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January 13, 2006


Awesome post. I learned something. And great perspective. I don't know enough about cougars and deer to add anything to your investigation into what killed those deer, but I am happy to hear someone else who lives in Oregon's cougar country who is willing to leave the big cats be. (I'm south of you, near Eugene.)

Had an interesting discussion on this issue a few days ago on my blog: http://greenink.resist.ca/?p=11.

A couple of years ago, our neighbor made plaster casts of cougar tracks in the mud around a pond not far from our homes. Friends who ride horseback on the trails west of us have often seen deer that they believe were killed by a cougar. But we haven't seen any evidence of one closer than that.

We have cougar kills out here too, and that sounds like it. Just keep your eyes open when walking, scan the underbrush ahead, and keep your ears alert for what is behind because it's not like the cougar has some moral reason to not attack humans. There are techniques to avoid trouble with them though if you see them first.

It happens that Oregon has never had a cougar kill a human (I think the only western state that has not). Joggers are most at risk and bicyclists because of how they appear to be prey.

Cougars have killed sheep on the hill just above us and deer carcasses have been found (all as you describe); but so far left our sheep and calves alone. We also have a live and let live attitude until something threatens us or ours.

One year we had something killing our newborn lambs right in the barns. We had a trapper come over to look at the kills as they were unusual looking (skulls peeled) and turned out raccoon was doing it. Early one morning, my husband saw a large coon heading for the barn... Perhaps being a nature lover, you'd rather not hear the rest of the story. :) (We had been worried until he identified the kill that maybe it had been a bobcat and that would have been a hard choice as who wants to kill one of those but who also wants their lambs killed night after night with the ewes mourning their losses!)

Check with the local game warden before jumping to conclusions. The Willamette Valley is full of packs of nominally domestic dogs that tend to do the same sort of damage as a cougar but for sport rather than food. Last spring, ranchers suspected that a cougar had killed calves outside of Brownsville in an area more rural than your neighborhood. Turned out to be loose dogs. The fact that you saw two kills so close together militates strongly for something other than a cougar that, like most cats, typically hunts just for food.

I agree with your sentiments about the wild cats; take care not to needlessly inflame those that disagree with you.

Interesting find. We have a small ranch in the coastal mountains and see kills of all kinds regularly. Only one of the fawns looks to have a neck or spinal punture wound. The dragging and separation of pats is commn to cats. The surface hide removal is probably raccoons or possum. I have seem racoons drag small lambs (10-15 pounds)or parts, but never a whole carcass. Raccoons are amazing strong and can soak up a lot of lead before they stop trying to attack the end of your boots. Fawns this early are survively stressed. They could have push by dogs , but dogs usually tear at a kill and it is never nice. Coyotes get the neck and it is fast. Cats get the neck and spine. Watch your small pets, cougar love them. Our neighbor had a cougar trying to get into his kennel to get the pups.

I just moved into a forested area a few months ago. Neighbours have cited both bears and cougars. Since I've been here, I have found 5 dead deer - all yearlings or so and all eaten away.

Yesterday my found another deer - this time about 100 yards from my house. It's body is intact - My fear is that I came home and scared off a cougar just after killing the deer... we live in the middle of 90 forested acres. I can't imagine it was hit by a car, but perhaps a poacher injured it and it ran in ther to die.

I love having cougars around, but a kill that close to my house and pets scares me. I have been keeping the cats and dogs inside.

Do you know of any good cites where I can learn about cougars - where to look for tracks, scat, etc?

I am very familiar with cougar habits. We hike often in heavy cougar country and where we live they have a number of cougar. They will take pets, dogs, cats, goats and yes, they can carry smaller pets (probably up to 60 pounds and jump 6' fences. They have been known to drag entire deer carcasses into trees with them so coyotes can't share their meal. But they kill ONLY to eat (except in very rare cases where they have gone kill crazy and then they must be put down as they become EXTREMELY dangerous to humans) They will most often drag their meal off and usually will try to bury the remains for later or put it in a tree as mentioned. Finding more than one deer in a spot and each only partially eaten makes me wonder a bit. Often times domestic dogs will run a deer to death (it is very easy for a deer to overheat and die of stress) and just chew on it a bit. Are there any bite marks around the neck. Cougar kill their prey by suffocation or breaking the neck but in any case they get there mouth on the neck. There would be big tooth marks there every time. It is also possible a dog killed it and the cougar came through and claimed one of the deer. But DO fear the animal. They are beautiful and graceful and a thrill to watch but they are strictly hunting meat eating machines and truly are a danger to small children at any time. Very often, having a dog close by will keep the cougar away from close contact. I carry a revolver every time I hike in cougar country, for self defense only but it is neccesary. Please, always take your dog with you when you walk around out there, and be vigilant.

It is possible that the deer that were killed were by a cougar, but a cougar usually doesn't kill for the heck of it. And if it was a cougar that did it, then you would have seen alot of it along time ago. One other reason I doubt it was a cougar that did it is because the pictures I saw were a deer that had not been completely eaten. When a cougar is done eating their food and there is still meat left over, they flick brush and leaves and other debree on it and then they mark it with urine to indicate that it is ther meat and that they will be comming back for it.

what could i do to stop a cougar at my home. how to find out if it is a cougar or not.

We went camping at Target Meadows in the Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon.
It was around 7am and we were sitting around camp watching deer with an occasional fawn in the meadow. We heard a stange noise, one that we had never heard. It was like a shrill of screams...not human.
We thought nothing more of it and within 10 minutes my husband decides to take a ride on the ATV to retrieve our dogs leash we left behind. Upon his return he dirves pat camp and sees a fawn in the road. There are fresh wet paw prints on the gravel road around the spotted fawn. These tracks were so fresh that my husband could see the pads of the paw print. There were drag marks where it was drug across the road. The neck of the freshly killed fawn had puncture wounds on each side of his neck. We think a cougar killed the fawn and my husband frightened it as the cougar was crossing the road.
This was only 300 feet from our camp site and there were many other campers in the immediate area. Most with ATV's....
I am surprised a cougar would come close to people and noise....

that is very sad cause i lived on a farm and grew up with deer

very interesting topic of cougars,we live in cougar country as well.I have two Karelian bear dogs and they always let us know if there something out in the woods as they can smell and hear very well.we just had our friends come to our home and told us there`s been a cougar sighting beside our house.we not panic,because there we always have cougars,moose,deer,and blackbears.So later I notice ravens perching on a huge fir tree about 25 meters from our house.I knew there has been a kill out in the bush not far at all from our dogs.because we weren`t home the dogs always go crazy barking up a storm hearing the deer screaming from predators.So I went over the fence to find what I saw that something was dragged through the snow to the bushes.when I went in I saw laying there a deer that was partially eaten and has leaves and twigs on it.I know it's been a cougar kill with only meters from it was deer hair piled up about a meter round,and a bed there too.Im really happy about my beardogs because they do protect and warn you if anything at anytime is near by.I reccomend beardogs to people who live in or near wooded areas.

hi i also live around mnt lions here in angeles nat forest ca .ive seen one only in 8 years ,but see tracks at times .here a neighbor has goats on a farm behind a 7 ft high fence , a large mnt lion jumped over fence killed 90 pound goat and jumped back over fence with goat in his mouth , amazing animal. attacks on humans are real rare ,but do occur .i fiqure it this way we are on /in there terriorty visiting .and as more and more homes get built towards forest area its taking from them,.the forest is theres

Never make the mistake that the beauty, grace, and power of a cougar have anything to do with anything other than being the immaculate predator they are. As for your personal secutity, there are tactics which will discourage most attacks, primarily never run, face the animal, and make yourself appear as large as possible.

A cat's repeated appearances around an active home would be reason for concern, they are under normal circumstances very circumspect about human activity. A cougar is NOT a good neighbor for anything it outweighs.

Black bears also will kill goats and deer. Our neighbor lost 2 goats to bear. It was a positive ID because a state trapper came and set up a snare trap using the left over goat remains as bait. The bear came back next night, got caught in the wire-rope snare, climbed a nearby tree to escape and hung itself. It was a beautiful 300 pound female bear. Personally I think if someone puts goats in a forest they are risking goats. The bear was in its own territory doing what it does to survive. Oregon has 25000-30000 black bears, 5000 cougars.

I live in Somerset, in the South-West of England, and found your site very useful, as the photo of the deer killed by a Cougar showed a virtually identical kill to that of a sheep my dog (GSP!) found in a wood here yesterday!

This may help as conclusive proof of the existence and killing power of the Cougars that live in the woods here.

Angela Boyd

Cougars are known to go after goats. They used goats as bait to draw in tigers. They must be like chocolate to them. Yes a cougar can jump a 6 ft fence with the goat in its mouth. So if the animal that killed the dear had to drag them it was not a cougar. It is rare they leave any sign of prey behind. I suspect another animal that is not an accomplished predator. Cougars are getting alot of false press lately. One fact is Cougar - human confrontations are the least likely to happen of all our North American predators out there. Thanks. Marylaine from Montana

Just 2 days ago we had a cougar kill and eat one of our goats here in Western Oregon. My husband and I both saw it in the early morning and our dog chased it off. We have heard alot about them dragging and leaving the kill not far and coming back to it. So we had some professional trackers get permission to bring dogs and try to tree the cougar. No luck. This particluar cougar really left the area. We know it will be back so we are being very cautious with our other animals. We also have 4 children so they are not playing outside now until this cat is caught. The goat's hind quarters had been very neatly removed and either eaten or drug off to the trees. We are now hoping that the cougar will come back to finish his meal so that he'll leave a clean fresh scent for the dogs to track. A very interesting weekend for us!

Found a fresh cougar kill this am in southern ia. Killed in one spot, drug a few yards and pulled the hide off back to front, no entrails, just the rumen, hide left a few feet from the carcass, small deer, ribs on one side gone, grass filled the lung area, broke neck, no blood except for a small blob near the carcass.
ground was frozen, but found scratch marks from the attempted cover up.
cat tracks on the same trail 2 months earlier. no dogs, coyotes or other carnivor's in the area that would come close to this type of kill.

I am in an area that they claim there are no "documented" cases of cougars, however there have been many sightings reported. I found what appeared to be a deer dumped by a person at this one place I frequent and a day or two later went back and it was gone. I found all 4 hoofs though. Could this be a cougar?? I never found the bones or any other part of the cougar. I am in Waco Texas area.

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