Despite ample habitat and a viable cougar population, there are only a few research projects going on in the state. Most research projects in Oregon have focused on population dynamics, habitat mapping, and/or cougar diet. There is far more research being conducted on game species, such as deer and elk. Since cougars prey on these species, there is some information available on those relationships, but there are far fewer projects that focus on cougars themselves.
Research conducted by Gregory Davidson, Darren Clark, Bruce Johnson, Lisette Waits, and Jennifer Adams focused on developing new methods for estimating cougar densities by using scat detection dogs. Cougars are notoriously cryptic and elusive, making censusing or even surveying cougar populations is extremely difficult. In order to manage hunting appropriately, it is important for wildlife officials to monitor and understand their population dynamics. Developing this technique allows wildlife managers to more closely and efficiently monitor important wildlife populations, such as Oregon's cougars.
Other research, conducted by George Keister and Walter Van Dyke, addressed cougar population dynamics. In the early to mid 1900s, excessive hunting drove cougar numbers in Oregon into decline. In order to better manage hunts, managers need better tools for assessing population trends. Since direct measures of cougar populations are unavailable, these researchers used indirect indicators of population trends, such as harvest levels, damage complaints, and data obtained from harvested cougars, to evaluate their status in Oregon. Their model could be used to predict population dynamics in Oregon, as well as in other states.
A few different research projects conducted by Chris Maser, Ronald Rohweder, and Dale Toweill addressed cougar diet preferences in Oregon. Researchers used prey remains found in harvested cougar intestines and stomachs to determine what cougars were eating. They found that the majority of cougar diet consisted of Black-tailed deer.