Cougar population is in decline. I wonder where the hunt for them is still possible in the US? Also what are the specific regulations for the hunt (especially in regards to the endangerment of the species)? Asking for facts including without limitation for example seasons, open gender, amount per hunter/state etc.

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    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 19:20

2 Answers 2


The Arizona Game and Fish Department shows a mountain lion hunting season from August through May.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature gives the puma conservation status as Least Concern.


Mountain lion hunting is legal in the western parts of the United States, with the exception of California.

Regarding licenses and quotas, there are three types,

  • Tags, with limited numbers availiable.
  • Over the counter licenses with quotas.
  • Unprotected, no license necessary.

The taking of large males is prioritized by both hunters and the wildlife departments and as far as I know kittens or females with kittens are protected.

As far as methods go it can be split between hunting with dogs and without, dogs make it much easier to track them and to identify the gender of the lion once it is treed. Sometimes states allow one method but not the other or will split them into different seasons.

As far a whether the numbers are declining it is true that hunters nearly wiped them out at during the early past of the last century, but now populations of mountain lions are spreading back out.

St. Louis - Cougars are again spreading across the Midwest, including in Wisconsin, a century after the generally reclusive predators were hunted to near extinction in much of the region, according to a new study billed as the first rigorous statistical look at the issue.

Study finds increasing number of cougars in Midwest

"While the distance the Connecticut cougar traveled was rare, we found that cougars are roaming long distances and are moving back into portions of their historical range across the Midwest," LaRue said. The study confirmed the presence of cougars from Texas, Arkansas and Nebraska to the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.

American Mountain Lions May be Staging Comeback

John Kanta, a South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks biologist, said the department thinks the big cats returned to the Black Hills, 8,426 square miles of rugged mountains in western South Dakota, in the 1950s.

About 25 years ago that population began to expand so much that young mountain lions began spreading in all directions. Kanta said most wandered westward, toward good habitat in the Bighorn Mountains and other steep ranges. Some struck off across the prairie.

Is Kansas becoming overrun with mountain lions?

But such news isn’t quite the surprise it would have been just a while ago, for more and more cougars have lately been probing former range from Indiana to Arkansas. Almost all the explorers are young males driven out by older ones with prior claims on the territories back home. This is the main reason no resident populations are known to have been established east of Nebraska…yet.

Where Will Cougars Show Up Next?

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