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New Mexico Cougar status in a human dominated landscape Basics Cougar Season: Oct. 1- Mar. 31 Year around on private lands and BHS areas Bag is 1 adult, 2 on BHS areas, and special mgmt. areas Avg. harvest is +/- 200 animals

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New mexico l.jpg

New Mexico

Cougar status in a human dominated landscape


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Basics

  • Cougar Season: Oct. 1- Mar. 31

  • Year around on private lands and BHS areas

  • Bag is 1 adult, 2 on BHS areas, and special mgmt. areas

  • Avg. harvest is +/- 200 animals

  • Avg. harvest increases with time, non-resident harvest increases with time

  • Hound use is allowed and accounts for 90% of harvest

  • Long term avg. of 40% female in harvest



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Management History

  • 1867: $5.00 bounty

  • 1923-70: Bounty suspended, cougar unprotected.

  • 1971: Protected, hunting in SW Only, bag 1

  • 1972-1978: Seasons increasingly liberal

  • 1979-83: 11 month season, bag 2.

  • 1984: 3 month season, bag 1.

  • 1985-99: 4 month season, bag 1

  • 2001-2002: 6 month season, year around season in BHS areas, bag 1

  • 2002-2007: Year long in BHS areas, bag 2, year around season on private property

  • 2007-… : Dual harvest limit, sport and total sustainable mortality, population model and management driven


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Management Concerns

  • Total mortality

  • Sustainable mortality (depredations, BHS removals, roadkill, private land harvest, preventative control, etc.)

  • Sport harvest (private land harvest not included in sport harvest)

  • Management objectives by region (BHS, wild ungulate protection, livestock depredation issues, etc.)

  • Female harvest, particularly older females


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How to Fix it?

  • Create a new habitat model

  • Try and include all variables

  • Do the math and see what you get

  • Does it make sense?

  • If it makes sense try to apply it for some period of time

  • And you get…


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Model Habitat Components

  • Super Core = > 2200 k² w/good prey density in large patches w/low road density (sources)

  • Core = 2200-1000 k² patches w/low road density (sources and dispersal)

  • Minimum patch = 100-1000 k² patches (dispersal and minimal sources)

  • Dispersal = 10-100 k² patches (dispersal only)


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Faults with Model

  • Based on density estimates

  • Based on assumptions of prey usage (density estimates)

  • Based on assumptions of how much habitat a given cat uses (density estimates)

  • Based on what a cat would do given the choice of what to do if it does what we assume it would do if we were it…


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Current Research & Needs

  • Female removal = no resident males

  • Habitat use and connectivity

  • Genetic linkages

  • Prey switching and/or subsidized predation

  • Source/sink dynamics ($, grad student, ??)

  • And yet again, how do you count freakin’ lions?


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