Cougar Killed In Oregon

BY Herschel Smith
9 months, 1 week ago

Fred Tippens sends this.

WESTFIR — A cougar was shot and killed Sunday at Casey’s Riverside RV Park in Westfir after it had spent at least a week prowling around the mobile home portion of the park, residents said Thursday.

“It was after the feral cats,” Gayle Murphy, 68, said. She lives at the park between Highway 58 and the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, just west of Oakridge.

The 100-pound, male mountain lion was full grown but thin, Murphy said. Recently, she said, the animal had crawled onto the porches of her neighbor. It would come in from the nearby forest, following a dry creek bed.

“The cat had a pattern,” she said. “He was (at the park) about every other night.”

The cougar was shot about 100 yards from Murphy’s fifth-wheel trailer, where she’s lived for the past year, she said.

The man who shot the cougar has parents who live in the mobile home park, said Randy Christian, owner of the park. He said the cougar, which residents had seen off and on for at least a week, came into their backyard and the son shot at it.

“There were two shots,” Christian said. “One shot hit the cougar, and it ran down into the trees and they found it dead down there.”

He said the man then called Oregon State Police. An OSP wildlife trooper responded, didn’t issue any citations and took the cougar’s carcass.

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy in Salem said the shooting was allowed under state law. “The person who took the cougar was legal to do so under statutes that allow killing of cougars causing damage or public safety issues,” she said.

She confirmed that the cougar had been at the mobile home park recently and it had killed house cats. She added that the mountain lion was two or three years old and thin for its age.

ODFW officials estimate about 6,400 wild cougars live in Oregon, Dennehy said, particularly in the southwest Cascades Range and the Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon.

Nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Range, Westfir is in mountain lion country.

“There is a healthy population of cougars that live in that area,” Dennehy said.

The presence of the mountain lion had unnerved mobile home park residents, Murphy said.

“This cat was definitely too used to this environment, and he either needed to be moved or shot because he was a danger to us,” she said.

Mid-way through the article I was about to say that they only made one mistake – they called the police.  On the other hand, it sounds as if he reacted with some wisdom.

Look, for all of you environmentalist types who think we’re invading their territory and we should just learn to live with them because we’re in their back yard, not ours, you’ll think that way until a mountain lion takes the scalp off a friend or family member and kills them (it’s happened before).  Then you’ll change your mind if you have any sense at all.

Always carry guns.  You can no more let an animal harm you and destroy your belongings than let a man do it.

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  1. On October 13, 2017 at 11:54 pm, MadMagyar said:

    “Live and let live” is an iffy proposition with a big cat. I lived at the end of a dirt road 16 miles outside Sedona back in the 80’s. There were no phone lines out that far. My nearest neighbors were an old couple in their 90’s (about 2 miles down the road), so yelling for help if I were in trouble was out of the question. Not long after I moved there, a healthy female started nosing around, but kept her distance – about 200 – 300 yards. Not long after that, I also noticed a smaller cub following her. At first all I saw was their tails between bushes in the distance, but soon I got the “feeling” (hairs literally stood up on the back of my neck) when they were around and I saw more and more of their bodies as they jumped from one part of their trail to another, eventually catching a full view of each of them. But they didn’t come any closer for a long time – months passing by with only their voices occasionally breaking the silence.

    I made an almost fatal mistake one time about 6 months after I moved there, when I went for a long hike up a nearby canyon, late in Summer. Coming back down around sunset, I lost the trail and went too far along the creek that formed the small canyon. Doubling back to a familiar place kept me out until well past dark, and the late phase of the moon and cloud cover made it pitch back, so I opted to climb down into the creek bed where I could pick up the trail back to the cabin. Before I could climb back out, I got “the feeling”, and within seconds I heard the lion’s short, sharp call (I described it as a mix between a growl and scream – not at all like the calls dubbed into TV travelogues of the 50’s – 60’s). She was above me up on the creek bank, probably not more than 20 feet from where I stood frozen. I was totally defenseless, armed with only a folding pocket knife, which I pulled out in the hopes it wouldn’t be my last use of it. She called a few more times and all I could think to do was sound more menacing and dangerous than some tasty tidbit – so I yelled and screamed as loud as I could back at her. Apparently she decided I was more trouble than it was worth, and decided to let me live that night, stalking off along the path, her occasional call telling me that she’d finally gone away. It was a long time before I got the courage to climb up and out of there to very cautiously make my way back home.

    Later that year, before the snows got too thick, a wildlife videographer came to the ranch and stopped by asking if I minded him passing through with his pack horses and dogs, as he was tracking the lion to film her for a TV show. He promised to stop back by and loan me any videotape he shot for viewing, which I appreciated. The film was well worth watching, as the best footage of my big cat neighbor showed her gracefully jumping from one rock jutting out from the escarpment they were on to another, attempting to get away from the bothersome dogs. They followed her up to a point where the distance between them was about as far as she could reach with her front paw – which she did after tiring of the incessantly barking hound who’d dared to get too close. Smack! went one lightning quick swipe at the poor dog’s nose and he turned and ran yelping back down the rock path, leaving the rest to continue their taunting. Then she turned and leapt about 20 feet from one ledge to another as if it were no effort at all – a distance far too much for the dogs to continue their chase.

    I’d acquired a .22 that year, just in case I had to use it, and was glad, as a friend and her young son had moved up there with me by then. About a year later the cat began gradually coming closer and closer to the cabin where we lived. My thought was that if she decided a smaller version of the two-leggeds might be an easy catch, she’d probably try it. Over a period of weeks I heard (and saw) her coming closer and closer, to the point where she was within a few dozen yards of our makeshift outhouse, where we might visit at night if necessary. I was torn between my Cherokee grandmother’s blood in me and respect for all animals and basic survival instincts, but decided this beautiful, majestic lady was coming a little too close. One day I took careful aim and put just one shot at the rock wall directly over her head, sending shards scattering all around her. That was all the warning she needed and we never saw her anywhere near the cabin again, though we would still hear her calling once in a while – way off in the distance.

    While I’d never kill one unless absolutely necessary, I agree with the actions of the man in the story above – that cat was getting just a little too close for comfort, and could’ve just as easily taken down a slow-moving elder as one of the house cats it had killed (probably seeing them as a territorial threat to its meager hunting ground). As far out in the wilderness as Westfir is, I’d carry any time I went outside. There are many more wild things than just big cats out there. I still live in Northern Arizona and although I’ve never seen or heard any of the lighter-colored cats around here, I did catch a black one in my headlights as it leaped across a two-lane road in one bound back in 2001, beautiful but disconcerting at the same time.


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This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published October 12th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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