Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

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lpetticord
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Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by lpetticord » September 11th, 2018, 2:25 pm

https://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascou ... _ho_1.html

Says here they believe she was the victim of a cougar attack. This would be the first recorded attack in the wild in OR.

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Water
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by Water » September 11th, 2018, 2:35 pm

super sad regardless of the reason for death (slip and fall.. or animal attack). Goes to show how unlikely a cougar attack is. Wonder if this cougar had health issues or just random bad luck?

fwiw she appears to be smaller in stature, it's off hand recollection but it often seems like they have attacked smaller people and not attacked 6'+ men from some of the accounts I recall.
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lpetticord
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by lpetticord » September 11th, 2018, 2:48 pm

It is incredibly sad. My money is on a diseased cougar, but I'm certainly no expert. I was surprised it was on such a close-in hike. Hopefully they'll be able to track the cougar down

pcg
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by pcg » September 11th, 2018, 3:00 pm

lpetticord wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 2:25 pm
This would be the first recorded attack in the wild in OR.
Some triva...

"An early settler in the area in the 1890's named George Pau was trying to climb to the viewpoint of the Columbia River Gorge. He found a tree lodged against the rock which afforded him handholds to do so. As he neared the summit, he spotted three cougar kittens in a den in the rocks. The kittens' mother came out of the trees at him trapping him at the top. The cougar slashed at him and finally lunged for him. Pau used the cougar's momentum to fling it off the cliff. Bleeding from several wounds, he was able to climb down and make his way back to help. The next day, he and some fellow loggers went back, rescued the kittens which were taken to the Portland zoo. After this, it was named Cougar Rock. (Thanks to Don Nelsen for providing this information and a copy of the newsletter.)"
https://www.summitpost.org/little-cougar-rock/397101

If not for someone finding her pack, this woman may have been forever missing. I suspect there may have been other fatal attacks that we''ll never know about. Gerren Kirk and Riley Zikel come to mind. All very tragic...

nsutherl
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by nsutherl » September 11th, 2018, 4:04 pm

pcg wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 3:00 pm
If not for someone finding her pack, this woman may have been forever missing. I suspect there may have been other fatal attacks that we''ll never know about. Gerren Kirk and Riley Zikel come to mind. All very tragic...
In 2016, I was on the PCT near Jefferson Park when the ground and aerial crews were looking for Riley. It was a weird feeling being out there while an active search was taking place. Every once in a while I google his name but sadly never hear any new news.

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jessbee
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by jessbee » September 11th, 2018, 4:14 pm

pcg wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 3:00 pm
The cougar slashed at him and finally lunged for him. Pau used the cougar's momentum to fling it off the cliff...
Those are some martial arts skills right there.

Interesting to think about how perhaps some forever missing hikers could have suffered the same fate as Diana Bober.

It will also be interesting to see how crazy everybody gets about the risks of hiking, or of hiking solo. These types of incidences have to be so rare as to not even really factor into your risk calculation. At least, they don't factor into mine.

Condolences to the family :(
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pcg
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by pcg » September 11th, 2018, 4:34 pm

jessbee wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 4:14 pm
... the risks of ... hiking solo. These types of incidences have to be so rare as to not even really factor into your risk calculation. At least, they don't factor into mine.
I hike solo and have seen two cougars... from my truck. When cougar attacks first started occurring in Colorado and California (20 years ago?), I did change my habits and quit running solo on trails at dusk, which I enjoyed doing in the woods around my house. Today I carry bear spray (for cougars, not bears) when hiking solo and am especially wary at dusk and dawn, when I'm often about taking photos. I often see cougar spoor, both tracks and scat. Knowing how to behave around cougars, I'm careful, but I'm not fearful. I would love to see one in the wild while hiking. I'm sure they've seen me.

My heart goes out to this woman's family.
Last edited by pcg on September 11th, 2018, 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

justpeachy
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by justpeachy » September 11th, 2018, 4:35 pm

I saw a news van at Zigzag Ranger Station on Sunday and didn't realize until later it's because they found her car there on Saturday. What a sad ending to the story.
It will also be interesting to see how crazy everybody gets about the risks of hiking, or of hiking solo. These types of incidences have to be so rare as to not even really factor into your risk calculation. At least, they don't factor into mine.
I think you're more likely to get in a car accident driving to or from the trailhead than getting attacked by any wild animal while hiking.

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anne37
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by anne37 » September 11th, 2018, 5:01 pm

I don't know if it's super helpful for hikers to harp on this idea any more that it's statistically more dangerous to drive on the freeway or whatever. I do it myself when someone gives me unsolicited advice on solo hiking. However, being eaten is significantly more scary for most people than a car accident. And with 6600 cougars in Oregon and habitat changing, it's only logical and sane to at least examine our behaviors and then decide your personal level of acceptable risk.

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adamschneider
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by adamschneider » September 11th, 2018, 7:03 pm

I just know people are gonna freak out about this and completely ignore the millions of times people have gone out into the woods and did NOT get killed by a cougar.

But I suppose it's good for everyone to get the "make yourself big, fight back, don't run" reminder. Because "hunker down and/or run like hell" would probably be a lot of people's first instinct.

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