I was delighted to read John M. Glionna’s Sunday Review-Journal story, “Backcountry girl,” about Letha Roberson. It is refreshing to see a positive front-page article about hunting after all the negative publicity hunting has been getting in recent years.
Those who are totally disconnected with the real issues of wildlife conservation do not realize that hound hunting for mountain lion is a necessity in the balance of nature. Cougars can rapidly multiply and their numbers can get well out of hand. The numbers of these nocturnal predators cannot be kept under control by what sportsmen refer to as “fair chase.” Hunting with hounds is still rigorous and difficult as keeping up with them is a monumental task. But, if lucky, the pursuit ends with a cat at bay.
Man, a sort of predator himself, is a part of the balance. So it is modern man’s responsibility to keep predator/prey numbers in check. Thankfully the Nevada Department of Wildlife allows hound hunting, but eventually the department will need to establish measures to reduce predators within the state.
Here is a scenario that has to be considered. While it is unknown what the population of cougar are in Nevada, NDOW suggests 245 permits for 2017. Their permit-to-population ratios are normally around 10 percent. So at that ratio, they probably think there are about 2,450 cougar in the state.
The normal consensus is that a cougar kills about one large animal a week to sustain itself. With 52 (weeks) table settings per year for each cat, that is 127,400 prey annually. Think bighorn sheep, deer, elk, antelope and wild horses. If we could just train the cats to prey only on wild horses, that would solve another severe conservation problem that Nevada faces.
Ms. Roberson is a true example of American values, embracing hunting as a tradition and heritage that dates back to pre-history and as an invigorating and healthy form of recreation.