frosty Highland

There was some excitement here while I was retreating.  One evening Tom went out to bottle feed our orphan calf.  The dogs went with him as usual but then started going crazy, jumping at the fence to the donkey pen and barking (even our beagle).  Tom saw a dark flash going from the front of the pen (very close to our barn!) toward the back.  He didn’t think much of it as he thought it was a donkey and continued through the gate toward the calf.  But then he shined a light and saw the 2 sets of donkeys eyes out back and another set of very large eyes in the back of the pen.  He started yelling at it, but it walked very slowly away from him.  He then set the bottle on a post and headed to the house to get a gun.  He accidentally grabbed bird shot instead of hollow point bullets in his haste and headed back to the pasture.  When he got to the fields the donkeys had returned to their pen (and it is highly unusual for them to be out of their pen after dark), and the other set of very large eyes (larger than cow eyes) was on the back fence line and not moving much.  The llama had run to the back of the field near the fence with its ears back.  Tom went into the field with the calf and the eyes were still there barely moving.  He yelled at it some more but no response.  He walked to the fence line, and the animal was 20 yards away and not scared of him.  He made sure again it was not a donkey, and as he continued to yell at it he shot at it three times.  It then ran away toward the neighbors.

The next day, Tom found what looked like cougar prints near our boundary fence from the neighbors.  We have not seen it since, but the llama is constantly in the field watching the back fence.  I found these prints today, in the middle region of our back fence.  They are in the sand near our ditch and are fresh since the last rain.  They are larger than Mopar’s prints so bigger than a large dog’s.

printI have been bugging Tom for a while that he needs to show me how to shoot a gun.  Now he really needs to.

We shut the donkeys into their pen so they do not have access out back anymore.  I moved the cows including the calf into the front field with the sheep.  I moved the ram into a pen in the barn.  I will lock the goats in the barn at night.  We have been keeping our bedroom window open at night (which is challenging with these frigid temperatures) to listen for any commotion.  We will keep patrolling the back of our property.  Hopefully this will keep our animals from becoming a cougar’s dinner.


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11 Responses to Cougar

  1. mcfwriter says:

    This photo looks more like a dog/canid print than a cougar (dogs are oval, cougar are rounded and wouldn’t have any claw marks), but still disconcerting as you describe Tom’s encounter. I need to get a shotgun (only have a handgun).

    • Donna says:

      Tom said the prints he found looked more like a cougar’s than these ones did. We have guns but they do me no good until I know how to use them safely.

  2. kristamurphy says:

    Ugh Donna. We had a neighbor with a cougar who took down a deer in front of them about 2 months ago. Last night, another neighbor sent a photo of two cougars from his hunting cam on the back of his property(he is less than half a mile away). Freaks me out, when we were in Vegas, our buck had been put to rest in the pet cemetery but not buried as he died right before we left. He was drug away, and I think I know what drug him. We never found the carcass after a long walk thru the woods following the trail of hair and shards of bone. We did not have a gun with us, dumb! Seems to be more creatures lately and that is okay, unless we have our own creatures we worry about. I fear for my goats and they are not very secure. I, too, need to get the gun out and should probably have it when I am out there. Meet me at Norpoint and we can shoot:)

    • Donna says:

      Ugh indeed Krista! Sorry about your buck and his carcass. The other evening I went out to bottle feed the calf and the lama was on point. So I went back to the house and got Tom to come with me with his gun. We never saw anything but it is scary. We should go shooting!

  3. I was going to write the same thing as mcfwriter; looks canid to me. Too bad Tom didn’t elicit a sound out of whatever it was when he shot at it to help identify it.

    • Donna says:

      Tom said the prints he and his son found looked like a cougar’s. I just couldn’t find those ones. He was hoping it would make a sound but felt like he had to shoot at it to protect the animals. He says the eyes were definitely not those of a dog. The bird shot he used would not have injured an animal, just hopefully scared it. There have been a lot of cougar sightings on our property including recently, but this is the first time we felt threatened.

  4. tom schoonover says:

    I hope to see it in the daylight with a gun, i’m really going to take this problem out if i see it. We have too much to lose. Its also kinda creepy thinking it was possibly watching me feed the calf.

  5. Denise says:

    have you spotted the cougar at all since? are they mostly out and about at night?

  6. eliz martin says:

    They are all around us, day or night… scary, lost a very large alpaca a few years ago and the llamas that were in the field with him were crazy for a week or two after…were never bothered by coyotes. know the cats can rest in the trees above. Years ago a friends daughter lost half of her 4-H goats to a young cougar. Dad stayed home to see if it would come back and shot it the next day…..a few weeks later she saw another one cross their field. This was 5 min. from downtown Marysville. Last Year a friend in Enumclaw lost two llamas, caught on night camera, 2 cougars, probably siblings, trust the llamas when they focus on something…I feel safe feeding at night if the animals are calm, but if anyone has a hint of agitation….i wonder why…….

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