A Washington sportsman who sees a cougar while hunting other big-game animals this fall cannot shoot the lion unless he has a cougar tag in possession.
This is the first full season in which the use of hounds is prohibited in hunting cougars. In response to last year’s initiative vote, which also banned the use of bait for bears or cougars, state officials dropped cougars from controlled-hunt restrictions. Instead, a 7-1/2-month long general cougar season was set.
Any licensed hunter can buy a cougar tag. The cost is $24 for residents; $360 non-residents.
Predator calls can bring cougars into gun range, officials said. Bowhunters who sit on stands are reporting increasing numbers of encounters with lions.
Washington’s cougar hunting season is Aug. 1-March 15.
“Cougar populations are expanding, and increased nuisance activity is becoming problematic in some areas of the state,” the department said. “The passing of Initiative 655 will lead to a significant decrease in the cougar harvest. Liberalized seasons are proposed to provide some level for opportunistic harvest of cougar.”