Mountain lion/Cougar??

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by james.jimenez, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. After fishing this evenings hatch I jumped in the car to head home. On my way home on a back road near the town of Rainer I found myself chasing a HUGE cat on the side of the road. It ran just ahead of my car for about 100 yards or so before taking a hard right into the bushes.. There is no mistaking that it was a cat, a HUGE cat!!! I expect to see these things and bears when I fish farther north but this sighting was very unexpected for me. Is this sort of thing common down here? Seeing this cat has me thinking twice about breaking brush in the middle of no where by myself..
  2. I would not be surprised in the least of a cougar out by Rainier. They've had cougar sightings (in which they tranquilized and removed ) them practically in dowtown Oly. I used to live north of Oly and we had them out there too. I bet that was pretty cool!
  3. I've been in the PNW seven years now. I came from Ca. In the SF bay area there are cougar sighting in suburbia all the time. Mountain lions need between five and ten sq. mi. of territory per male cat. If a younger cat moves in and the older cat is run off it needs to find new territory. Likewise if a large, but juvenile cat is run out by a more mature male. Since territory is limited these displaced cats are often forced to set up camp closer to populated areas. Cougars have been making a comeback on the west coast for a little more than a decade. The deer are protected (their main food source) and the cats are protected. This could have been predicted. There are simply more cats than there is wilderness to support them. In the Guadalupe lake area of Ca. there is a female that has a couple of kittens every couple of years. And every time the old male shows up and kills them to preserve his territory. It's kind of sad really. If any young lions do grow to an age where they can seek new digs they are often found roaming near cities and subsequently shot dead by authorities. In fact right before I moved here there was a young, but large, mountain lion up in a tree near a high school in San Jose, Ca. It was spotted by kids walking to school on a common route. It had been treed by a dog. Authorities shot it dead. My daughter went to that school at the time.

    The WDFW and other wildlife management authorities on this coast really need to consider opening up a hunting season. Maybe a first up grab or a lottery tag system. A few cats need to be culled occasionally at this point or there's going to be trouble. So Cal had a rash of cougar attacks and even fatalities in the 1990's. Just too many cats near people. And I've read that Vancouver Is. has one of the highest cougar populations per human capita of anywhere!?!

    I say let a few trophy hunters have their day and protect house pets and lady joggers from cougar attacks!

  4. They were here first. It's all of us that need to quit living in their territory. Does Man need to branch out like he's doing when there are so many house not being used in the cities.

    It seems everybody wants a house out in the country. So we chase all the wild animals away. The white man gets his way or they just chase you out or buy you out.
  5. Tony Abaloney and 10incher like this.
  6. Cougars are very common around Corvallis. We take our dog on walks in McDonald Forest which is located at the edge of town. There are bear and cougar beware signs at the trail heads. No one has been attacked but cougar sightings are common... normally at dusk.

    The beware signs indicate that if you do see a cougar, you should flare your coat and make yourself appear as large as possible. Okay, what if you're not wearing a coat?? I'm not a shape-shifter so I can't really suddenly grow larger and if I could, I certainly wouldn't have the day job I have now:D

    A few years ago, a young cougar was spotted roaming around a neighborhood. The ODF&W tried to trap the cougar because house cats were disappearing. The ODF&W failed (what a surprise) and the big cat moved on.

    My good friend and fishing buddy lives a few miles out of town. Earlier this year, he and his wife watched a cougar attack a deer on their property. They also had a outdoor cat that disappeared one night.

    Considering the number of deer and other wildlife in and around Corvallis, the cougars have plenty to eat without attacking humans so we don't worry about cougar attacks. The largest problem is the loss of pet cats.

    As Jim mentioned, they were here first and the town grew into their territory. So you get what you get.
  7. You can kill cougars in WA, like Tim pointed out. Many people would say part of the problem with the population boom was the end of using hounds to hunt them. At the time I was in favor of the ban, and for certain the cougar population has improved.

    They do serve a biological purpose, but opening up the use of hounds, particularly in GMUs near populated areas might be a good way to proactively prune cougar numbers. However, even with the growth they have seen, there still have been few conflicts. I realize if you're the one person attacked by a cougar that year, the word "few" has little meaning.
  8. Yes you can definitely hunt cougars in Washington state, they are not protected. Additionally the deer are not protected either, you can hunt them as well. There are a ton of deer and cougar in this state. However, cougar hunting is next to impossible without the use of hounds and that has been banned in this state unless contracted by the game department for a nuisance animal. Any time you are in the woods you can pretty much assume you've got a cougar in the area probably watching you at some point. I've only seen two cougars in the wild in my years of hunting and fishing. However, I can't count the amount of times I've walked out at the end of the day to see cougar tracks on top of my inbound tracks. They are very curious animals.
  9. I have just recently started to explore the local small rivers and streams around where I live. Sometimes with a battle buddy but more often than not by myself. Seeing this cat so close to where I frequent has me thinking that my pocket knife may not be enough protection. I am confortable carrying my pistol with me but don't want any trouble with local authorities. I don't have my concel carry license and walking up on someone in the middle of no where with a pistol on your hip doesn't always make peopled feel at ease. What do some of you carry for protection?
  10. I wasn't going to post about this because the photo is so poor. But once every twenty years or so I've been fortunate enough to spot a cougar. I'll turn 60 this winter so it was my turn again this week to spot the third cougar I've seen out in the woods, where like a lot of us here I've spent an awful lot of my time.
    I was done fishing and was driving down a logging road in the evening, I came around a bend and the big cat with the long tail was loping down the road about 200' ahead of me. It ran from one side of the road to the other looking for a way to escape. I stopped the truck and it stopped and looked back at me for a moment. I grabbed my camera off the seat and as I stuck it out the window it took off running straight down the road. About 300' away is when I got this one crummy picture of it. Maybe I'll see another one before I turn 80!
    10incher likes this.
  11. James, do some reading about cougar encounters if you think there's a good chance of seeing one up close. There are some good, easy tips that work well. First and foremost, make yourself as big as possible,( i.e. waving arms above your head, yelling at the cat).

    There are some good articles of elk hunters coming face to face (online now I'm sure), that give good advice.

    Just remember, the only thing that runs from a cat.... is prey.
    10incher likes this.
  12. James,
    I won't diminish the mental impact of seeing a large wild carnivore out in the woods. But realize the odds of being attacked by wild animals pale relative to the chances of being in a fatal accident on the highway while driving to the fishing grounds. Seeing wildlife is one of the main reasons I enjoy going into wild places.
    I am much more concerned about domestic animals like aggressive dogs and/or crazy people I may come across while I'm "out there". Those, in my opinion are a greater concern to me than wild animals.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  13. I assumed the cougar protection extended beyond Ca. since Washington often seems to be on the same page WRT these sorts of things. And I know that deer can be hunted. But the number of tags is limited. In Ca. there are not only limited tags but a lot of area restriction as well.

    And I'm sorry if I offended anyone with my position. Certainly it could be interpreted as humans being invasive. But that's not how I meant it. However, we are invasive. And we're here to stay. And I'm a human so I'm particularly interested in staying out of the macro food chain. My suggestion of culling was intended for the good of the cats as well. With limited habitat displaced cats suffer great stress and are ultimately killed anyway. What really got to me was the big male on Guadalupe lake that kills his own male kittens regularly. I know they don't reason and feel like we do but it still seems tragic. Since the humans aren't leaving it seems like the best thing for all involved is for we invasive humans to step up and care for the cats now. And keeping their number suitable for their available habitat is a reasonable part of that.

    The weapon I carried was a 10" blade bowie with a wrist lanyard. If you need to fight a cat it's going to be hand to hand combat (or, rather, hand to huge scary fangs and claws combat). A big knife is a good tool in that sort of fight. If your licensed to carry, a handgun would probably be alright too. I don't think a rifle would be good for much with a cat holding onto you. Someone else here, who qualified their position, said that bear spray can be dangerous because it's easy to spray yourself accidentally or incidentally when grappling an animal. Makes sense to me.
  14. I agree...Mostly. And I don't worry much about wild animal attacks. Then again it's not the sort of thing that gets priority until it's happening. And then it's a real bummer. What with all the teeth and claws and such. And as far as the statistics... Statistics are very easy to misinterpret. For example, a guy who works in an office in the city and only gets close to woods twice a year during the company picnic and a family outing at a campground DEFINITELY is at a lower risk of cougar attack than a highway fatality. BUT... The guy who stomps up lightly used game trails by themselves in remote wilderness and cat territory every weekend may not enjoy the same statistical advantage. After all, someone has to become a statistic for cougar attacks. Which of those two individuals do you think it will be?
    Munro and flyfool like this.
  15. I'll take my chances...
  16. I say issue more cougar tags and bring back the hound hunting! A friend of mine shot a cougar that was crouched on a ledge above him and looking down at him on the trail when he was walking in somewhere to hunt for deer. The meat was really excellent!
  17. James,

    I heard that a fifth of Southern Comfort is one of the best cougar baits out around Rainier and Yelm. Oh! You mean the other kind of cougar.
    Congratulations for spotting a Rainier cougar! I've lived here all my life and only saw one in the wild, and that was up north in British Columbia.

    You don't need a CPL to carry either open or concealed in WA when you are hunting, fishing, camping, or on your way to or from hunting, fishing, or camping. A gun probably won't do you much good if you are attacked by a cougar because they are ambush predators. If one decides to attack you, the first inckling you're likely to have is the sudden feeling of your neck/spinal cord being crushed. At that point, neither a knife or pistol is likely to be of much use. But if it makes you feel safer, by all means carry. The best carry weapon is the one you're least likely to shoot yourself in the foot with. Cuz once you shoot your foot, you're wounded, and when you're wounded in predator country, you're prey.

    As mentioned in an above post, the greater danger in enjoying the great outdoors is the risk of being in a car accident on the way to or from, or encountering a low-life human predator in the woods. I think the historical record of cougar caused fatalities in WA state is zero, or maybe one, like a hundred years ago.

    BTW, how was fishing?

  18. Cougar is excellent table fare. Possibly the best wild game meat. Cooked right, if you didn't tell someone what it was, they'd believe they were eating pork chops.
  19. My older sister asked for seconds until I told her it was meat from the bear Dad killed a few days earlier. I think the year was 1959, or maybe '60.
    I caught hell for that. My sister still hates me...! :D
  20. Oh, and Dad still gets a chuckle out of the story!

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