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When it comes to prey animals, Deboois agreed that mountain lion numbers will often wax and wane depending on the number of deer in their range.
They mostly protect for species like bighorn sheep.
This year, they counted 65 incidents of livestock being killed by mountain lions.
Most of those kills are lamb or sheep, and the state pays ranchers for predator losses.
“We think since about 2004, (cougar populations) have probably been growing by about 3 percent per year,” said Darren De Bloois, game mammals program coordinator for DWR.
There are no firm estimates on how many mountain lions live in Utah, since the animals are elusive and hard to track.
Success rates for hunters in these areas are typically low.
Mountain lion advocates say poaching and disease from domestic sheep are a much bigger threat to bighorn sheep.
Robinson has been part of the advisory group during each revision, advocating for cougars nearly 30 years.
“This is concerning to us as scientists,” said Allison Jones with the Wild Utah Project.
“It’s concerning to wildlife lovers, cougar lovers and environmental activists.” RELATED: Cougar plan causes uproar among conservationists Still, not every hunter issued a cougar permit is successful.
FROM 2016: Utah wildlife board to vote on increased cougar hunt quotas “There are two management criteria — the percent of females in harvest, we want that to be below 40 percent,” De Bloois said.
“The other thing we look at is how many animals are five years and older.
“My feeling is that they are not making an effort to seriously consider some of the most recent science, that they’re killing more cougars than they should, and they’re happy to do that,” he said.