Cougar Hunting on Vancouver Island

Anything you need to know about the best time, places, outfitters, and regulations of Vancouver Island cougar hunting, you can find them here. We are ready to help you make a rewarding BC hunting opportunity.

The content is valid until June 30, 2024.

Southern British Columbia is one of North America's premier cat hunting destinations. Among these wild cats on Vancouver Island are cougar (mountain lion) and lynx. Cougars are the largest cat species in BC.  The weight of male cougars in British Columbia is between 67-100 kg (147-220 lbs). Your cougar hunting trip on Vancouver Island is an opportunity to harvest one of North America's most efficient predators. It is home to the highest number of cougars. It is estimated that 4000 cougars live in BC. The cougar population on Vancouver Island is between 600-800.
The concentration is so high that you may choose to harvest two cougars per season. But the act of harvesting a small number of Mountain Lions each winter helps maintain a healthy balance in our wildlife populations. Cougars are solitary animals and are not usually seen together, except for a mother with her young.
Trophy hunting of cougars on Vancouver Island mostly depends on the weather. Cool temperatures and snow increase the hunter's chances of a successful cougar hunt.

History of Hunting Cougars on Vancouver Island

According to British Columbia Ministry of Environment data, between 1979 and 2008, the number of trophy hunters, including BC residents and non-residents, was 3,219.
Until the 1960s, cougars were considered mainly obstacles to rather than pursuing sport hunting on Vancouver Island.
In the mid-twentieth century, many BC residents chose an off-farms lifestyle. So, there was less of an agricultural style of living for cougars to threaten. Cougars became regarded as part of a quickly diminishing wilderness rather than antagonists to it for these people.
BC government re-classified cougars from vermin to game animals in 1966, and hunting licences were required. The Fish and Wildlife Branch states that a cougar is an integral part of BC wildlife. Now cougars are popular targets for hunters.

Vancouver Island Cougar Hunters

Do you know how to hunt cougars? Cat hunting needs physical and mental strength. That is why hunters need to be prepared for this trophy hunting challenge! Hunters also have challenges with the weather. Cool temperatures and snow increase the hunter's chances; moments of downtime interspersed with high-energy rushes chasing the cougars along with the hounds. This big game challenge is a thrilling adventure to experience.

Book Your Guided Cougar Hunting Trip

Reasons to Hunt Cougars on Vancouver Island

Cougars have nocturnal habits and stealthy characters, which make them a challenging big-game trophy to hunt.
Some rely on hunting to keep cougar numbers in check. If cougar populations are high, attacks on elk, sheep, deer and other smaller animals will be high. Every trophy hunter can take up to two animals per day by paying for each tag.

Interesting Facts about Cougars and Cougar Hunting on Vancouver Island

• Cougars are the largest cat species in British Columbia.

• Incidental animals such as wolves and coyotes are also available on all hunts. Hunting licences for these animals are necessary.

• Some people enjoy cougar meat, but you are not legally obliged to salvage cougar meat.

• Non-hunters are accepted and welcome with an additional price.

• Cougars can be used for food and decoration.

• Vancouver Island is home to the highest number of cougars.

• You may choose to harvest two cougars per season.

• Harvesting a small number of cougars each winter helps maintain a healthy balance in deer populations.

Where to Hunt Cougars on Vancouver Island?

Cougars are mainly on the northeastern part of the island, where their diet, black-tailed deer, lives. This hungry cat follows deer to lower elevations during winter. Like deer, cougars' habitats are mountainous and forested areas, and they eat any smaller animals that come through their territory. Their meal also includes mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose calves, and farm animals. Cougars find shelter in caves, rocks, bushes and thick undergrowth.
These wild cats may swim to smaller islands for hunting if their territory is not productive at that time. As they usually stay away from civilization, it takes more effort for sightings. You can expect them around Sayward, Ucluelet, Campbell River, Courtenay, and Duncan. For now, the management units (MU) or the hunting areas designated by BC regulation for hunting cougars are 1-1 to 1-15 on the region 1 (Vancouver Island) map. But hunters should be aware of no hunting and shooting areas on Vancouver Island.

When to Hunt Cougars on Vancouver Island?

Mountain lion hunting trips usually take place during winter when there is fresh snow on the ground. This condition increases the opportunities for a successful cougar hunt. Cougar hunting season on Vancouver Island is historically in January and February. But the general open seasons are from Sep 10 to Mar 31 and Apr 1 to June 15. Most cougar births happen during February and March. The best time of day to hunt cougar is evening and dawn when they come out for their meal.

Protected Areas of Vancouver Island, Based on the BC Act

How to Track a Cougar on Vancouver Island

In snow and cool temperatures, the process of locating a cougar track would be easier. Rain and wet conditions make it almost unlikely for the dogs to stay on the scent of a cougar track. Also, if optimal weather conditions are provided, hunters can differentiate between large males and females and guess the age of a cougar track.
While accompanying your guide, depending on your desire and ability, it may be possible to either stay in camp or the warm vehicles and wait for him to find fresh tracks. Trekking this treed cat through deep snow can be physically challenging. Wading through deep snow or walking with snowshoes is something most people are not used to.
Locate their tracks, kills sites (cougars cover their hunt and return to it later) and even scent markers (they use a scrape of leaves and twigs to mark their territories with urine and poo).
Once you are at your hunting site, be quiet and wait for your hunt.
Cougars have a keen sense of smell. So, use scent sprays or set up downwind of the direction you expect a cougar to approach.
Never disappoint hunting cougars; they run fast over short distances but tire quickly.

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Cougar Hunting Methods on Vancouver Island

Hunters do not have the defined same ways to experience this big game hunting sport. But it's expected to choose the best hunting methods.

Rifle Hunting

A heavy bullet in a .300 to .375 calibre rifle is recommended. Rifle hunters should be able to make shots consistently from 30 yards (27 m) out to 350 yards (320 m). Cougars are sensitive. So, while tracking them, the sooner you put them on the ground, the better. Too often, hunters will make a single shot and then watch the cougar. By the way, Rifle hunting is considered an easier way of hunting than hunting by a bow.

Spot and Stalk Hunting

Cougar signs include scratches, tracks, scat, and cached (which is partly buried) prey. Please be careful about the freshness of the scat or a killed deer, and stay off the trail your trophy animal may be around.
The style of a track is important to investigate. Examine the specific features of wild cats or domestic. Unless cougars are stalking, playing or running away from an enemy, their trails rarely represent gait variations. Actually, silent stalking is also a cougar's way of hunting its prey.
Cougars' scat often contains hair and bits of bone and tends to be segmented with an inch or larger diameter. These lions and primarily males, as territorial markings, deposit their scat in the middle of trails and dirt roads, along ridgelines, and near kill caches.
Sometimes cougars, besides scat and urination for scent communication, leave scratch markings on tree trunks or stumps through claw raking. Depending on the cat's size, its scratches are approximately four to eight feet off the ground.

Shotgun Hunting

Shotguns can be used for hunting cougar, black bear, bobcat, deer, lynx, wolf, and wolverine. It must be 20 gauge or larger and use shells size No. 1 Buck or larger.

Bow Hunting

Archery hunting is also permitted for cougars on Vancouver Island. Bowhunting (or bow hunting) allows the bagging of several animals since it is quieter and doesn't make other animals run away; also, it is a proper choice for big species.


To control predators like a cougar, you need to call. Knowing the meaning and usage of a call and practicing it would be necessary. You can use recorded or electronic calls. While you are calling, don't move much and be cautious. They will hang out and watch an area unless they are very young and starving.

Cougar Hunting Regulations on Vancouver Island

Regulations for BC Cougar Hunts | Region 1

Vancouver Island Cougar Hunting Cost

Vancouver Island cougar hunting may vary in price depending on duration, hunting methods, licence, tags, services, guide, and tax. But the cost may start at $8,500. Each hunter can take up to two animals by paying for each tag. Your cougar hunting trip may be combined with other big game or small game animals.

Choose Among the Best Guide Outfitters for Cougar Hunting in BC

According to British Columbia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, non-resident and non-resident alien hunters are required to be accompanied by a guide outfitter, assistant guide outfitter or a holder of a permit to accompany at all times when hunting big game, regardless of the type of licence (restricted or unrestricted) they have.
This alert big game trophy makes your hunting adventure on Vancouver Island a challenge. Experienced hunting guides turn this challenge into an exciting and rewarding cougar hunting experience.
To experience a successful hunting tour:
1- Plan for it in advance.
2- Choose the areas where you intend to hunt for your trophy cougar hunts.
3- Apply for and obtain the necessary licence.
4- Select the right outfitter.
An outfitted hunting trip is not only for unskilled hunters. Hiring a professional outfitter or guide provides a truly world-class hunt. It helps you access the best areas for hunting on Vancouver Island and new vistas of outdoor adventure.

Vancouver Island Cougar Hunting Safety Tips

• Though cougars are more interested in searching livestock, they will assault a pet if a probability arises. Be careful about it if you have a dog with you.

• Motion alarms are a famous choice when it comes to scaring cougars away.

• If a cougar gets very close to you, maintain eye contact. Never run past or away from a mountain lion.

• Don't bend over or crouch down. Aggressively wave your arms, throw stones or branches, and do not turn away.

Customize Your Hunting Trip on Vancouver Island

Duck & Goose
Snowshoe Hare
Band-tailed pigeon

Vancouver Island Cougar Hunting Common Questions and Answers

Cougar hunting is allowed for BC and Non-BC residents. Hunters are required to carry the licence obtained or held for the current year while hunting. Hunting a cougar kitten (with spots or under one year of age) or any cougar accompanying it is unlawful. All cougar taken on Vancouver Island must be compulsorily inspected.
A cougar attack is rare and may attack if cornered. It is possible when a fleeing person stimulates the cougar instinct to chase. Children are especially vulnerable. So, it is recommended to stay calm, not run and pick up small children.
It is estimated that 4000 cougars live in British Columbia, and 600-800 exist on Vancouver Island.
Yes. Cougars are the largest cat species in BC which you can find mainly on Vancouver Island.
Dogs may distract a cougar.
Sayward, Ucluelet, Campbell River, Courtenay, and Duncan are among the places you can hunt cougar.
The weight of male cougars in British Columbia is between 67-100 kg (147-220 lbs).
The cougar food consists of deer, elk, moose calves, and livestock.
Walk-up with dogs on Vancouver Island for cougar hunting is a preferred hunting method and helps us become better cougar hunters.
Vancouver Island cougar hunting may vary in price depending on duration, hunting methods, licence, tags, services, guide, and tax. But the price starts at 8,500$.
Hiking boots, waterproof pants and a jacket, socks, hunting pants, short-sleeve shirt, long-sleeve shirt, gloves, hat, and layer clothing are the most necessary things to take for cougar hunting.
Clothes, camping items, rifle or archery equipment, heavy grain ammunition, binoculars, duffle bags, and snacks are helpful for cougar hunting.

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