Mt Lions in Virginia

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Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby lrrowe » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:41 am

There is a reported Mt Lion attack here in Virginia recently. My son asked me if I believed the story and I said yes. I am convinced that I personally have two sightings just south of the location in the link below. One in the GWNF and the other in a rural setting. I am convinced our government agencies are not acknowledging their existence here because of a whole laundry list of reason that mean more headaches and work for them (google this this comment for further explanation).

http://www.whsv.com/content/news/Mounta ... 46261.html
Last edited by lrrowe on Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bob

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Re: Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby slowcowboy » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:37 pm

we get them in Wyoming even in towns if the deer population gets to thick they follow the deer into the resdintal areas. slow
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Re: Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby jstrubberg » Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:43 pm

We've been through the same thing here in Missouri. First, you will be told there are no mountain lions in Virginia. Then, you will be told there are no free-ranging mountain lions in Virginia. Next, you will hear there is no native population of mountain lions in Virginia. Last, they will finally admit there are, in fact, mountain lions in Virginia.

Citizens could care less if a predator species is native, free ranging or released by some bonehead who thought the cub would make a cute pet. All we care about is that the darn thing is out there!
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Re: Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby lrrowe » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:14 pm

What I have been reading is that the authorities do not want to acknowledge that they are here because that opens up a whole new set of responsibilities related to controls that they will have to set up. But by not acknowledging that they are here, they can get away with "doing nothing". It does not concern me as a user of the forests, but when it comes to the dwindling herds of deer in the National Forests (right now the deer are enjoying the "buffets" in backyards), if the Mt. Lions are contributing to this trend, then I am concerned.
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Re: Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby tony.latham » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:39 pm

But by not acknowledging that they are here, they can get away with "doing nothing".


Bob:

I live in the middle of Idaho. It's what one could call a high-density population of lions if there is such a thing.

If you look at what Idaho F&G and Montana FWP (and the other western states) do as far as management goes it's this: They attempt to monitor populations based on harvest and deal with the occasional problem lion by killing them. There's not much to managing mountain lions other than preventing the over-harvest of females so I don't know what your state agency is trying to avoid. (They taste like pork by the way.)

Assuming you've got lions, I'd guess your a long way from having a season. :thinking:

Here's a pic I took in 2012 of where a lion took a cat nap.

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Tony :beer:
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Re: Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby lrrowe » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:35 pm

Tony,
This exert from a blog about 7 years ago pretty much summaries what I was referring to:

".......This brings us to the second question that I posed earlier, which was why government agencies deny that these thousands of sightings have taken place. In large part, it's the fact that the eastern cougar is still on the federal endangered species list. If DGIF (or any other state's wildlife agency) officially agrees that there are eastern cougars running around, then suddenly they have a whole host of obligations. Conservation groups would descend on them, demanding efforts to nurture and protect this animal and it's habitat. They'd have to pay for studies and find the funds and the strategy for protecting the habitat. Private land owners might suddenly face development restrictions on what they can do with their own land.

Meanwhile, there'd be a whole other backlash from people concerned about the eventual consequences of living with a very large predator that can and does eat human beings on occasion. One group of hunters would be asking to hunt them right away while another group would be asking that they be protected and nurtured in order to produce a large enough population to hunt in small numbers indefinitely.

In a nutshell, officially admitting that there are wild cougars in Virginia invites a political mess that none of these people really wants to deal with. Can you really blame them? So in response to sighting after sighting and article after article, DGIF and other agencies give the same old 'swamp gas and weather balloons' routine, as if we were talking about unicorns or velociraptors hiding out in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Their potential 'out' when some hunter finally shoots one and forces the issue into everyone's lap is the fact that, as I have explained here, odds are that these are not in fact eastern cougars at all but rather exotic pet trade hybrids. Hybrids which have no official status in wildlife regulations and are not considered endangered animals.

At that point, DGIF will almost certainly attempt to calm everyone down by pointing out that these are the product of escaped pets. This is what other states have done in the same situation. That takes care of the legal protection issue, but as for the rest it changes nothing. In terms of either safety or a desire to restore the old ecology of Virginia with a large, top level carnivorous cat, who the heck cares what subspecies it is? The worst part is that people usually swallow this kind of crap. And certainly DGIF will say that we have no reason to think that the escaped animals are breeding, so they don't really count, etc. But you'd have to be a complete idiot to think that there is any reason why these cats wouldn't be doing what comes naturally and breeding in the wild....."

Whether the points are true or not for now can best be described as opinions. But my beliefs run along this line.
Bob

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Re: Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby tony.latham » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:03 pm

Bob:

I didn't even realize the Eastern had been recognized as a separate species. In Googling, it looks like the USFWS declared them extinct and removed them from the Endangered Species List last year. So I suppose it'd open a deep can of worms if they still existed.

We live with a fistful of listed species here, mostly fish (but wolves and grizzlies too). It generally moves the management to the feds. Fortunately, they all are listed as threatened (and not endangered) and so it's a live-able situation. Private landowners aren't affected too much (by threatened species), but the USFS and the BLM have to dance to a different drummer.

Tony

p.s. I hope you've got 'em! The woods are too tame without fangs.
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Re: Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby lrrowe » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:53 am

The fangs I worry about here are in bodies that slither.
Bob

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Re: Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby tony.latham » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:18 am

lrrowe wrote:The fangs I worry about here are in bodies that slither.


Me too! :shock:

I hope you have a good summer with many good camps. ;) :thumbsup:

Tony
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Re: Mt Lions in Virginia

Postby lrrowe » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:43 pm

Thank you and you too have a good summer. I start my excursions in a few weeks.
Bob

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