Sorry gang I've been busy this week, just logged in. buck460 let me kinda go through and I'll show you where we disagree and maybe where we agree.
I've been busy myself lately, but agree.......we disagree on some things while agreeing on others.
I agree that cougars are large predators very capable of taking down a human if and when it ever wanted. What we disagree on is that while you argue that cougars regularly target humans as food and cougar attacks are thus a common occurrence, I state that cougars do not consider humans as a plausible food source, and REAL, not imagined attacks on humans are extremely rare.
Lets take the link you posted as evidence that attacks on children are a common occurrence.
The site gives evidence that in the last 123 years there have been 20 deaths in North America(The U.S. and Canada) caused by cougar attacks. This means that an average of 1 person every six + years is killed by a cougar. Maybe your definition of common is different than mine. Yes, not every attack ended with a death. Facts from your links show that there were 88 confirmed attacks on humans over 114 years leading up to 2004. That figures to be an average of 1 attack every 16 months.
BTW, about your claim that cougars primarily target children, out of the 20 deaths, only ten were children, 9 were adults with one age unknown. Seems to me there is no preference. I assume one reason children may be just as venerable as adults is that they too do not always pay attention to their surroundings when in areas cougars inhabit.
This is normal predator behaviour, they attack what they see as the most vulnerable member of the herd it has nothing to do with good or evil.
This attack is a perfect example.
On this we agree. Normal predator behavior as for going for the last straggler in line, generally the position of the weak. Is this attack the cougars fault or is part of the blame the parents who allowed their 7 year old to lollygag behind the rest of the group while in known cougar country? While there is always some amount of risk wherever doing any activity, one needs to not only be aware of this risk but to take reasonable precautions. This pertains to any activity, not just when hiking in known cougar habitat. This includes also allowing feral/barn cats to roam loose when in known cougar habitat. Having them disappear in such situations should not be a surprise. Allowing those same cats to feed/hang out on the front porch is just an open invitation for predators to come close. In your friends instance, since the cougar did not attack any humans and only killed the cats, it probably did your friends a favor. Barn cats carry many diseases that are transmittable to humans and are the cause of many more children being admitted to hospitals than attacks by wild animals.
Then there is this statement.
People who tend to become wlidlife biologists tend to be a of a certain political persuasion and are not at all sympathetic to the ranchers point of view. They blow off ranchers as uneducated hicks.
Are we to believe it is fine for you to stereotype and to have a predetermined mindset towards wildlife biologists while it is wrong for the biologists to do the same for ranchers? Ain't that a tad like the kettle callin' the pot black?
While I agree that in extreme scenarios, cougars can impose a great risk to humans, I disagree that they are much of a threat to humans as a whole. Even in Utah, the risk of falling down and breaking your neck while out in the woods is much greater than having your neck broke by an marauding cougar. One is just as likely to cut themselves while gutting out a deer and bleeding to death than dying from blood loss from rouge cougar attacks. While one must be alert to danger, one also must be realistic.
This has been an interesting conversation and a fine example of how two folks with similar interests can have such a difference of opinion. I respect your views as I hope you respect mine. I know you truly believe what you have said and I applaud you for keeping the conversation civil. I still think the grizzly in that wrestling fantasy is you tho........