More to story on cougars


I am writing in response to Dianne Daiute’s letter (May 18) expressing her feelings about hunting cougars and hunting in general.

I respect that everyone has an opinion, and in reading her letter to the editor, it’s clear there was a certain amount of research done before it was handed into the paper. Though I was unable to verify any of it, I will not say it doesn’t exist.

However, I would like to take a chance to express my own as well as countless other opinions on this subject while backing it up with some simple facts that you can find in about a five-minute sit-down on your computer and Google.

With all due respect, Ms. Daiute, I disagree with your opinion completely. I hope this changes your opinion a little, and if not, maybe it will enlighten you just a little on how important hunting is to our nation as a whole.

I would like to start with saying that I am an avid hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman. I have the greatest respect for all wildlife this beautiful country has to offer. The cougar is clearly a beautiful animal that no doubt has its place in the world. However, so do deer, elk, rabbits, dogs, cats and a long list of other animals that fall prey to the cougar, not to mention the livestock that people depend on to make their living.

In your letter, it seems as though you are saying, “Heck with the sheep farmer. Their days are over. That’s been declining anyway. Why fight to keep what’s left?” Maybe not, but I’ll bet I’m not the only one who read it that way.

Now, I’m not saying, “KILL THE COUGAR!” I’m just saying that some type of management has to be taken because, to the big cat’s credit, we humans are the only ones that can.

I understand your compassion for the cougar, but do you have the same compassion for other animals that they eat? It’s the circle of life, I know; but did you know that a cougar at the age of five months will begin killing one deer a week? Do the math. One cat, 52 weeks, 52 deer a year. One cat lives even six years, and 312 deer are dead. Multiply that by several thousand cougars, and the number is too big for Texas Instruments, not to mention all the other animals they take out, including beloved pets.

I am just saying that we have to keep their numbers in check, or their population will get out of control and there would not be enough deer and elk to keep their bellies full. Next thing you know, the first human casualty would be in the news. You can be the person to tell the family who lost its loved one that this needed to happen before something was done.

You claim in your letter that killing the cougars and other animals are all for the benefit of the hunter to get a killing fix. If you really wanted to know whom it benefits, you would have researched that and not Dr. So and So in another state. The fact is if it weren’t for hunting, the numbers of every game animal and wildlife in general would be dramatically lower.

Every state in the union has controlled hunting, including the state Dr. So and So lives in. This is because scientific proof shows that if there is not a sound game management program, the animals would eat themselves into starvation, spread disease that could wipe out entire herds and become so abundant that in a lot of states they would become a major traffic hazard to humans. If your reply to that is, “Well they were there first,” then you should have no problem donating your car to Goodwill and going on foot from now on.

All of this and I haven’t even mentioned the word poaching. Poaching would be so out of control if there were not a legal way to hunt it’s pathetic. It’s already pathetic. It would be even worse if our hunters didn’t pay for the game wardens who do the best they can to keep it as low as they can.

In your letter, you say that hunting is all for money, well you may not have realized just how much money hunting generates for this nation’s economy, $70 billion per year, according to a study I found on Google. Only, it’s not just for the money. The money is just a bonus really for what it does for the animals themselves.

Did you know that there are more than 1.2 million jobs in the United States that are a direct result of the hunting industry? More people are employed by the hunting industry than General Motors, Ford, Exxon and BP combined. It generates so much money, and I mean in this country alone, that if the hunting and fishing industry combined into a corporation, it would be number 11 on the Fortune 500 list.

All of that is fine and well, but did you know in just the federal income tax alone generated from hunting related merchandise, $1.8 billion, is enough to fund 200,000 U.S. Army specialists. To put that into perspective, that would fill the new Dallas Cowboy’s stadium twice. So when you pull the cord on hunting, Ms. Dauiute, I hope you have a good backup plan.

All the game management and what it does for our country’s economy is second rate to me when I think about what hunting does for me and my children. I know that what I am teaching my kids about hunting and the outdoors is not detrimental to the survival of the animals we hunt and the land we hunt them on. I also have a tremendous amount of respect for what I am hunting. If it’s not a mature animal, I don’t kill it. This doesn’t set me apart, the majority of true sportsmen are the same.

I’ll admit there was a time I didn’t respect the wildlife like I should have when I was younger, which is why I am so adamant now about how I teach my boys the law and how to respect it. We are the real stewards of the land, and our kids are the future. It was instilled into me by my father and his father before him.

It does something that is unexplainable unless you have experienced the joys of hunting with your family your whole life. It’s said that if you teach your kids to hunt, you won’t have to hunt for your kids. I for one believe this statement whole-heartedly.

Like I said, to each their own; and you are entitled to your opinion. I just hope I have encouraged you to take a look at the big picture on the whole subject of hunting. Who knows, by the time you are done, you might realize the best thing you can do for the fourth largest cat in the world is to join the National Rifle Association or the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, two clubs that are truly dedicated to the conservation of millions of acres of land for all wildlife across America, including the mighty puma.

Tristan Nichols

Sweet Home