Classifieds Business Directory Jobs Real Estate Autos Legal Notices ePubs Subscribe Archives
Today is July 29, 2015
home newssports feature opinion fyi society obits multimedia

Front Page » January 22, 2008 » Local News » Staying safe in cougar country
Published 2,745 days ago

Staying safe in cougar country

Print PageEmail PageShareGet Reprints

Cougars are generally reclusive, but can attack people if perturbed or caught off guard.

Dave Swenson has patrolled Utah's back country for more than 28 years. During that time, the veteran wildlife officer has seen a cougar only five times.

And each time, the cougar was running away from him.

"It's very, very rare to see or come in contact with a cougar," the Division of Wildlife Resources officer says. "Cougars usually go out of their way to avoid people."

Swenson says cougars are also secretive animals. And they usually come out only at night.

While it's very rare to see a cougar, if you do see one, it will probably be in the winter.

"Deer are the main animal that cougars prey on this time of the year," Swenson says. "In the winter, the snow covers the vegetation in the higher country. That forces the deer to travel to lower elevations to find food. And the cougars come right down with them."

For those that live in cougar country, Swenson provides the following tips to lessen the chance that they come in contact with a cougar:

•Do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife attracts deer and other animals to residential yards. That could also bring cougars in.

•Do not feed pets outside. The food could attract cougars to a yard. Keep pets indoors at night, because they can be easy prey for cougars.

•Outdoor lighting and motion-sensitive lighting are a deterrent for the secretive cougar. Lights also make cougars that are approaching a home or cabin visible.

•Keep a close eye on children when they're playing outside. Also be sure to have them come in before dusk. That's when cougars begin to hunt.

•Make residential areas deer-proof. If the landscaping is attractive to deer, cougars will follow the deer and stay close to the property.

Here are three things you can do if one encounters a cougar:

•Do not run from a cougar. Running can provoke a prey response in the cougar, and the cougar may pursue the runner.

•Make yourself look intimidating. Make yourself look big by opening your jacket, and raising your arms and waving them. Speak loudly and firmly.

•If there are children present, pick them up. Try to pick them up before they panic and run. When picking children up, keep an eye on the cougar but avoid making direct eye contact with the animal. Try not to bend over too far and do not turn your back to the cougar.

It is generally fairly easy to keep encounters to a minimum if you hike with other people and make noise. Cougars will not usually bother groups of people. And as far as pets that may be with you keep them on a leash and close to your group. Roaming pets are open to cougar attacks, or they could irritate a cougar that's trying to avoid a group of people. A dog on a leash is also a good warning system that will let you know if a cougar is nearby.

More tips about how to stay safe in cougar country are available in the DWR's "Living in Cougar Country" brochure. The free brochure is available at

"As Utah's population grows, we're moving more and more into areas where wildlife live," Swenson says. "It's important that we learn about the wildlife that live in our area and how we can minimize causing them problems. If we do that, both us and the wildlife will benefit."

Print PageEmail PageShareGet Reprints

Top of Page

Local News  
January 22, 2008
Recent Local News
Quick Links
Subscribe via RSS
Related Articles  
Related Stories

Best viewed with Firefox
Get Firefox

© Sun Advocate, 2000-2013. All rights reserved. All material found on this website, unless otherwise specified, is copyright and may not be reproduced without the explicit written permission from the publisher of the Sun Advocate.
Legal Notices & Terms of Use    Privacy Policy    Advertising Info    FAQ    Contact Us
  RSS Feeds    News on Your Site    Staff Information    Submitting Content    About Us