“In the early 20th century, today’s scientific methods of wildlife management were a distant dream. Hunting and killing the native predators like wolves and the mountain lion was considered necessary. It was thought that controlling the predator population not only protected livestock and decreased the likelihood of attacks on humans but increased the population of deer and elk for hunters.
In 1915 a bounty was offered for the big cat. The bounty was $20 for a male and an extra $5 was paid for a female. In some southern counties where the lion problem was perceived to be more serious, the bounty was sometimes twice as much.
A man named Jay Bruce, recovering from a recent business failing, decided to take advantage of the opportunity. With his two good hunting dogs, he would drive as far as the truck would take them, and then let the dogs out. The sound of his yapping dogs would change when they had spotted their prey and Bruce would know that they had something.
He was so successful as a cougar hunter, that the California Fish and Game Commission became aware of him. In 1918 he became the first State Mountain Lion hunter. He was responsible for hunting throughout the state where ever cougar activity was suspected. In this new position he was paid $25 per week, plus the going rate for bounties as well as being allowed to keep and sell the pelts.
He eventually became such a celebrity that he was asked to be a regular contributor of the stories of his hunts for both Field and Stream and Outdoor Life magazines.
After 30 years with the Fish and Game Commission, he retired. As the State Mountain Lion Hunter he had killed 669 mountain lions. In 1953 he wrote what would become a best-selling book, his autobiography entitled ‘Cougar Killer’.”
Slightly better image