Cougar kills are below target

I see from your article about the Cougar Management Plan that the state has killed 21 cougars in Jackson County over the past two-plus winters as part of some study. Isn't that enough dead cougars to figure out whether killing them reduces conflicts?

— Steph F., via e-mail

The study, which is being conducted through Oregon's three-year-old Cougar Management Plan, includes a 1,000-square-mile area of Jackson County as one of three study areas.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has hired a federal Wildlife Services agent to trap and kill the cougars for the study.

The study calls for an "annual objective" of 24 cougars killed for the study here, but the most killed in any one year has been eight so far this winter, according to ODFW statistics.

Only one study unit, the East Beulah Target Area in northeastern Oregon, has reached its target. That unit's target of 12 dead cougars was reached in the winter of 2007-08, statistics show. Through Feb. 25, 11 cougars were killed in that study area so far this year, ODFW statistics show.

The Heppner Target Area, also in eastern Oregon, has a target of 30 dead cougars. The most killed for the study there was 22 last winter.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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