfy the desires of a single individual.

Not only did the dead lion turn out to be a female—which most state game agencies ask hound hunters not to kill—it also was part of an important study and wearing a large radio collar around its neck.

Usually it's the young males that wander far from home to establish their own territories and mate. Most female lions establish theirs close, and sometimes even overlapping, those of their mothers. That is why the reestablishment of the species east of the Rockies is taking so long: no females to establish "breeding" pairs.

Apparently this female lion was one of the few that do travel far distances to mate and establish colonies. According to the data provided by her collar, she had traveled at least 425 miles from where she was originally collared in the Black Hills of South Dakota before being treed and killed for someone's afternoon fun.

Not only was this death more proof that the claims of hound hunters are just bombast; this death wiped out the genetic values this intrepid female would have brought to the lions of Montana.

In the end a tragedy for all Americans and just one more piece of our precious natural resources wasted to satisfy a selfish few.