Cougar encounter serves as a reminder to prepare

Safety Alert Type: 
Loon Lake (east of Clinton, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Montane Forest Consultants Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While a forestry technician was flagging a harvest boundary, an adult cougar started following his dog. The dog was approximately 15 metres ahead of the technician. Between the technician yelling and Billy (the dog) turning around, the cougar initially ran off.

The technician got out his bear spray; knife and radio then called his partner informing him of the situation and urged him to return to their truck. The technician then started walking backwards towards the existing road. After not seeing the cougar for a while, he decided it would be quicker to go through the blow down facing forward.

As the worker was making his way out he heard a few foot falls behind him, turned around and the cougar was immediately behind him (2 metres). The technician sprayed a burst of bear spray hitting the cat in the face at which point it turned and ran away.

The worker returned to the truck without seeing the cougar again. It appeared to have been a young cat, and its behavior appeared predatory towards the dog, which was right beside the worker when the bear spray was used.

NOTE: During late spring and summer, one to two-year old cougars become independent of their mothers. While attempting to find a home range, these young cougars may roam widely in search of unoccupied territory. This is when cougars are most likely to conflict with humans.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Work in groups of two or more. Make enough noise to prevent surprising a cougar.

• Watch for cougar tracks and signs. Cougars cover unconsumed portions of their kills with soil and leaf litter. Avoid these food caches.

• Ensure field personnel carry bear spray. Test before departing for the woods to ensure it will work when actually needed.

If a cougar behaves aggressively:

• Arm yourself with a large stick, throw rocks and speak loudly and firmly. Convince the cougar that you are a threat, not prey. Never turn your back on the animal.

• If a cougar attacks, fight back! Many people have survived cougar attacks by fighting back with anything, including rocks, sticks, bare fists and fishing poles.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Montane Forest Consultants Ltd. (250) 395-4025


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