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A cougar too near for comfort...

JanM
December 29th, 2007, 10:15 PM
We were out walking about a quarter mile from my house - in the woods and both dogs were off leash. Neighbours had told me there were cougars out there but since I hadn't seen any or heard any I kept going out there. Well, I won't be going out there again until summer when the bears and cougars have gone back up into the mountains.

We were on our way home and at the point where I leash the dogs so we can safely cross the logging road when a cougar growled. It was in the bushes very, very close. I was stunned - so stunned that I just calmly leashed both dogs and walked away - across the logging road and into a subdivision where, within a quarter mile, houses made me feel safer. I usually walk along the logging road then down a wooded path to my subdivision but since the cougar was there - I opted for the closest route to safety.

I called the Dept of the Environment because I had understood that cougars were always silent - not so. The fellow told me it could have been a young cougar calling for his mother or it could have been a cougar feeding and was warning us away. Either way - we left.


Bobby - my laid-back dog didn't blink an eye. Amber was almost as scary as the cougar! She was stiff-legged and jumping up and down on her front legs - she looked ready to run at the noise or away from it - but both dogs were silent too. I think that's a good thing in reptrospect.

That is as close as I ever wish to get to a cougar in the wild! I think we are very fortunate that nothing happened too - so, walking out back is out of the question for the rest of this season!

hazelrunpack
December 29th, 2007, 10:20 PM
:eek: Now that musta got your heart racing! :eek:

I'm glad you're all safe and sound! :grouphug:

14+kitties
December 29th, 2007, 10:28 PM
I'm glad you walked away calmly. Who's to say what would have happened if you had panicked and run. Good thinking. :thumbs up

JanM
December 29th, 2007, 10:39 PM
I'm glad you walked away calmly. Who's to say what would have happened if you had panicked and run. Good thinking. :thumbs up

:laughing: (I can laugh now).... I wish I could take credit for "good thinking" - but I can't! I didn't think - in hindsight I was absolutely numb - I did stay calm but again, I can't take credit for that - I was so numb I couldn't have reacted :laughing:
But, yes, I think leaving calmly was a good thing - running could, apparently, trigger an attack.

14+kitties
December 29th, 2007, 10:41 PM
Exactly!! It's amazing how much your mind really does remember to do the right thing even when you don't think it does.
Dang, does that even make one little bit of sense? :D

SARAH
December 29th, 2007, 10:45 PM
Yeah, it does. Somehow, there's that fight-or-flight instinct that kicks in. Fight, in this case, was the instinct to fly! Good thing you walked, I've seen a documentary where cheetas would not hunt an animal that calmly walked by even though they were half starved ... what triggers the hunting-mode in the cats is something running! I would think cougars are the same, unless there is panick-movement, they don't react.

Lucky for you either way!

growler~GateKeeper
December 29th, 2007, 10:58 PM
Lucky Bobby & Amber were silent too :thumbs up Glad you stayed numb/calm :grouphug: instinct certainly takes over.

I know if that happened on a walk with :rip::dog: Cally he'd be full out snarly growling & charging :eek: nice kitty, nice kitty, stay there

The growl was probably a warning - s/he may have had food it was protecting, I think in most cases they won't leave their kill to attack unless they feel someone is trying to take it away :shrug:. Where as mothers are more likely to charge to protect the young.

Shaykeija
December 29th, 2007, 10:58 PM
That must have been scary. Everyone must see how smooth the cougar's coat is. Think it might be soft? Nope. I had the chance to play with a 5th generation cougar. It was like a Brillo pad. Really, had to explain, but like a really tight Afro. I am telling you when I saw it for the first time I also pooped myself. It knocked me over and licked my face. Dermabrasion..wow. She was declawed and sucked on my thumb. But, when she yawned, those big teeth really brought home how powerful these animals are. but on the fun side, I did get to play cougar and rope with her. Played just like a cat with a string.

Janie123
December 29th, 2007, 11:13 PM
I live in Florida.....We have alligators and their favorite food? Dogs:) We have a pond near our house. I'd lived here for years and never seen an alligator. They are very shy creatures,afraid of humans if they haven't been fed by them.
I had my dogs on leash and went to the mail box. I look up and there,sauntering down my street, was a medium sized alligator. He was probably going to another pond. They can travel miles to get to one.
Bonnie went crazy,Boo was more serious,taking it all in. The gator picked up his pace and we ran into the house. I was SO scared because alligators can run fast in short bursts of speed. He ended up in my yard I think because he saw my dogs.
Had to call wildlife specialists. Luckily,this gator was relocated. If he had been kept as a pet, was not afraid of humans or had been fed by humans,he would have been harvested.
You don't swim in ponds and lakes in Florida of you have a brain. At the very least,you don't let your dogs near any body of water.

Shaykeija
December 29th, 2007, 11:18 PM
Give a whole new meaning to a bite in the @ss...OMG gators..

ancientgirl
December 30th, 2007, 06:16 AM
Wow, that's scary! I'm glad your dogs knew what to do, as well as you. I think the first thing I would have done with I got home was change my underwear and give them both some nice treats.

SARAH
December 30th, 2007, 08:31 AM
I live in Florida.....We have alligators and ....

You don't swim in ponds and lakes in Florida of you have a brain. At the very least,you don't let your dogs near any body of water.


LOL, thank you for confirming that my first husband didn't have a brain! I've suspected that for years :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

He'd always go swimming and jumping from a "tarzan-rope" at a waterhole in Pensacola. I never did, don't like brown water where I can't see what's in it!

Pity though, no gator in that waterhole :frustrated:

I did see a gartor once, we were biking down along some Louisiana bayou and there is was, half in and half out of the water, getting some sun on the part that wasn't in the water. It was sleeping (or just waiting for something to get close enough :eek: ) and we were going too fast for it to bother moving.

Saw some crocs too ... at a croc farm in the Philipines ...

ancientgirl
December 30th, 2007, 09:53 AM
I can attest to that! I'd also never live with a canal behind my home, which many here do.

Between lakes, ponds and the ocean, you have to really think when you get in the water here.

Frenchy
December 30th, 2007, 10:02 AM
omg close call JanM ! I'm glad nothing happened ! I'm sure Amber was getting ready to protect her family , Daisy was the same.

Lukka'sma
December 30th, 2007, 10:20 AM
There is not enough Ativan in the world to help me over come a cougar sighting:eek:

JanM
December 30th, 2007, 10:41 AM
If anyone is interested, the BC Dept of Environment sent me this link to their "Cougar Facts" on their website. Interesting information..

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/cougsf.htm

rainbow
December 30th, 2007, 02:11 PM
Is your heart back to beating normal yet? :D :grouphug:

Encountering a cougar has always been my biggest fear. :eek: I'm glad you did everything right and the dogs stayed quiet. :thumbs up :grouphug:

SARAH
December 30th, 2007, 02:55 PM
It seems it's the same for any wild animal, eh? Don't panic, don't run, don't turn your back, make noise and look big and scary, don't corner them ...

Easy thing for those in the offices writing the notices, but when you're face to face with the potential danger, it's not what you know but your gut instincts that keep you going!

I would think, not knowing but from having lived in both environments I'd guess, that a city dweller on vacation would have squeeled and run; whereas a country dweller, used to nature and things in it, would stay calm and tremble later!

The wildest I ever met was a water moccasin in Louisiana, and a possum! Wow. And there was an armadillo looking through the garbage one night. Hardly anything scary. I did see wild boar though, just outside the fence on my property in Normandie (we'd screened off the actual garden for when the goats managed to get lose, or they would have eaten every plant and tree!) and they were often in our woods.

I know I should stay calm if I ever meet something carnivorous or otherwise threatening (like a moose even), but will I manage? I think yes, for having lived in the country for so long, but I won't know until it happens.

Good for you that you reacted correctly, and that the dogs didn't go flying into the bushes! :eek:

hazelrunpack
December 30th, 2007, 03:42 PM
I think when you're faced with that sort of situation there is an instinct we draw on without realizing it. I met up with a black bear while bird watching one day, and when it started trundling down the path toward me instead of running away like everyone says they normally do, I didn't run. I backed away about as fast as it was coming toward me. I didn't think about it--I just put the ol' feet in reverse. It didn't hurry, neither did I. If I'd turned and run back to the car, I suspect it would have chased me down. :shrug:

Sounds sort of like what you went through, Jan--you just take careful steps in the direction of "away". :D Did it feel more like instinct than thinking to you?

Lukka'sma
December 30th, 2007, 04:17 PM
I met up with a black bear while bird watching one day

BBBBBBBBBear!!!!!!!!!:eek::eek::eek:http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w313/lucydiamnd/emoticons/scared.gif

hazelrunpack
December 30th, 2007, 04:25 PM
BBBBBBBBBear!!!!!!!!!:eek::eek::eek:http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w313/lucydiamnd/emoticons/scared.gif

It was just a yearling...but it looked plenty big to hazel! :o

Lukka'sma
December 30th, 2007, 04:30 PM
I am such a chicken for that sort of thing that I can't even sit in a car and watch bears at the dump. The thought of it scares the bejeeeezus out of me.

hazelrunpack
December 30th, 2007, 04:36 PM
I always wanted to see bears...I have since changed that wish to "I'd like to see bears from the car." :laughing:

Lukka'sma
December 30th, 2007, 04:41 PM
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e367/gatsby6306/smallsmileys156.gif Hazel stop, you're killing me

JanM
December 30th, 2007, 04:54 PM
Yes, it did feel like instinct - it certainly wasn't thinking because my brain had shut down :laughing: I do think I just did what I did - I can't explain it other than that. So, I guess as a human I haven't lost all my natural instincts :D

When I think back on it now - now that I'm safe in my home that is, some things come to me so clearly - like Bobby's reaction - ho hum, another kitty cat - hope you aren't taking this one home mom :D Amber - well, she was on high alert and yes, I do think she would have "protected her pack". I'm never sure if Bobby would or not - when the chips are down, he just may turn into a fighter - I don't know - and hope I never have to find out!

Bears are all over the place here - there are bears in the woods just a block away - there's a wooded path that goes out to the logging road and they have taken up residence there but they are black bears and I don't have any fear of them. When I go into the back country I do carry bear spray though - just in case :D

hazelrunpack
December 30th, 2007, 05:00 PM
Does bear spray work, though? I've seen video of a bear rolling in an area that had been treated with bear spray. :eek: Seemed to be enjoying himself immensely! :rolleyes: I decided then that maybe bear spray wasn't the way to go...

I did stop using vanilla to drive away the blackflies and citronella to keep the mosquitoes away when I'm birdwatching in the hinterlands, though. No sense in smelling like fresh bakery while you're out there... :o

shirley1011
December 30th, 2007, 06:30 PM
I had an animal communicator from Washington State tell me Sable had been in a fight with a cougar...No Way I told her..we don't have cougar's in Ontario.
WRONG! We were between Barrie & Orillia and one of the ladies I was speaking with that had seen Sable last spring said she was worried about him with the cougars in the back bush. COUGARS!..COUGARS!
Apparently there are..don't know if they have come south or if the Ministry put them in the area.
At any rate I do not wish to encounter one but thanks for the advise just in case.:shrug:

TeriM
December 31st, 2007, 12:15 AM
:eek: How scary for you JanM. I would rather see a bear anyday over a cougar. I'm pretty sure my two would both protect me with their lives but I'm definately not eager to test that theory! Black bears are generally pretty predictable and not aggressive unless you get between them and a cub. I was rollerblading a few years back and there was a little black cub at the side of the road and the freakin tourists were out with their kids taking a picture :frustrated:. I told them to get the hell out of there! Where baby is .... moma is usually pretty close :eek:.

Lukka'sma
December 31st, 2007, 09:16 AM
I had an animal communicator from Washington State tell me Sable had been in a fight with a cougar...No Way I told her..we don't have cougar's in Ontario.
WRONG! We were between Barrie & Orillia and one of the ladies I was speaking with that had seen Sable last spring said she was worried about him with the cougars in the back bush. COUGARS!..COUGARS!
Apparently there are..don't know if they have come south or if the Ministry put them in the area.
At any rate I do not wish to encounter one but thanks for the advise just in case.:shrug:


Apparently there are several cougars in Ontario. We have heard of multiple sightings in and around London. In one instance inside the city the police had also witnessed the cat and said it was a cougar, but it went into a wooded area and was not seen by them again during that hunt. For a while in the summer you heard of another sighting almost daily, and a couple of attacks on horses and other livestock just outside London had people talking about something more than coyotes. DNA analysis on scat has confirmed it was left by a cougar. I think maybe someone had one as a pet and just couldn't cope so they released it.:sad: