The Cougar is a huge cat, I think I got a picture of a footprint in the mud at Crowston lake yesterday.
The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther, depending on the region, is a mammal of the family Felidae, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in every major American habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the Western Hemisphere, after the jaguar. Although large, the cougar is most closely related to smaller felines and is closer genetically to the domestic cat than to true lions. Like the smaller felines, the cougar is nocturnal.
I am showing some images with hunters, just so you can relate to the size of these pussy cats. They can jump a six-foot fence with a deer in the mouth.
The print was next to a sliding print of an elk, sliding on the front legs
A Nanaimo woman had a Cougar with a deer carcass in her back yard
And here is a clip of a Cougar swimming across Sechelt Inlet. These fellows are lucky. If the cougar had entered their boat they would have faced a certain death. I would be surprised if the Fish and Wildlife Officers are not having a serious talk to the responsible on this boat.
I have only seen one live, wild, in 1967, working up Jacklah River in Muchalat Inlet, off Gold River, on the north-west coast of Vancouver Island. We worked there all summer, thinning forest that had been logged fifteen years earlier. We selected the best trees, every eight feet. They had not been planted, so this was natural reforestation, and with the selective thinning, the forest became really productive. I visited a few years later, and it is hard to believe how nice the forest had regrown.
You can feel when somebody, or something, is watching you, and the cougar was watching, every day, from a mountain cliff, a fair distance away. Once we knew it was there, we could watch with binoculars, and in the gun scope, but there was no reason to kill. It is really an incredible animal, not just a big pussycat.
But, one day, coming to work, I found a deer, dead, but not cold. The belly had been ripped open, the unborn fawn killed, and partly eaten. I had never seen anything so gruesome, revolting, how can one animal do this to another.
The next morning I brought my gun, in this case a Winchester 30-30, centennial 1967 model, short barrel, octagonal barrel, and a saddle ring, a collectors item. A thing of beauty. Carefully approaching the killing scene from the day before, I was surprised, and relieved, that the whole deer was gone, site clean. Following the trail, I could see that the cougar had dragged the deer all the way up to its mountain cave.
I actually felt relieved, that the killing was not a waste, the cougar probably had young ones up there to feed. But I am still touched by that scene, 40 years later.