It is illegal to shoot a cougar in Minnesota unless it is about to eat you. This did not stop Bruce Ihnen and Daniel Hamman from killing one of these beautiful beasts. Ihnen and Hamman need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


Which, unfortunately, is not much. A hand slap, really.

The DNR is investigating the case for possible charges. Mountain lions are protected in Minnesota and killing one is a misdemeanor unless it poses an immediate threat to human life.

The incident occurred in the southwestern part of the state (down ’round these parts) where almost everything is corn. And I have to say, most of the really annoying news stories from Minnesota seem to come from that vicinity these days as well.

Maybe there’s something in the fertilizer.

Here’s the story.

Comments

  1. #1 varoa
    December 2, 2011

    Maybe the law is a little too permissive, but the real problem is that nobody is investigating these cases. You realize how many such cases have remained unknown? Poachers do this quite often and it is very difficult to prove this.

  2. #2 rork
    December 2, 2011

    The linked to article actually had a bit of interesting info, but I made the mistake of looking at a few comments.
    My conclusions from MI is that you find dumb asses all over.

    I recommend Frank Church Wilderness, Idaho, if you wanna rub shoulders with cougars. But I really loved the reservation side of Mission Mountains – they don’t let visitors carry weapons, since the question of whether you or the grizzly should die in case of conflict has been answered. On the National Forest side however, many of the male Montanans carry holstered pistols. Guess where I feel safer.

  3. #3 Doug Alder
    December 3, 2011

    Come on up here to rural BC just above the 49th – lots of cougars and bears – Up here it’s wise to take your dog (unless it’s a really small yappy one) with you when you go hiking on the trails (the small yappy ones are just hors d’ouevre advertisements to grizzlies and big cats)

  4. #4 Nathan
    December 3, 2011

    John,

    Why is “nice” in quotes when Greg never called them nice? Or cute, for that matter.

    He also never said that cougars need to be protected at all costs: he pointed out when it’s legal to kill one. There’s a big difference between protecting something at all costs, and protecting it from being killed for no good reason except maybe “the thrill of killing.”

    And why do you imagine that someone has to feed one’s children to predators in order to understand the importance of maintaining biodiversity, and the key roles that predators play in any ecosystem?

  5. #5 Brook
    December 3, 2011

    John, clueless much?

    Maybe you are new here at this blog, where Greg writes about is experience “out of the yard” all the time and his periods living in the wilds of Africa with lions and leopards.

  6. #6 Ivy
    December 3, 2011

    John Swallow’s comment appears directly to the right of a photo of some aboriginal children captioned “An archaeological expedition to the Congo.” This makes me smile.

    (And, despite the serious tone of the post, I couldn’t help thinking about South Park. “It’s comin’ right for us!”)

  7. #7 Jim Thomerson
    December 3, 2011

    Snail darter is no longer considered endangered, and should not have been listed in the first place. It was a matter of us not having invested enough in knowing our environment. Construction of the Teleco Dam was pushed through politically even though it did not have a positive benefit/cost ratio. I wonder how it fares these days.

    Here in Central Texas, there have been a number of reliable cougar sightings and at least one DOR. I see a fair number of signs for missing dogs and cats. I wonder if cougars get them.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    December 3, 2011

    I wonder if the real John Swallow knows that this particular yahoo is using his name.

    Anyway: John, there is no record on the internet of anything you are saying here actually having happened. There is no evidence, in fact, that you have ever left your back yard. I, on the other hand, have lived among actual lions, protecting myself at various time with a) nothing; b) a big-ass spear or c) a rifle that is a lot like an AK 47 but by a different manufacturer. The lions, by the way, know fully well what a spear and an assault rifle are by sight, so you don’t need to stab them or shoot them.

    Cougars are more like leopards, though. And, I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours on rainforest transects being followed around by leopards. They tend to pick you up when you enter their territory and follow behind you, very stealthily, until you pass through. But no matter how stealthy they are, they leave tracks and other spoor, and since my transects were mainly looking for animal spoor, they did not fool me!

    These days, I spend about 50 to 70 days in the northern forest. I’m really not too sure if we have a lot of cougars there or not … I’ve never seen signs of them. The wolves are everywhere, of course. I hardly ever have to gun one of those down, however. I’ve managed to get to South Africa every couple/few years in recent times and there, again, it is mainly leopards because we tend to stay in vehicles in lion country. The leopards are everywhere but if you spend too much time focusing on that you are likely to step on a snake or put your hand on a scorpion.

    I don’t have a yard.

    I admit that there are times when while among the big cats I wished I had a hand grenade or a flame thrower, though: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2009/01/biker_and_greg_get_eaten_by_li.php

  9. #9 john swallow
    December 4, 2011

    Thank you so much for the little story that you directed me to. It gives me more insight into your judgment and values in that the guard in your less than spell binding little “Jungle Jim” story, Lula, probably would have been fired had these two drunken, smoked up fools been in fact eaten by lions.

    “We had home made beer and home made liquor and extra beer we had scored at the village and probably something to smoke (I’m not saying).”
    “Do you know that if you are eaten by a lion, I get fired?”
    “Ah, well, no, that wouldn’t happen, would it? I mean, the you getting fired part. Right?”

    I have informed you that I have had recent experiences in Tanzania and was smart enough not place myself in a situation where I could have been eaten by a lion but I guess could have easily been gored by a cape buffalo since they were all around one of the camps on the Serengeti that we stayed at but most people are smart enough to not trigger such an action from these unpredictable and large animals.

    I had tried to straighten you out on an out right lie that you told about the glaciers melting on MT. Kilimanjaro and closing the mountain. Anyone that has ever climbed Kilimanjaro knows that is totally untrue but I’m sure you know because you have a couple of “friends” that live at the base of Kilimanjaro.(how I use quotation marks is none of your damn business,”Nathan”)

    I use to spend at least 5 months out of the year in the Teton Wilderness each year for several years taking out pack trips and during the hunting season. The only reason I mention this is that during that time I never did see a wolverine but not too many years ago one was seen in Billings, Mt.

    I certainly found out what fear is when I spent a year with the First Cavalry Division in the Central High Hands of Vietnam when the main base was at Ankhe.

  10. #10 John Swallow
    December 4, 2011

    I quit with this dishonest site some time ago and it will be interesting to see just how distorted what I have foolishly wasted my time putting forth now might be presented, if it is at all.

    It doesn’t seem like it takes much to get some one with a distorted mind such as Ivy to “smile”. People with that mentality are generally fairly happy but it seems like the comment could be construed as having some racist overtones to it.

    It seems like the drones on here didn’t catch the part about my not being a hunter and no where do I advocate the killing of cougars; but, I also know that they can be dangerous animals and the public needs to be made aware of that fact and not have some fools saying that that there is no problem with them and not all residence of the north woods are “Jungle Jims” and so full of knowledge as Greg is regarding all things both great and small.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    December 4, 2011

    John, one of the reasons you are so annoying, besides your global warming denialism, is that you ignore what I’ve said on this blog about dangers of wild animals and about being realistic about dealing with them.

    Cornering and killing whatever cougars you run into, still, is not OK, despite what you say.

    For Lula to have been fired, we would have had to fire him. The writer always risks that subtle things will be lost by small minded people.

    John, I’ve enjoyed posting some of your comments, which are usually bannned here. But I think for now we are done for a while. Feel free to keep sending me the offensive idiotic emails, though, they are very entertaining!

  12. #12 Tiktaalik
    December 4, 2011

    I’ve lived in areas frequented by mountain lions all my life. Right now there is one living close to my house; I got to watch him for quite a while this summer, snoozing under an overhang in a little canyon. I’m female and hike by myself all the time. Mountain lions do not worry me. I enjoy seeing them, alive. They have never bothered my dogs, although I understand they do kill domestic animals lower down the food chain than them on occasion. Of course, I’m one of those loonies who think we shouldn’t be killing top-tier predators unless they’re actively trying to eat you.

  13. #13 Jim Thomerson
    December 4, 2011

    Well, I have seen a couple of ladies on TV who were attacked by cougars. So that niche has been filled, no need for more.

  14. #14 Roland
    December 6, 2011

    Laws are static things. Wildlife populations are not. This law has served its purpose: there are now plenty of lions in the lower 48. Lions don’t belong in cornfields. Perhaps it’s time for a modification? Too many times I have seen people respond to problems with “There oughta be a law!” The law is a blunt instrument. Ref: stupidlaws.com

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    December 6, 2011

    Roland, there has not been an effective census of “lions in the lower 48″

    If you are referring to the endangered species act, it is nothing like a blunt instrument. The only significant times it has been ‘misapplied’ is when there was not sufficient research. Like when people drew strong conclusions like “there’s enough of these” or “there are hardly any of those” like you just did.

  16. #16 Calli Arcale
    December 6, 2011

    If there are “plenty of lions” in the lower 48, then I could see increasing catch limits. (You can legally hunt cougars in certain areas, but only in season and only with a permit. Same as bear hunting or deer hunting, except there are way more permits issued for the deer, and in way more states.) But I’d like to see that determined first. It would absolutely NOT excuse poaching them, though, and these guys were definitely poaching.

    “Lions don’t belong in cornfields.” Why not? Where else should they go? This cat was probably following prey. People seem not to realize this, but deer commonly travel across cornfields, and even stop to eat the corn along the way.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    December 6, 2011

    A few lions in the cornfield would increase yields.

  18. #18 rork
    December 7, 2011

    I was reminded about the Aldo Leopold episode where he kills a wolf: “In those days we had never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf.” (Second piece quoted at http://gargravarr.cc.utexas.edu/chrisj/leopold-quotes.html, it is good.)

    There’s some of that still going on near me (in MI). Many hunters, perhaps most, kill coyotes on sight. Everybody knows that is best, you see. Less predators will give us hunter heaven. It’s Leopold’s own thinking circa 1920. If I don’t get that this conclusion is beyond question, I’m clearly stupid about the ways of the world. A smoking tree-hugger, who unjustly is better at extracting deer and other resources than most. And there’s a grain of truth about coyotes – hey, they eat stuff, including fawns, young turkey, grouse, pheasant – stuff we want to kill and eat ourselves. Surely they are robbing us. It can even be rightly argued they weren’t historically present here (we had wolves instead).
    Anyway, maybe part of the problem is they’ve never heard of any ideas that are different than the simplistic several-hundred-year-old “wisdom”. The last 90 years have taught us a few things – at least some of us. Maybe there are too many coyotes and maybe there are too few – wolves in Yellowstone, and predator extinctions in the Gila, have taught us that many things happen that we did not predict (e.g. Wolves make trout). The reality for coyotes here – the little we do know so far is squat. We act like we know everything though.

  19. #19 john Swllow
    December 11, 2011

    I doubt that you were aware of this, rork.
    “The young Toronto woman who was killed in a Nova Scotia coyote attack yesterday was a budding singer and songwriter on her first east coast tour.
    Taylor Mitchell, 19, was hiking along Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park when she was attacked by coyotes yesterday afternoon.”
    http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2009/10/28/11551301.html

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    December 11, 2011

    Damn, I thought that was a new case for me to add to my collection of “Animals Eating People” but it’s that old one from 2009.

    Coyotes don’t eat people very often, but if they do, it is usually those northeastern types. They are larger, more wolf like in behavior, probably because interbreeding with wolves.

  21. #21 john Swallow
    December 13, 2011

    This is not a strange reply from Greg about the coyotes, given other thoughts he has registered here. This case may have occurred back in 2009 but Taylor Mitchell is still dead and will never get any older. The conjecture that you offer up is as implausible as most of the other thoughts that you have when it is a well known, to most, a fact that wolves almost always try to kill coyotes and not procreate with them. Maybe you can offer up some proof of this latest bit of conjecturing with no substance to back it up with.

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    December 13, 2011

    John, it is true that wolves and coyotes seem like they should not breed, and for years I resisted the constant yammering of people who claimed that they had bred. Then DNA studies were done an this demonstrated that there was interbreeding.

    No time to track down all the references, but here’s a handy one: http://goo.gl/A7Pa3

    BTW, it’s not all wolves, but also dogs that probably contributed. Dogs are, essentailly, wolves, so it would be hard to pick the DNA out, I suppose.

  23. #23 john Swallow
    December 13, 2011

    Greg; While “man eaters” may get the attention, one needs to be aware that the mosquito has been responsible for untold millions of deaths world wide by being the carrier of malaria and Dengue fever. You may not like this source because it deals with facts; therefore, if you disagree with what is given below, dispute it with Facts and not conjecture.

    “In fact, the most catastrophic epidemic on record anywhere in the world occurred in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, with a peak incidence of 13 million cases per year, and 600,000 deaths. Transmission was high in many parts of Siberia, and there were 30,000 cases and 10,000 deaths due to falciparum infection (the most deadly malaria parasite) in Archangel, close to the Arctic circle. Malaria persisted in many parts of Europe until the advent of DDT.”

    http://climateaudit.org/2005/08/30/mosquitos-malaria-and-the-ipcc-consensus/

  24. #24 Greg Laden
    December 13, 2011

    John, I’ve had Malaria. I’ve had babies die of it in my arms. I’ve treated hundreds of people with it at a health clinic in the Congo. Don’t tell me about malaria.

  25. #25 john swallow
    December 14, 2011

    Greg; Do you call your response to me dealing with the facts that I’ve presented? I have lived for some time in areas with a high incidence of malaria and due to taking precautions against contacting this dread disease, I have never been afflicted with it. This has nothing to do with the fact regarding the malaria outbreak in the Soviet Union that is a FACT that your Al Gore would not want to admit to. Address the need for DDT to control this scourge of humanity & cut the BS. So as to not annoy you, I’m finished with this.

  26. #26 Greg Laden
    December 14, 2011

    John, of course you area DDT conspiracy nutbag!

    For those who don’t know, there is a whole class of Krazy linked to DDT. You see, Rachel Carson was an hysterical evil woman who hated kittens that’s why she wrote Silent Spring.

    If you want to know about the DDT controversy, I recommend this: http://membracid.wordpress.com/tag/ddt/