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Are you interested in hunting cougars? Would you like to learn how to hunt cougars? Cougars are not easy to hunt. They are smart and elusive, and their nocturnal habits and stealthy ability make it very challenging to hunt them. In this article, we discuss how to hunt cougars to help you be more successful in hunting this big game animal.
How To Hunt Cougars
Scout the area you want to hunt for cougars. Look for tracks, scat, kill sites, and scent markers. Cougars like to cover their kill and return to it at a later time. If you smell dead animals or see predator birds eating dead animals, it just might have been a cougar kill that was discovered by the birds.
Cougars are territorial and will urinate and defecate on leaves and twigs to mark their territory. As you scout the area and find signs of cougars, document the information on a map or GPS. You might start seeing patterns of how a cougar travels or behaves in its territory.
2. Trail Cameras
Set up trail cameras to collect information on the movements and behaviors of cougars. Target the canyons, trails, and ridgelines. The information you gather will help you learn their patterns and movements to pattern them and set them up in the best location for hunting cougars. We reviewed the best trail cameras on the market today you can read from this link.
3. Predator Calls
One of the best ways to hunt cougars is by using predator calls. Cougars are very territorial and using cat calls might just produce a response from a cougar as it would like to investigate the sound of another cat in its territory. When making cat calls, call long and hard for about 45 minutes or more. You can read a review of the best predator calls from this link.
Cougars are quiet and stealthy. They can creep up on you without you noticing them as you are calling long and hard. To be safe, you may want to stay still when making mouth calls. If you move, the cougar may think that you are the prey. Additionally, sit with your back to an object or tall wall that will keep a cougar from creeping up behind you. You could also sit back-to-back with a hunting partner. This will provide more safety for both of you and also give you a 360-degree view of the area.
4. Set Up A Moving Decoy
A moving decoy will get the attention of a cougar and might get it to come to investigate the decoy. Set up a moving decoy and start calling at a kill site or canyon and be on the lookout for cougars.
5. Scent Control
Cougars have a very good sense of smell. Set up downwind of the direction you expect a cougar to be. You don’t want the wind taking your scent to the cougar. If it picks up your scent, it will leave. Additionally, take all precautions to eliminate your scent the day before you go hunting. Use scent-free soap to bathe and keep your hunting clothes sealed in scent-free bags.
6. Be Quiet
Be very quiet when you arrive at the hunting site. Avoid talking on cell phones, slamming car doors, and walk slowly and quietly. Try to slip into the hunting area as quietly and undetected as possible. Cougars have very good hearing and vision.
7. Hound Hunting
You can use dogs to hunt cougars. Dogs will pick up on the cougar’s scent and eventually tree a cougar allowing you to take a shot. Not all states allow hunting cougars with dogs. It is illegal to hunt cougars with dogs in some states in the West. Using hounds is arguably the most popular way to hunt cougars today.
A rifle or a shotgun will work well for hunting cougars. Many times a cougar will seek refuge in a tree after it was pursued and tracked by dogs. A rifle with a .243 caliber would be ideal to take the cougar down.
9. Hiring An Outfitter
If you don’t have much experience hunting cougars, you can hire an outfitter. An outfitter is a guide with a lot of experience hunting big game animals who will help you with his experience. An outfitter may have trained hounds to help track and tree a cougar. Additionally, an outfitter has the experience to offer solutions when things don’t go as planned.
Moreover, outfitters have good knowledge of the rules and regulations. They can be a good reference source and can cut down the time to find the information you need. However, hiring an outfitter is not cheap.
10. Hunting Weapon
For hunting cougars, you want a hunting rifle with a good amount of firepower. A Winchester Magnum or .300 Savage may work just fine for hunting cougars. A .44 Magnum shotgun can also be used for hunting cougars. You can also use a compound bow, a recurve bow, or a long bow to hunt cougars.
11. Hunting Partner
It’s never a good idea to hunt cougars alone. Always have a hunting partner and let him be your backup when you take a shot at a cougar. A wounded cougar is very dangerous. It can severely wound your dogs, you, or your hunting partner.
12. Hunting Optics
Cougars blend seamlessly with the environment they live in. This is a defense mechanism and it also helps to make them elusive and hard to detect. To help you spot them in their areas, you need good optics. A hunting binocular or a spotting scope will help you spot them. If you are interested in optics, we reviewed the best hunting binoculars and the best spotting scopes on the market today.
Cougar Hunting Tips
1. Always get the correct hunting license for hunting cougars.
2. Spotting and stalking are not one of the most effective ways of hunting cougars.
3. Hunting cougars with hounds is the most popular way of hunting cougars.
4. It is against the law to kill kittens or female cougars in the company of one or more kittens.
5. You must be present and an active partaker when using hounds to hunt cougars.
6. Handheld calls are allowed but electronic calls and devices are illegal.
7. It is required by law that you know how to identify the sex of the cougar.
8. You can use predators and moving decoys to lure cougars.
9. Consider hiring an outfitter if you are new to cougar hunting.
10. Always hunt cougars with a hunting partner.
11. When choosing an outfitter, be very careful as there are many outfitter scams.
12. Know the rules and regulations for hunting cougars in your state.
13. Don’t use weapons within 50 feet of country roads, municipal roads, or the centerline of state highways.
14. Scout the area for cougars before you go hunting. Look for tracks, scat, kill sites, and scrapes.
15. You can set up trail cameras to collect information on cougar movements and other behaviors.
16. Cougars have a very good sense of smell. Take precautions to eliminate your scent before you go cougar hunting.
17. Be downwind of the area you want to hunt for cougars. You don’t want the cougars to pick up your scent from the winds.
18. Approach the hunting area slowly and quietly. Avoid talking, slamming car doors, and making noise while walking.
19. You will need quality optics like binoculars or spotting scopes to spot cougars.
20. It is mandatory in most states to check in the animal with the state wildlife agency.
21. Be aware of all of the information the state requires when you check in the animal.
22. Know all of the rules and regulations for checking in the animal with the state wildlife agency.
The Bottom Line
Cougars are elusive and very difficult to hunt. They blend well with the landscape, are smart, and know when they are being pursued. One of the most effective ways to hunt cougars is by using hounds. In this article, we discuss how to hunt cougars to help you become a more successful cougar hunter.