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‘Mountain Lion Tacos’ Prove Montana’s Willingness to Take Tacos Where L.A. Could Never Go

10:36 AM PST on January 4, 2022

    In Los Angeles, we dedicate resources to tagging and tracking our mountain lions in hopes of bolstering the survival of their species. Sometimes we even ink our arms with tributes to our favorite fallen felines.

    In Montana, they turn them into tacos.

    Or so it appears in a strange video from Montana Outdoor, a hunting website we can’t say we were familiar with until they introduced us to the very concept of pulled mountain lion tacos.

    Cougar meat, for lack of a better term, is imaginably on the lean side. So, it comes as no surprise that the glistening pink meat undergoes a 6-8 hour cooking process, with a couple of similarities to the preparation of cochinita pibil, like an abundance of oranges. And because this is the “real America,” there’s also half a bottle of Coca-Cola thrown in, kinda like the "secret ingredient" in many carnitas preparations around the U.S. and Mexico.

    Lastly, the meat gets shredded, seasoned, broiled, then thrown into some tortillas with a few dubious toppings like sour cream and shredded cheese. The video’s creator, one Back Country Connection, deems the final product “juicy.” And we can’t say we’re not a little epi-curious ourselves.

    More than a few local readers will find the very existence of this recipe pretty audacious. Even if, unlike in Southern California, Montana hunters and the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks claim that mountain lions are thriving following years of preservation and wildlife management efforts.

    An eight-month hunting season allows for several hundred mountain lions to be hunted and “harvested,” with the use of hounds to track and tree them permitted. The hunts and the hounds are deemed objectionable by many preservationists in Montana, who remain concerned about mother lions being taken out of the population and their cubs being orphaned, including Montana’s Mountain Lion Foundation, which pins the hunts on a “subculture” in the state’s east that is unique from those who “maintain a more environmentally sensitive point of view.” Meow.

    Montana, as far as we can tell, having never visited, is not Los Angeles. Big Sky Country no doubt has a radically different culture of its own, perhaps placing dietary peccadilloes like tacos made with recently killed game into the same realm as other foreign delicacies we tend to object to, such as Japan’s tradition of eating whale. Or objectionable habits some of us enjoy right here at home, like consuming foie gras. Or whatever the hell goes into a McNugget.

    While we’d never deign to consume our endangered, beloved mountain lions here in Southern California, we have to wonder if eating mountain lion tacos hunted by a single individual could possibly be any worse than ordering leathery asada tacos that have their roots in a feedlot.

    While we ponder the deeper ethics of eating once-living creatures tucked inside of a warm tortilla, you can glimpse the recipe for pulled mountain lion tacos being made and explained below. Or bypass it completely, if you prefer to spend this time better by moisturizing your P-22 tat instead.

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