Cougar safety

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offers these tips for residents:

  • Learn your neighborhood and be aware of any wildlife corridors or places where deer gather.
  • Walk pets during the day and keep them on a leash.
  • Keep pets indoors at dawn and dusk. Shelter them for the night.
  • Feed pets indoors.
  • Don't leave food and garbage outside.
  • Use animal-proof garbage cans if cans must be outside.
  • Remove heavy brush from near the house and play areas.
  • Install motion-activated lights outdoors.
  • Be more cautious around dawn and dusk.
  • Do not feed any wildlife. By attracting other wildlife, you may attract a cougar.
  • Keep areas around bird feeders clean.
  • Deer-proof your garden and yard with nets, lights and fencing.
  • Fence and shelter livestock. Move them to sheds or barns at night.

If you recreate in cougar country, ODFW offers the following advice:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Leave your dog at home or keep it on a leash since a dog running loose may lead a cougar back to you.
  • Hike in groups and make noise to alert wildlife to your presence.
  • Keep children close to you.
  • Keep campsites clean and sleep 100 yards from cooking areas.
  • Store food in animal-proof containers.
  • Carry deterrent spray.
  • Never feed any wildlife since prey attracts predators.
  • Stay at least 100 yards away from any wildlife, including baby animals.
  • Be alert when sitting quietly or stopping to rest.
  • Be aware that animal calls and animal kills can attract cougars.

If you encounter a cougar, ODFW recommends taking the following actions:

  • Leave a cougar a way to escape since they often retreat if given an opportunity.
  • Stay calm, stand your ground and maintain direct eye contact.
  • Pick up children, but without bending or turning your back to a cougar.
  • Back away slowly.
  • Do not run, which can trigger a chase response and an attack.
  • Speak loudly and firmly.
  • If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.
  • If a cougar attacks, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any items available.

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