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Oregon still allows trapping on much of its public lands.

Approximately half of Oregon state is considered cougar habitat. The adaptable felines are able to survive in much of the state's forested regions.

Keep in mind that although cougars are physically capable of living in these places (based on geographical, vegetative and prey species characteristics), it does not mean they necessarily do. Fragmentation, sport hunting practices, and intolerant communities can wipe out cougars from any area. For more information about where cougar populations actually live, check out our Science tab.

  • Return to the portal page for Oregon.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Oregon.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Oregon.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Oregon.

  • Cougar science and research in Oregon.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

Oregon Lion Habitat and Population

Mountain Lion Habitat and Population in Oregon

The state of Oregon encompasses 95,996 square miles of land. Of this, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) claim that 71,997 square miles, or 75 percent of the state, is suitable cougar habitat.

However, a review by MLF researchers of a 2001 GAP analysis habitat map could only identify approximately 49,344 square miles or roughly 51 percent of the state as viable cougar habitat. The difference between the two numbers could be significant in accurately determining Oregon's cougar population.

In 1996, two years after the passage of Measure 18, ODFW placed the state's cougar population at approximately 3,000 to 3,300 animals. Ten years later, despite larger than ever mortalities caused by ODFW's Post-Measure 18 sport hunting policies, the Department ramped the population estimate up to 5,000 cougars. They justified this boost by claiming that "Local cougar population densities exceed any documented in North America."(1) As of April, 2011 ODFW's website posted an estimate of more than 5,700 cougars residing in Oregon, and some hound-hunting proponents are even claiming the cougar population in Oregon has reached the 7,000 level.

It is possible that this disturbing trend of ever-increasing cougar population estimates has more to do with justifying policy decisions to kill more cougars than reliable scientific data.

ON AIR: Phil Carter - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

03/19/13 An Audio Interview with Julie West, MLF Broadcaster

In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews mountain lion program manager Phil Carter of Animal Protection of Oregon. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the Oregon Department of Game and Fish will go to to disregard the public, bury scientific research, and ignore all common sense. Trying to protect mountain lions in Oregon and incorporate the best science into management has turned into a game of one step forward, two steps back.

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

Oregon Department of Game and Fish.

Commonly abbreviated as: ODFW

Curt Melcher, Director

Main Office:
4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302
(503) 947-6000

Carnivore-Furbearer Coordinator
Derek Broman
4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302
(530) 947-6095

Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in Oregon.

Thank ODFW when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.