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Our apparent encounter with a cougar today . . . .

Rick C
February 25th, 2007, 04:33 PM
So . . . . it's a nice day and Abby and Keeper and I had been out walking about an hour and a half down a back country road (pictured below) closed for the winter in the mountains when, according to people we'd just passed who were trailing behind us, apparently a cougar came off a cliff "not 20 yards behind you."

These people, who had a Siberian Husky, were pretty excited about the whole thing (they told me when we turned around to head home) and, when the cougar disappeared on the other side of the road and went down into the river gorge, they stopped to watch him as he sunned himself, tail twitching away in irritation.

Normally, I'm pretty good having my head on a swivel for these kinds of things . . . . this is the same area where I noted a black bear coming out of the bush close behind us two summers ago . . . but I have to admit I saw nothing and wasn't as alert as I should have been.

We had just finished taking a picture of these bighorn sheep (picture below) congregating on a ridge just above us, which must have been what the cougar had been scouting out as well, when about three minutes later this incident happened behind our backs.

Le congregation of Bighorn Sheep.

We had actually been looking up at the brown cliff because the warm sun had been de-frosting the cliffside, sending a steady stream of rubble down onto the highway. A slide had covered the highway two springs ago.

The cougar must have been above us and watched us go by . . . but I didn't see him even though I was probably looking in his general direction.

Below, the road we were walking, some people ahead of us, shortly after this encounter took place.

I had been letting Abby and Keeper walk ahead of me, trailing their leashes . . . . they would have been an easy target for a snatch and grab cougar . . . . although I might have had Abby firmly in hand as we had just passed by some people. Can't remember.

Anyhoo, I guess we're very lucky he was otherwise occupied, distracted or just full from something else.

On the way back, I picked up a big rock in one hand and had a big lense on the camera in the other and looked over the river gorge to see if I could spot him but he was long gone.

I'm glad nothing happened but a little po'ed, in some strange way, that I didn't notice him because I had the perfect lense on the camera for an encounter that close.

Second strangest encounter of the day . . . . a guy riding a bicycle in his shorts down this road.

Another, albeit apparent, story of adventure for Abby and Keeper

Rick C

February 25th, 2007, 04:39 PM
Thank goodness nothing happened! I, too, have to be on alert for black bear and cougars - they come right into town but usually just during fall and spring. It's a worry because bear spray doesn't work on cougars at all - so I carry a knife. That's about the only thing I can think of to do with cougars. Keep safe!

February 25th, 2007, 04:43 PM
Rick... how much to rent a room from you?? :D the scenery there is amazing....
Im glad the apparent encounter went well.

February 25th, 2007, 04:44 PM
OMG Rick ! I'm so glad nothing happened to you,Abby and Keeper ! I can't imagine having to worry about a cougar while I walk my dogs.

February 25th, 2007, 04:55 PM
You were safe from the cougar, Rick--you had the proper camera lens in hand. :thumbs up Wildlife never offers the perfect shot when you're prepared for it! :D

Still...scary story! Are there many cougars in your area? The wind must've been wrong or Abby and Keeper would have caught wind of this one.

Love the sheep. And the scenery! :cloud9: Great pics, as always.

February 25th, 2007, 05:01 PM
:eek: Glad you're all OK, Rick.

(I'm having weird internet issues tonight-I can't see your pics. :frustrated: Or get to your homepage.)

:laughing: No matter how many times I refreshed, I couldn't get the images. But as soon as I posted the above message, bingo! The pictures loaded, too. :thumbs up Beautiful pics!

February 25th, 2007, 05:40 PM
Ahhhhhh....memories. We should swap stories of the encouters of ferociuos beasts...I misss BC

February 25th, 2007, 06:51 PM
I've encountered a few black bears on our outings but never a cougar and I hope it stays that way. :o

February 25th, 2007, 07:55 PM
See now, I knew something like that would happen. I remember warning you when you posted the grizzly pics. I would still be running if someone told me a cougar was in the area. Such a chicken am I when it comes to wild critters. Petting zoo's now thats my style. Glad you are OK. Stay safe.

February 25th, 2007, 09:18 PM
Scary! Are cougars the same as mountain lions? We also have them in the hills here. They used to be afraid of dogs, but now they're being crowded out of their natural environment and have become a real danger. In the last couple years, several people have been attacked and killed. Do you carry anything for protection, besides the camera?

February 25th, 2007, 09:30 PM
Oh, that's a bit freaky, Rick! Glad everything turned out okay! Love the bighorn sheep though! And Abby and Keeper with the mountain behind them..gorgeous!!!

Rick C
February 26th, 2007, 09:19 AM
A few answers:

Are there many cougars in your area?

The local newspaper says the cops have been chasing a cougar away from the west side of Okotoks the last two weeks . . . . that's ten minutes from where Abby and Keeper live.

The cops found a cougar hiding under a car in south Calgary near an elementary school last year . . . . lost and frightened.

They're around . . . . rare to actually see one.

When the deer and elk disappear for days on end from around the house, you know something is going on.

Are cougars the same as mountain lions?

Pretty much the same.

Do you carry anything for protection, besides the camera?

Honestly . . . . no.

Bears are the thing I'm usually avoiding so I'm making sufficient noise to let them know I'm coming . . . . .

On this particular day, there were people spaced at about half kilometre intervals and most had dogs, so we weren't alone. Abby and Keeper were the only dogs with their leashes actually attached to them. This isn't the time of year you'd expect to see a bear.

True story . . . . . last spring, only about two kilometres from this spot, a man and woman were hiking when they spotted two cougars. One cougar jumped the guy, a big guy, who shook it off, grabbed it by the paws and did the discus-throw turnaround and tossed it about 20 feet or so . . . .

When the elk disappear, look out!!!

Rick C

February 26th, 2007, 09:37 AM
thats nuts Rick! :eek:

February 26th, 2007, 11:18 AM
Too scary!!!:eek:

February 26th, 2007, 02:34 PM
[QUOTE=Rick C;381419]The cops found a cougar hiding under a car in south Calgary near an elementary school last year . . . . lost and frightened.

I lived on Vancouver Island long enough to know that cougars are rarely sen becasue they stay away from populated areas. When you see a cougar it's always because it's young and thrown out of a territory that is inhabited by another cougar, or its sick and injured and hungry.

People have caused this to happen by building more towns and taking territory away, so the poor cougars will do anything to survive and will kill and human for food. It's very sad. :sad: Everytime they killed a cougar in our town, I mourned becasue I know that the only reason it was there becasue it was starving.