Think Before Entering a Wilderness Area

Don’t act like prey. And try to remember you’re only an apex predator when properly armed. Cougar encounter near Corvallis renews debate over big cats in Oregon.

A guy running through cougar country has an encounter with a large cat.

He did his best to scare it off, yelling and waving his arms, but the cat crept steadily toward him, finally approaching so close that he was able to kick it in the head.

The startled mountain lion vanished into the woods, and Idema, thinking the animal was gone, turned and began running for home. But when he looked over his shoulder, he saw the cat was back — and gaining on him rapidly.

You can’t outrun a wild animal; certainly not if that animal is a cougar. Don’t try. He was saved by some hikers and their dog. The cougar was, eventually, tracked and killed, which has the “nature is cute and cuddly” brigade up in arms.

He’s more likely to run with a group now, and less likely to run in the early morning or evening hours. He’s started carrying one of those really loud emergency whistles, and last week he bought a canister of bear spray.

Which is better than nothing. Slightly.

2 thoughts on “Think Before Entering a Wilderness Area

  1. One morning, while the town was still asleep, I dropped my wife off at work as typical. I spied two mature mountain lions, [i]puma concolor[/i] wandering the streets. That is, one was ambling in our direction at our 4 o’clock while the other was stalk still looking at us from about 75 yards away

    I felt safe because the car was between them and us and perhaps we could make it to the car. But more so it was because of the iron strapped to my hip. And I knew what our behaviors should be (do not turn your back, etc) and I recognized their tactics.

    I’ve also had encounters with black bears (sometimes with cubs), Elk, rabid skunks and all this in rural/urban towns which is to say not in the brush. Outside of human centers such encounters can be expected more often. I shake my heads when people say they are going for a run along a hilly trail, especially in times of drought. Them folks foolishly put themselves and the animal at risk. Risk is okay and acceptable, when it is managed. But these fools are ill equipped, incapable even, to manage risk even if they are aware of the risks.

    I enjoy tracking more than hunting these days. Several times I found myself being tracked by large game while tracking a cat, sheep, buck, or so. Then there was that one time in the high Sierra in the late autumn snow with an adult Grizzly. Check Six


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