Cougar Season Quota Nearly Reached

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The Columbia Basin cougar hunt zone in north-central Oregon is approaching the harvest quota and may close early to cougar hunting, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

The Columbia Basin cougar hunt zone, also called Zone D, has a 2004 quota of 18 cougars. As of Nov. 12, 15 cougars from Zone D had been checked in at ODFW offices. Most cougars are harvested during deer or elk hunting seasons.

No other 2004 cougar hunt zones are near their harvest quota at this time. If the Columbia Basin cougar zone closes, hunters with an unfilled general season cougar tag may hunt in any of the other five cougar zones in the state.

The total statewide allowed cougar sport harvest for 2004 is 562 cougars. As of Nov. 12, hunters have taken 190 cougars statewide. The statewide quota for the 2005 cougar season has been set at 579.

The 2005 general cougar season begins in all six zones Jan. 1, 2005, for those hunters with a 2005 cougar tag and a 2005 hunting license. Cougars harvested after Jan. 1, 2005, will apply to the new quotas for the respective zones.

The cougar quota system was adopted by ODFW to more evenly distribute cougar harvest throughout the state. Quota levels are set to manage cougar population levels and appropriately distribute hunters.

Hunters can find out whether the season is open in other zones by calling a local ODFW office, calling the general information line at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6001, or visiting

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/ODFWhtml/Regulations/2004_reg_changes.htm#biggame and scrolling down to the cougar quota information.

More information about Oregon’s cougar season can be found on pages 46-48 in the 2004 Oregon Big Game Regulations.