Yep, you read that right. A COUGAR. I’ve been flapping my lips lately about how our location close to the city means that we have few predators. While I did deal with a skunk last June, I haven’t lost any thing to any of the usual suspects. We can hear the coyotes call out the bedroom window regularly, but our professionally built fence keeps them on the outside.
Enter the cougar. I was alerted about 3 weeks ago that the News Register had run a story about some sheep and house cats being killed by what looked like a cougar. The kill matched a cougar’s MO, and they had some tracks verifying. Concurrent to that, a cougar was seen walking down the road. What’s more the kills and the sighting were less than a half mile from our property. I started to lock the livestock up tight at night thinking that the danger would pass eventually and that that would be the end of it.
On Tuesday, we discovered that our neighbor had a ewe and a lamb killed that night. It looked to be the same cougar and the kill happened about 45 feet from our property line. My reaction–HELL NO. I called it in to the police and fish and game and then I called all the friends I have that hunt. Very kindly, one of my dear friends headed out that night and had a go at calling it in, but it had just got a big kill the night before and wasn’t interested.
This all led me to hone up my shooting skills and get out the rifle. I headed out and got a cougar tag myself. While many of the people around here have livestock just for fun or for lawn mowing, my livestock is valuable breeding stock, and a loss of just one animal is a huge loss for me. That coupled with the fact that I have small kids and I spend a lot of time outside at night (cougars are nocturnal), has led me to decide I’ll be doing a little hunting of my own.
We have a friend who has first hunting rights on our property each year, and I called him up, and he was game to catch a cat, so we headed out at midnight to have a go at it. We got some things set up and potentially saw something in the distance, but it never came in close enough to get a good shot on it. We had a few visits from some other wildlife and almost got a shot or two off at a coyote, but no cougar.
And so, until I’ve got myself a cougar rug, I’m going on a cougar hunt!