Cougars Alive and Well in Louisiana

by ERIC S. STACY
(KENNER, LOUISIANA)

Around 1998 while bowhunting whitetail deer on a public Wildlife Management Area, namely Red River WMA located in central Louisiana I spotted an approximately 100+ lb male cougar. At first I thought this was a doe sneaking along the tree line toward the tree opening I was hunting over.

I was up in a climbing stand about 30 feet off the ground at the time. When I saw the animal was going to exit the brush into the open area I was hunting over, I brought the bow back to a full draw in anticipation. Well to my surprise, out steps an animal that was most definitely not a deer. It was what appeared to be a mature male cougar. His color was similar to that of a deer.

Mostly tan mixed with a little lighter and darker markings. He had a long tail nearly dragging the ground. He was only about 25 yards away and below me at the time so there was no mistaking it was in fact a cougar. To my surprise, he walked out into the opening in the woods being warmed by the morning sun and decided to come to a stop. I was amazed and honored to watch him lay down on the ground relaxing and licking his paws and body. He had no clue I was only 25 yards away observing him from overhead. This went on for nearly 30 minutes.

By this time, I was hoping he would walk off so I could get back to my hunt. So I took the initiative and pulled out my fawn in distress bleat. Mistake ! When I blew on the bleat, he jumped to a sitting position looking into the woods. The only thing moving at this point on that animal was his eyes.

He did a slow pan of the woods back and forth directly under my stand. He never thought to look up. This went on for another 20 minutes before he finally lost interest, dropped his head and turned and walked off into the woods.

This was a once in a lifetime experience (especially in Louisiana) and I enjoyed every second I got to spend with such a magnificent creature.

Cougars are alive and well in Louisiana.

Eric Stacy

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Cougars Alive and Well in Louisiana

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Feb 07, 2012 What is sad! NEW
by: Eric Stacy

The real thing that is sad is that I thought I was writing a story about the majestic beauty of the cougar in the wild. Instead of the readers enjoying my story, they have turned it in to a blog on killing deer and the rediculous stories of suffering by these “Many” animals laying by a quiet stream. What a load of crap. Get a life. Hunting is and will always be a way of life and a needed function. I am sorry I thought the readers would be interested in a true story of the cougars existence in the wild where technically he shouldn’t. If this string can be deleted, do so. I am sorry I thought there were cat people here instead of Peta idiots. I will unsubscribe from this site after this post.


Feb 07, 2012 Sad NEW
by: Michael

It is sad. The whole mess is sad. Humans are good at creating mess. The trouble is they are so arrogant they don’t see the mess.

Hunting of anything should be banned for ever. We have moved on.

Why can’t people realise that they cause pain when they shoot at animals for their pleasure?


Feb 05, 2012 sad sad sad NEW
by: Sad

To me the poem says countless deer die in agony from the wounds inflicted on them by hunters who don’t kill them outright.
That they have a peaceful place to die in with water to quench the raging thirst of their fevered wounded bodies doesn’t make it right!
What do the hunters do?
Aim for another deer until they manage to kill one,then go home satisfied with their trophy,leaving the wounded ones to their fate?
Seems so to me.
Yes it has to be an accepted part of life and death to those creatures because they have no choice but to accept their death either outright or slowly and agonisingly.
Where as the hunter has a choice whether to hunt or not!


Feb 03, 2012 Grest post NEW
by: Michael

I think Eric’s posting is a very interesting one because it raises a lot of deep seated questions which have no clear answers.

The last comment is beautiful. It seems to say that people should not hunt deer. But it also seems to say that hunting deer is part of life and death.

For me, and this is a personal view, people should no longer hunt anything. We are beyond that phase in human development. Most of us are – some are not.

The human needs to look inward more at himself for answers to problems such as deer population growth as described by Eric.

What about human population growth? This outstrips the growth of all other animals on the planet and it affects all other animals on the planet in a very negative way. It goes to the root of many current problems yet no one discusses it never mind tackles it.

Eric saw a cougar in a state where it was supposed to have been shot at enough times to have killed it off in that state or pushed out by human settlement or run over by four wheel drive SUVs.

That fact raises a ton of questions. Eric likes the cougar. It is a beautiful cat, a majestic and quite shy or reserved cat. Why can’t we live in harmony with a cat that in general we admire and like?

The cougar is not a danger to people provided people act responsibly. Why therefore shoot at it? Too many guns in the USA. Got a gun? Need to shoot it.

The more you look at these questions the more you see a kind of madness and it is the human who is the mad one.

That is my personal view and I respect the views of others.


Feb 03, 2012 poignant NEW
by: Let them live

THE DEER LAY DOWN THEIR BONES
by
Robinson Jeffers

I followed the narrow cliffside trail half way up the mountain
Above the deep river-canyon.
There was a little cataract crossed the path, flinging itself
Over tree roots and rocks, shaking the jeweled fern-frond, bright bubbling water
Pure from the mountain, but a bad smell came up.
Wondering at it I clambered down the steep stream
Some forty feet, and found in the midst of bush-oak and laurel
Hung like a bird’s nest on the precipice brink a small hidden clearing,
Grass and a shallow pool. But all about there were bones
Lying in the grass, clean bones and stinking bones,
Antlers and bones; I understood that the place was a refuge for wounded deer; there are so many
Hurt ones escape the hunters and limp away to lie hidden; here they have water for the awful thirst
And peace to die in; dense green laurel and grim cliff
Make sanctuary, and a sweet wind blows upward from the deep gorge…


Feb 02, 2012 Michael NEW
by: Eric Stacy

Thanks


Feb 02, 2012 Comments NEW
by: Michael

Hi Eric, I am sympathetic to your comment. But the good people who regularly visit this site are passionate about cats and their welfare. So these topics come up or gradually develop in threads of comments.

I hope you can accept that.


Feb 01, 2012 I am confused NEW
by: Anonymous

My story was written as a testimony to the presence of cougar in Louisiana. And also the honor of witnessing their beauty in the wild. It had nothing to do with the correctness of hunting or not hunting, eating meat or not eating meat. I think some of the people reading this have gotten side tracked from it’s purpose. Cats !


Feb 01, 2012 Religion? hah NEW
by: Atheist

What a cop out,people are supposed to eat meat because other animals do.
Yes other animals do because they need to,we don’t!
I thought we were supposed to be “superior” to other living creatures?
Able to think and reason?
How very “superior” killing animals and eating their dead flesh.
I thought it was do as you would be done by and your body was supposed to be a temple,not a graveyard!
If that’s religion I’m mighty pleased I’m an atheist and a fit and healthy vegan to boot.


Jan 31, 2012 Thanks Eric NEW
by: Michael

Thanks Eric for a good response.

Of course it is probably worth saying that a major reason why deer are a problem is because the human population of the USA is growing and settlements inhabit the deer’s range as Ruth notes.

I don’t think there is an absolute need to hunt deer. It is just that they have become a nuisance because there are a lot more people. I guess to the deer people are a nuisance.

It seems that the cougar is around in Louisiana but in small numbers. That seems to be what you are hinting at. At one time the cougar occupied all of the United States but was pushed back to the western states by human population and settlement.

As the cougar is present in your state it is interesting. There are reports of this cat also being present in the north east.


Jan 31, 2012 Deer hunting is a sad necessity NEW
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

I could never hunt, but I’m glad there are people like Eric who can go out and do it to keep the deer population down and the roads safer. At the same time, I think our urban sprawl needs to stop. The reason the deer are in the roadways, in many areas, is that in the last 20 years we have completely decimated their habitat with ugly condos.

The venison does feed people though– often poor people. I’m troubled by the the horrible situation on large corporate farms today, with animals living in horrific, crowded conditions before they are slaughtered. I’d rather eat meat from a deer who had a normal life as a deer and died from Eric’s arrow than meat from animals who suffered all their lives as chickens and pigs often do before they are slaughtered. I don’t believe humans are required to be vegetarians, because other animals eat meat, so to be carnivorous seems to be a natural part of this world we live in. Americans eat too much meat though, so many animals do die just to make us more obese, which is really stupid.

But if we decide to eat some meat, hunting is a lot more natural and humane way to get it than through the confinement, filth and horror farm animals often endure today. I’m much more concerned about improving conditions of animals raised for food than about stopping hunting, especially since hunting is regulated and controlling the deer population saves human lives on our roadways. In a perfect world there would be no death or suffering, but we don’t live in that world.

However, I wish all deer hunting could be confined to bow hunting rather than gun. The bow hunters are a lot more responsible, in general. A lot fewer of them get themselves or their buddies killed out there. When I was in high school I had a job cleaning rooms at a motel during gun deer hunting season and the amount of liquor in those rooms, right next to high powered weapons– wow. Great combination. And then there all the people who die because they are physically unfit and suddenly they have to drag a deer out of the woods through the snow and they have a heart attack. So though the deer hunt is in place to ultimately save human lives on the highways, there is certainly a toll in human life every hunting season. We don’t live in a perfect world.


Jan 31, 2012 A few comments on my story. NEW
by: Eric Stacy

First in response to the reply about the story being sad because I was hunting. The harvest of Whitetail deer in the USA is not only recommended, it absolutely required and needed. The population of deer in the US has grown from approximately 300,000 in 1930 to over 30,000,000 currently. An uncontrolled population will not only eat itself into starvation but the economic effect on the farmers in the US is massive. Not to mention the highway death toll from the deer that have eaten most of the forest vegetation and now moved to the edges of the highways. That being said, the cougar is one of the very few animals that can naturally aid in this control. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough and the few that live in our area most likely only feed on the sick or injured animals. So harvesting (Hunting) is needed.

Second in reply to my thoughts on the population of cougars. It has been said for a long time that the cougar either never existed in Louisiana or if they did, there are so few that they were never seen. This is partially true. I believe there was always a limited amount of cougar and bear here but never enough to recognize as a population constituting a recognized local species. I, having hunted for nearly 4 decades have only seen the 1 cougar and 1 bear. However, I know of many other friends that have seen the same. With the advent of the trail camera on a tree, we are now seeing and recording many more night time sightings. Eventually, they will have to be recognized as a local species with ,although limited, a reasonable population. So yes they are alive and well. Just very secretive. And I am happy to be of the few that have had the experience to see and enjoy their presence.
Eric Stacy


Jan 31, 2012 Conflict NEW
by: Michael

I too have a misgiving with the fact that you were out to hunt deer with a bow and arrow and yet watched in awe at a cougar.

I agree with the anonymous post of Jan 31, 2012.

I don’t think we can pick and choose when it comes to animal conservation and protection.

We are either in favour of living in harmony with all other animals or we are in the other camp.

That is just my viewpoint. I appreciate very much Ruth’s useful comment. It gives a nice insight into life in the USA, very different to life in urban UK.


Jan 31, 2012 Well written NEW
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

You wrote about your experience so descriptively that I felt like I was there with you, seeing what you saw. I really enjoyed reading your post, so I had to read it again this morning.

I believe you, Eric, when you say you saw a cougar– even though officially there aren’t any in your area. Others have seen big cats and posted to this site about the experience, even though they were told by officials that there aren’t any big cats in their state either. Once we had a bear in Milwaukee, WI and you sure wouldn’t expect that, so who knows what can happen? At least they humanely returned the bear to “up north” and didn’t kill him. If it had been a big cat I suspect they might have killed him instead.

Can a cougar bring down a deer? It would be good if the deer had some natural predators again. I’m more afraid of hitting a deer with my car than I would be of encountering a cougar or other big cat. I think the cats pretty much leave human beings alone if we don’t bother them. But people are so afraid of them– they’d probably want to shoot the cougar, when in truth an overpopulation of deer near a highway is a lot more deadly, and much more a threat to lot more people.

More people are harmed by deer every year than by any other animal we keep in captivity. There’s a deer park in my hometown, where they advertise you can “feed and pet the deer.” I went there as a kid, but I wouldn’t go there again. Deer are a big animal, easily spooked, with sharp hooves. If startled they can jump and clip you in the head with those hooves. I once saw a video of this happening and the person was seriously injured. Even though the park doesn’t let you around the ones with antlers I still think the whole thing is remarkably dangerous. I’m not advocating “feed and pet the cougar” as an alternative, but I’m saying people are messed up in what they fear and therefore wish to destroy, but then they’ll put themselves in a lot more danger without a second thought.

I like that you appreciated the cougar’s beauty instead of reacting with fear. Except after you foolishly blew your deer call whistle. You must have been pooping bricks after that, ha, ha. Luckily, the cougar didn’t expect to see a deer up in a tree, so he never saw you.


Jan 31, 2012 extremely sad NEW
by: Anonymous

I don’t understand how anyone can watch and admire one species of animal after setting out to hunt and kill another, especially a deer by imitating a fawn in distress.

I find this page extremely sad.


Jan 31, 2012 Population NEW
by: Michael

Hi Eric, thanks for sharing. Nice post. I guess you know that officially according to the IUCN Red List (and they should know) there are no cougars in Louisiana.

I like to hear your views on what you think the population of the puma is in Louisiana.

Perhaps you might find time to make a comment on that.



Comments

Cougars Alive and Well in Louisiana — 2 Comments

  1. You guys must of never been spotlighting before……We try to see who can shoot the legs off of them rather than go for a body shot……We leave them there……Some live for days……Hard to beleive but I swear by it…….Tough little suckers!!

    • If what you say is true and if I could get away with it, I would do exactly the same thing to you. And I would have no qualms whatsoever about doing it.

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