Perhaps the best control we have on the effects of hunting on predator-human conflicts is California. In 1991 California voters passed an initiative that outlawed hunting of cougars. Today California has more cougars (about 6000) than any other western state, yet has the lowest per capita rate of cougar attacks in the West. In other words, in states where cougars are hunted so they presumably “fear man” there are far more cougar attacks on people than in California—even though California has more people, and more cougars than any other state—thus should, statistically speaking, have much higher per capita cougar attacks.
California also has one of the lowest livestock losses in the West attributed to cougars as well suggesting that hunting is ineffective at reducing conflicts with ranchers—in fact the evidence suggests that hunting actually increases livestock losses in many instances. Read the full article.