Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

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

Post by aiwetir » September 12th, 2018, 9:46 pm

While this cat was just doing it's animal thing, I don't mind officials going and hunting all the cats out of an area, sometimes people need to do things to make other people feel better and someone died so that makes sense to me. I don't like the idea though.

As someone who's done somewhere in the order of 500 pre dawn bird surveys completely alone, mostly in forested landscapes far from help, I can tell you that I'm not at the top of the food chain out there. I've seen plenty of bears (been bluff charged by one) and have been lucky enough not to ever see a cougar while on foot.

I can tell you they've seen me and if they wanted me to see them, I assume they would have shown themselves.
I've seen scat on logs that I've crawled over two hours earlier - meaning that it's followed me and pooped where I might see it on the way out.
I've seen tracks in the snow literally minutes or seconds behind me (just long enough for me to write some numbers on a strip of flagging, tie it to something and walk out). This was on a wide open snowy road and I assume had I turned around I would have seen it. :shock:

The weirdest I've ever felt in the woods have been followed by seeing cougar sign. The most scared I've been is after being bluff charged by a bear and the second most scared I've been is when I tipped my truck seat back to take a nap and saw a rack of clothing hung nicely on hangers in the middle of f*ing nowhere.

Cougars are smart, they attack small, elderly or young, you will not see them coming unless they want you to to test your reaction. If they are testing you, you should do your best to pass that test and go Super Saiyan on them.

By all means carry a big can of bear spray or a gun if you're so inclined. Just keep in mind that incidents like this are so very rare even with 2 close by this year. The most dangerous thing you will do on your hike is get in the car to go to and from home.
- Michael

Brian95
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by Brian95 » September 13th, 2018, 5:03 am

Thuja wrote:
September 12th, 2018, 8:11 pm
I’ve been up there twice earlier this year, always with other people. The first time we had a very non-barky dog with us, who suddenly at mile 3.5 stared off into the distance and started barking ferociously at nothing it seemed. We got a bit creeped out and decided to turn around, and warn people who were coming towards us. The next time I went was with two other people loudly chatting (meaning we are unlikely to encounter a cougar), but saw unmistakable cougar scat piles a few miles further than the first time I went. A friend of mine was night-hiking near devil’s peak recently and found a fresh kill on the trail on the way back that wasn’t there before. I believe with all the rocky terrain there maybe a cougar den on hunchback rather than a roaming cougar deer hunting ( saw no deer scat or prints either time). I don’t believe they will have much issue finding the cougar, as I believe it spends much of his time up there. I’m glad I never hiked hunchback alone, or this story could’ve been me, a solo hiking 5’4” female (this event is hitting way too close to home, can you tell?). I wonder about the mace, which implies the small spray meant for other humans, rather than the larger bear spray bottles, which may be more effective for cougars. Then again, it didn’t specify and I’m just speculating.
I agree with the premise of this post, based on my experience hiking this trail (I remember that we actually ran into each other on the trail). When I got close to the top of the ridge, I began to get that uneasy feeling, like something I couldn't see was watching me. I quickly hurried on. The birds, normally so loud along other nearby trails, were also nearly silent, and I saw no animals of any sort for a long time. All signs that I could see pointed to the presence of cougar regularly prowling in the area. Considering it's not a very good trail anyways, I certainly won't be back.

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retired jerry
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by retired jerry » September 13th, 2018, 5:35 am

Unfortunately, just kill that one cat. They also do that for bears and goats after they attack a human.

Whenever I see a story about this, then they proceed to other stories including humans dying in the city from car crash, murder, whatever... Cougar and bear attacks are rare, maybe worth thinking about a bit. Make sure your camera is ready for the 99.9...% of the cases when you're not attacked.

I've been wondering about air horns too Chip. I have heard that anecdotally, they have worked. They have these electronic devices that have a pin that you pull and it makes a loud noise. For people to protect themselves in the city. Probably weigh less, just as loud, last longer than air horn.

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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by squidvicious » September 13th, 2018, 4:01 pm

Wow, the closure area is huge! Hope they find this thing soon. Running of places to hike.
Thuja wrote:
September 12th, 2018, 8:11 pm
A friend of mine was night-hiking near devil’s peak recently and found a fresh kill on the trail on the way back that wasn’t there before
I was up on Devil's Peak 9/6. I didn't see another soul all day, which was both great and slightly unsettling, as I did have wildlife on my mind. When I saw this was on Hunchback, I told myself hey, he was miles away... so thanks for the "fresh kill on the trail" image! Definitely not going to have nightmares about that.

As someone who's actually encountered a cougar on a trail, I did gain a little confidence that I will respond properly. And I think (maybe naively?) that a cougar that you *see* is a cougar that's not really that interested in you. But I'm not in a hurry to see one again, especially as a solo hiker.

I wish we could know what all exactly did happen out there. I have so many questions.

scrambler2
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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by scrambler2 » September 14th, 2018, 12:27 am

timbernet wrote:
September 12th, 2018, 2:44 pm
I wonder if the ol' laser pointer trick or a stick with a feather on the end would work in distracting the cougar....


(joking!)
You should ask the "expert" from the wildlife park that someone mentioned upthread. :lol:
PCT class of 2012

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

Post by Schrauf » September 14th, 2018, 6:54 am

Chip Down wrote:
September 12th, 2018, 6:50 pm
I have to admit I wasn't sure how to respond to a cougar encounter until today. Good to know it's the same as a bear encounter. When in crisis mode, you really don't want to have to stop and think about what the strategy is for each particular animal.
There's some important differences, although the most important rule of "don't turn your back and don't run away" is the same. With a cougar, act large and aggressive immediately, as long the animal is not cornered and can retreat on it's own. With a bear, usually they will be happy to scamper off as soon as they see you, and if you act aggressive too quickly, it might encourage a switch from flight mode or curious mode, to attack mode. So be assertive, but not aggressive unless the bear continues to approach. Similarly, stare aggressively at a cougar, but avoid direct eye contact with a bear (until you need to be aggressive). If actual contact is made, never stop fighting a cougar, but with a bear some recommend playing dead first if the bear seems more curious than aggressive, but then fighting back if the bear gets rough.

These sites have reasonable summaries -
http://outdoorend.com/wildlife-safety-l ... ars-oh-my/
http://www.discovervancouverisland.com/ ... ar-safety/

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

Post by pcg » September 14th, 2018, 9:06 am

Schrauf wrote:
September 14th, 2018, 6:54 am
...with a bear some recommend playing dead first if the bear seems more curious than aggressive, but then fighting back if the bear ...
In general, bears (both black and grizzly) can exhibit two types of behavior that can be dangerous - predatory and aggressive. The appropriate response differs for each. People have died fighting back when they should have played dead and they have died playing dead when they should have fought back. There are many factors to consider and you can learn a lot by reading Stephen Herrero's Bear Attacks Their Causes and Avoidances.

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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by adamschneider » September 14th, 2018, 9:20 am

I don't even think about black bear attacks; except in very rare circumstances, they're basically big chickens. The last time I came upon one (near the Strawberry Mountain trailhead), it bolted so quickly when it saw me that it literally left a cloud of dust behind.

Cougars do make me a little nervous, but not enough to curtail my hiking. I'd love to see one someday — from my car.

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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by Thuja » September 14th, 2018, 9:22 am

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Last edited by Thuja on March 8th, 2019, 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Missing hiker believed to be victim of cougar attack

Post by aiwetir » September 14th, 2018, 5:19 pm

pcg wrote:
September 14th, 2018, 9:06 am
...you can learn a lot by reading Stephen Herrero's Bear Attacks Their Causes and Avoidances.
I only recommend that book to someone of the right temperament who is not going out to the wilderness any time soon. Everyone I know who has read that book (including me) has been terrified for days afterwards.
- Michael

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