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MOUNTAIN LIONS IN THE STATE OF OREGON

Oregon still allows trapping on much of its public lands.

In 1994, Oregon voters approved Measure 18, which banned the use of hounds to hunt cougars. Immediately, hunting-related cougar mortalities declined dramatically statewide (22 in 1995).

In response ODFW lengthened the hunting season to year-round in some regions, significantly reduced the cost of a cougar hunting tag for Oregon residents, increased annual hunting quotas, increased the bag limit, and issued an unlimited number of hunting tags. More than 43,000 tags were sold in 2009. As a result, sport-hunting related cougar mortalities have increased to record highs despite the ban on using hounds.

    USE THE TABS TO THE LEFT TO EXPLORE:
  • Return to the portal page for Oregon.

  • The status of puma concolor in Oregon.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Oregon.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Oregon.

  • Cougar science and research in Oregon.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

SUMMARY: Cougars in the State of Oregon

For more detail you can explore using the links below.

The status of puma concolor.

In 1994, Oregon voters approved Measure 18, which banned the use of hounds to hunt cougars. Immediately, hunting-related cougar mortalities declined dramatically statewide (22 in 1995). In response ODFW lengthened the hunting season to year-round in some regions, significantly reduced the cost of a cougar hunting tag for Oregon residents, increased annual hunting quotas, increased the bag limit, and issued an unlimited number of hunting tags. More than 43,000 tags were sold in 2009. As a result, sport-hunting related cougar mortalities have increased to record highs despite the ban on using hounds.

Click here to learn more about status

Mountain lion law in Oregon.

On this tab you will find all the governing state statutes, mountain lion legal status, state laws, information about the state legislature, initiative and referendum processes, and the state wildlife agency, mountain lion management plans, mountain lion hunting laws, depredation laws, and other regulations as appropriate.

Click here to learn more about law

The history of lions in the state.

Similar to many other states, as European settlers became more abundant, mountain lions declined. Settlers considered mountain lions a danger and competitors for native game, such as deer and elk. Predator control was heavily administered on mountain lions, wolves, and grizzlies bears. A state bounty was called on mountain lions from 1843 to 1961, drastically reducing the lion population in Oregon almost to the point of extirpation. Mountain lions were classified as a game animal in 1967 and have been heavily hunted over the last 50 years.

Click here to learn more about history

Lion habitat in Oregon.

Approximately half of Oregon state is considered cougar habitat. The adaptable felines are able to survive in much of the state's forested regions. Keep in mind that although cougars are physically capable of living in these places (based on geographical, vegetative and prey species characteristics), it does not mean they necessarily do. Fragmentation, sport hunting practices, and intolerant communities can wipe out cougars from any area. For more information about where cougar populations actually live, check out our Science tab.

Click here to learn more about habitat

The science of lions in the state.

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.

Click here to learn more about science

Take action for lions.

Mountain Lions in Oregon are losing their habitat to human development resulting in increased stress, competition, and human/lion contact. Oregon allows year-round hunting for mountain lions and the entire state is open. Only spotten kittens and mothers with spotted kittens present are protected from hunting.

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