Mountain lions and bobcats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sunshine Flock, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 27, 2017
    As much as I respect all wildlife, cougars terrify me beyond reason. I've had nightmares throughout my life of being attacked by them.

    But the reality is that we need to learn about these creatures. It calms me when I feel I have a decent understanding of how an animal behaves and why. Do you have any experience with cougars? Have you seen one? Do you know of any cougar sightings or attacks in your area?

    About two years ago, a neighbor shot and killed a cougar that took his goat. It was barely dawn when it happened, from what I recall being told. What's upsetting is that some of our other neighbors saw a fresh cougar kill on BLM land near our home and only shared this with a few people. We had just gone hiking there, and they saw us when they were there but couldn't be bothered to warn anyone?

    Last month I found what is either bobcat or cougar scat on our property. I should have taken a photo. It was packed full of whitish fur and bones. I've since learned in the forums that cats only eat meat, and they eat a lot. You won't find berries in cat scat.

    I'm also studying up on animal tracks. Cats tracks don't have claws. They look like dog or coyote tracks, but there are a few things that differentiate them.

    Tonight I read this blog post and watched the short videos. It was very educational. We then went outside to bring in the laundry, heard an animal being attacked down the hill behind our house, and decided the laundry can wait.

    But seriously, watching those videos and confronting some of my fear has actually helped. I did see a mountain lion once a long time ago. It was a juvenile, no bigger than half the size of a fully grown cougar. I haven't seen one since. When a fresh cougar kill is found in a park, the rangers will close down the trail in that area or post a warning. It also sometimes makes the news. I hope to never come across a fresh kill, but if I do I'll be sure to immediately notify all of my neighbors and report it to BLM.

    So, any cougar stories you care to share? Or bobcat stories?

    I've seen a bobcat twice in four years. I know someone who lost a chicken to a bobcat, and I've read they have no problem scaling fences during the daytime (not just during prime hunting hours and night) and attacking chickens.

    Cougars freak me out, though.
  2. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Cougars are mystifying because of their furtive behavior. In the 24 years I've lived here in the mountains of Colorado, I've seen cougars only half a dozen times and only once was in front of my house, and I'm as in-the-middle-of-nowhere as one can be.

    I've seen bobcats more often, and once a bobcat broke into my run and killed one of my chickens. It was far more in-your-face than a cougar. It returned and prowled around the perimeter of the run searching for a vulnerability to exploit to get more chickens.

    I was able to get a couple of direct hits with rubber game bullets and that discouraged it from returning any more.
  3. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2016
    where i live we have all 3 wild cats here, lynx, cougar and bob cat and have had all 3 on our land over the years.

    i live in the prairies, but just last year we had cougar tracks in our horse pasture, never saw the animal but the horses acted really spooky for a few days. then we found the tracks, for some stories i guess here are a few.

    my grandparents own some farm land they rent out, so the guy who rents it just told us the other day (we where talking about wild cats) and we told us a few years ago a cougar took down and killed one of his prize bulls and only ate the guts (told us the stupid cat left the steak lol)

    we have seen both lynx and bob cats on our land over the past 18 years i have been alive, only have had chickens for the past year and a half. so they have not been an issue so far.
    CarolinaSunshineFlock likes this.
  4. Pensmaster

    Pensmaster True BYC Addict

    Jan 10, 2014
    Northern California
    Yes we have cougars here. Both my grandson and I have heard and seen her.
    Once the grandson saw cougar coming towards him down a small hill behind our place. At a certain point the cougar turned and flushed out a deer. Not certain if cougar was even interested in grandson but I’m really glad we have abundance of deer here.
    Second I saw cougar at the bottom of our road. He had jumped into a granite outcropping and disappeared. Later that morning a neighbor was walking her dog in the same area. The dog would not go past the point of where the cougar had been. She continued to walk him though the area. It didn’t occur to me that was why the dog didn’t go through the area till later. I spoke with her the next time I saw her and told her about what had happened. She hasn’t walked her dog since. Listen to your dogs.
    I’m pretty sure that my other neighbor has shot the cougar but I’m also sure there are others.
    Many new homes being built in cougars territory here that may or may not push them out. Probably make them more bold.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Our state wild life "experts" will state for public record that there are no cougar in Maine. That being said, I have a very reliable neighbor who had a face to face encounter with one about 10 years ago. An other neighbor recorded a short video of a cougar hanging out around his pond. That video was clear enough that it was absolutely not possible to mistake the cat for a bobcat or a domestic cat. The "experts" won't acknowledge their presence most likely b/c of the public panic it would create, as well as the added expense of requiring a "management" plan.
  6. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 27, 2017
    There are people who claim they've seen cougar in Alaska. I wouldn't be surprised if they're in Maine, but their populations are probably so low that very few are going to capture them on film.

    It's the same with Big Foot. Hehehe!!

    The videos in the link I shared were alarming, and I felt queasy watching them. But to see how the cougars behaved around humans was insightful. I'm not sure a bear would have been as likely to walk away in those scenarios. From all I've read, though, a cougar seems just as likely as a bear to stalk people across long distances.

    I don't think cougar behavior is erratic; there are patterns I'm trying to learn. The big concern is how stealth they are when they're stalking. They ambush before most of their prey realize they're there. One scenario (we see them) we can do something to try to prevent an attack, and with the other scenarios, that's the one that has me feeling very unsettled. We have a very large clearing for our fire defense zone around the house, and then dense woods. There's a trail down to the creek where my husband gold pans. it's totally overgrown, and he crouches when panning. Not a good setup at all. Since the cougar was killed, he's been down there a lot less.
    Brahma Chicken5000 likes this.
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Whether in an urban or a remote setting, it's imperative to be aware of your surroundings, especially when traveling alone. It's also a good idea to be armed in both types of settings. Unfortunately, most attacks occur before the victim would have the opportunity to respond.
  8. Welshies

    Welshies Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    I have a cougar story.
    Grade 8.
    We had a long driveway. Half a mile, or three quarters. It was middle of the Albertan winter, so the sun didn't rise until 10 AM.
    I had to get on the bus at 7:30 AM every morning, and I'd always walk.
    For about 2 weeks in a row we had a cougar stalking me every morning to the bus. 15 minutes per day. Every morning.
    We saw it in our yard at one am one night. It was dark, heard a growl/scream. Shone a flashlight out and caught a pair of eyes. It stared at us for a solid ten minutes.
    We didn't shoot it. We should have.
    WhatAboutBob? likes this.
  9. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 27, 2017
    This hiker did everything he was supposed to do, but the cougar kept circling him and wouldn't leave. It took a CHP helicopter and searchlight to scare him off.

    The story doesn't mention bear spray. One hiker was able to keep some cougars at bay with a powerful blast of bear spray. REI sells a large can that seems to be preferred over others in the hiking community. It's pricey, though!
    ChooksNQuilts likes this.
  10. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 27, 2017
    Wow, so scary. Did you walk to the school bus alone?

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