Man shoots two cougars that stalked him

Jul 24, 2003

Associated Press

Ferry County, WA - A Ferry County man who says two cougars stalked him and his girlfriend Sunday night shot the cats with a handgun.

The incident occurred at about 10p.m. while Lacey Jones and Mike Sublie were sitting in lawn chairs on the Jones' family beach along the Kettle River in Ferry County.

The beach, which serves as an unofficial rest stop along U.S. Highway 395, had been crowded off and on during the blisteringly hot day. But Jones and Sublie had it to themselves when the cats showed up, said Lacey Jones' father, Bob Jones.

According to Bob Jones' secondhand account, Sublie's two dogs started barking, and the couple heard noise in the bushes.

Jones said, "Mike thought it was a bear there, and he had a pistol in the pickup, so he ran up to get it," along with a flashlight.

Jones said, by then, the cougars were snarling at the dogs. One turned toward Sublie and appeared ready to attack as the Kettle Falls mechanic was headed back to the beach. Sublie dropped it with a bullet from a distance of 6 feet. Lacey Jones shined a flashlight on the second cat, which approached the couple, Bob Jones said. Sublie shot it, killing the cat at a distance of about 15 feet.

One of the cougars was carrying a dead house cat, Bob Jones said.

Capt. Mike Whorton of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday night that he knew few details about the case. A wildlife agent who reports to Whorton investigated Sunday night and confiscated the carcasses.

"The word I got back is that the people were in their rights, acting in legitimate self-defense," Whorton said.

Bob Jones estimated the cougars' weight at 50 to 60 pounds, compared with 100 to 150 pounds for mature cats.

Young cougars often wander into developed areas while looking to establish ranges, said Madonna Luers, spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In such cases, they're "trying to figure out how to make a living and sometimes coming into contact with humans more than we expect with adult cats," said Luers, who was not familiar with Sunday's incident. When cougars learn that house cats are easy pickings, "we get concerned" because they can become accustomed to being near people, Luers said.

Wildlife Department agents recently shot one cougar in a Clark County suburb and another in East Wenatchee because they thought the cougars posed risks to residents.

A cougar in 1998 attacked a 5-year-old girl at a Sullivan Lake campground in the extreme northeast corner of the state. She suffered a skull fracture.

In 1999, a cougar nearly killed a 4-year-old boy in Barstow, Wash., about five miles from the Jones' property. The child required 200 stitches to close head and neck wounds.

Washington residents voted in 1996 to ban the use of hounds in most cases, eliminating the most effective way to hunt cougars.

Many rural residents believe that the elimination of most hound hunting has made cougars more brazen, and reports of cougar attacks on livestock have grown more common in recent years.


Wildlife officers kill cougar in Vancouver

Jul 22, 2003
Associated Press

Vancouver, WA - Wildlife officers shot and killed a cougar that wandered into a residential neighborhood of Vancouver, Washington over the weekend.

Capt. Murray Schlenker with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said, the cat just ended up in the wrong place.

The 90-pound female was first spotted carrying away a pet cat Saturday. Fish and Wildlife officials summoned tracking dogs to look for the cougar but had no luck.

It was spotted again Sunday as a man and his 19-year-old daughter were eating lunch on their deck. At first Clayton Rossi said he thought his dog was barking at a squirrel in a tree, but when he looked up, he saw the cougar in the branches.

Then the cat jumped down and left the yard as Rossi went into the house to call 911.

Wildlife officers with tracking dogs later found the cat in a vacant lot next to the Rossis' house, crouching in low grass.

The officers decided against trying to tranquilize the cat.

"It had no place to run. The only way it had to go was into other people's yards," Schlenker said.

Officers decided to kill the cougar so that she wouldn't harm someone.


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