Jan 3, 2014

What gun for cougar?

Our informant is utterly reliable. It's a cougar on my friends'  old family farm southwest of here, not too far from the pretty little Maple River and on the fringe of the semi-wild Loess Hills.

The cat report his morning touched off a small Facebook gigglefest about a trick one of the guys played on my No. 2 grandson a few years ago on the hunt where he came of age. He had just been promoted to armed hunter from his previous condition of servitude -- barehanded, bipedal, auxillary bird dog. The party was walking a wooded draw on the farm when the wag warned him, "Watch out for the cougars." -- sending the lad into a full tactical crouch for the second it took him to realize the chain jerk.

The boy, now man, is, of course, being reminded today that as an experienced lion  hunter, it is his job to venture forth and slay the beast. The old people are advising him on weaponry. The female (who, sigh, routinely outshoots all of us) suggested a mag tube extension for his shotgun. I countered that he had a new .30-06. It's only a matter of time before he's told that nothing less than .50BMG will do.


I've seen only a couple of cougars (far west of here a long time ago)  and never encountered one up close. So I know Jack Schidtt about it. From my reading, though, I don't think the gun bore makes much difference. Br'er Puma apparently likes to jump you from above and behind. He shakes you by the neck a few times, snaps off an appetizer, takes a minute to pee on the gun you never got into play, and hauls you off to a nice picnic spot.


Cougar sightings are becoming almost, but not quite, routine here. They're rare enough to be interesting. They're common enough to make a guy smile when he thinks of the Iowa DNR  experts who for years said there ain't no such critter round these parts; then that, if there were, they were just pets that grew up and got dumped. Or escaped from the circus.  It's only about now that the game cops are admitting that the big cat, like many wild things, can be highly adaptable. Unlike your basic game cop.


DanH said...

back in my own childhood, about 30ish years ago,y brothers and I spotted one on my grandparents farm in Audrain County (northcentralish) Missouri. Our parents promptly pooh pooh'd the idea but about 15 years ago one got hit by a car near Jeff City. I guess when you let the deer population come back with no bears or wolves around, something moves in to take their place. Whodathunkit.

Stretch said...

Don't blame the DNR officer for refusing to acknowledge the cougar's existence.
If cougar's are confirmed whole bunches of Federal (and some state) laws and regulations come into play.
And many DNR budgets simply can't handle existing duties let alone extra cougar care.

Anonymous said...

Modest suggestion--leave it alone. Unless it is in a heavily populated area, it won't cause any trouble, unless it snacks on Aunt Mable's little Fifi. Besides, it's was probably just heading south ahead of the cold blast. JAGSC

Jim said...

Dan, our kin were neighbors. My dad's family settled Monroe County in the 1820s-30s, and some of them are still there.

JAGS, I couldn't agree more. There's no reason to kill the kitty, and talk to that effect is from our "entertaining baloney" file.

I don't really know what to say about your view, Stretch. Mine may be (somewhat unfairly, perhaps) rooted in the miserable reputation our DNR guys have earned.

JohnMXL said...

I find the older I get the less attention cougars pay to me, but then I also don't frequent the same drinking establishments as do they.

Oh...wait...you were referring to the four-footed cougar.

Never mind.

Jim said...

:) Same trouble here.