Oregon cougar management: Looking back to be more effective looking ahead

Photo provided/ODFW

The fatal cougar attack on a hiker in the Mount Hood National Forest last year was a tragic thing. Evidence evaluation indicated the cougar was a female in good health.
Is this a surprise? Not really.
Cougar numbers are at all-time highs for our state, and the distribution of these cats encompasses the entire state.
What has accounted for this cougar population expansion from an estimation of less than 3,000 in the mid-1990s to well over 6,000 today? Some of the answer is . . .