PORTLAND, Ore. — Authorities and state wildlife officials believe a woman whose body was recovered Monday near Mount Hood was killed by a wild cougar.
If confirmed, it would be the first ever fatal cougar attack in the wild in Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says the state is home to more than 6,600 cougars. While the cats live throughout the state, most live in the Cascade Mountains, and the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon.
Most cougars live alone, except for mothers that live with their young for about two years. They are most active at dawn and dusk, according to ODFW. Cougars are territorial animals and maintain home ranges of up to 100 miles.
ODFW has the following guidelines for people who live in areas where cougars might roam, and for people who encounter cougars in the wild:
If you live in cougar country
- Learn your neighborhood. Be aware of any wildlife corridors or places where deer or elk concentrate.
- 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 necessary.
- Remove heavy brush from near the house and play areas.
- Install motion-activated light outdoors along walkways and driveways.
- Be more cautious at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active.
- 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, fencing.
- Fence and shelter livestock. Move them to sheds or barns at night.
If you recreate in cougar country
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Leave your dog at home or keep it on a leash. Pets running free may lead a cougar back to you.
- Hike in groups. Make noise to alert wildlife of your presence.
- Keep children close to you. Teach them about wildlife.
- Keep campsites clean. Sleep 100 yards from cooking areas.
- Store food in animal-proof containers.
- Carry deterrent spray.
- Be cautious at dusk and dawn.
- Never feed any wildlife. Prey attracts predators.
- Do not approach any wildlife; stay at least 100 yards away.
- Steer clear of baby wildlife. Mother is likely nearby.
- Be alert when sitting quietly or stopping to rest.
- Be especially alert at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active.
- Be aware that animal calls and animal kills can attract a cougar.
If you encounter a cougar
- Cougars often will retreat if given the opportunity. Leave the animal a way to escape.
- Stay calm and stand your ground.
- Maintain direct eye contact.
- Pick up children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.
- Back away slowly.
- Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.
- Raise your voice and speak firmly.
- If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.
- If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, bear or pepper spray, tools or any items available.