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Date: Wed, 1 Feb 1995 22:21:48 CST
From: Dan Parrish <>
Organization: University of Portland
Subject: Cougar attack

 I had an interesting experience last October that I thought I might
share with y'all.  You see, I was out hunting with my father when I was
attacked by a cougar.  In light of the recent Oregon legislation that
came out outlawing baiting and dogs for cougar and bear hunting, this
is a very timely happening.  Well, here is my story.  I must warn you,
this isn't one of those stories where a cougar looked at me and I shot
him.  And I didn't see him accross the canyon.  This is real life, real
cougar, real bullets...

 Last October, I went hunting with my father up Highway 22, about 15
miles West of Detroit Lake (that is about 45 miles E of Salem, OR).  Of
course, we got an early start, and headed up to a clearcut my father
knew.  He dropped me off on one end, and headed up to the other with
the pickup.  It was still dark out, so I walked down the little logging
road which headed along the outer edge of the clearcut.  I stopped on a
nice knoll which allowed me to see to my left, forward, and to my right
into the clearcut.  I then watched the beautiful sunrise which every
hunter appreciates.

 It was beginning to lighten up, when I heard some cracking and popping
coming through the woods behind me (we had a very dry year, which made
it difficult to hunt).  (I later paced the distance to the woods, and
it was 7 paces, or 20 feet) I turned and pulled down, not knowing what
was coming through the woods towards me.  I hoped that it wasn't
another hunter, and that my big buck was going to run right into me.
Unfortunately, it was neither.

 To my horror, instead of big buck, a cougar head appeared just 20 feet
from me.  I have heard all of the stories about how vicious cougars can
be, so I was pretty nervous.  I had no idea what to do.  I thought I
should shoot it - but she was so beautiful, and she hadn't done
anything to me...yet.

 As I stood in the early dawn, watching my new adversary with great
intent, my ear caught the sounds of more cracking and popping from the
woods behind her.  As luck would have it, her mate, a young male walked
up to her side.

 Now I was really getting worried.  I was hunting with a .264
Winchester Mag, bolt action.  I knew that I would be hard pressed to
get off two shots in the time that the cats could make up the 20 foot
deficit between us.  So I fired off a warning shot into the air.
Neither of those bloody cats even moved!  I couldn't believe it.  So I
picked up a rock and threw it at them.  Luckily, the male decided to
move out and took off into the woods.

 At least now I had only the female to worry about.  She sat there,
watching me, not moving.  I continued to pick up rocks and throw them.
Of course, while I was doing this, I had my rifle firm in my left hand,
with the sling over my elbow.  As I would bend over to pick up rocks,
she would stretch her neck to see what I was doing.

 At this point, a thought occurred to me.  If I didn't shoot her, and
she ran away, who would believe my story?  So I took out my little
point-and-shoot camera and took a snapshot of her.  (All that turned
out was two glowing eyes against the nearly dark forest.)

 I was so scared, that I couldn't even come close to her with the
rocks.  I then remember thinking, "you have got to calm down.  You'll
never hit her with the rocks if you are shaking so bad." So, I calmed
down and threw one right at her.  I must have pissed her off, because
she lunged at me.

 My heart still jumps as I recall that brief second when she jumped
towards me.  I threw my rifle up and looked threw my scope.
Unfortunately, her first bound took her behind a tuft of grass, and out
of clear vision in my scope.  I waited for her to reappear on the other
side, and she did.  As she was bounding again, I fired.

 My first shot hit her in the chest, knocking her down.  She lifted her
head, and I shot her again, this time in the neck.  Then, I was making
tracks, picking 'em up and putting 'em down, hauling ass, like a bat
out of hell out of there.  I don't know if I have ever run so fast.  I
stopped only to reload, and then ran the rest of the half-mile to my

 Like all optimistic hunters, my father assumed my first shot was me
shooting a buck.  He then assumed the next two were a signal for him.
So he was moseying on over to meet me, when I came running down the
road at him.  It must have been quite a sight, seeing his 6'6" son
running full bore down the gravel road, when he thought I had a buck

 When I got to him, all I could manage was, "Cougar." That was enough
to spark his interest.  We walked back towards the cat, and I told him
my story.

 I was in dual shock.  First, I had nearly been physically assaulted by
a ferocious animal.  Second, I had killed a beautiful beast, one which
few people see close up.  Dad calmed me down, and we examined the cat.

 We then drove into Detroit and told the Ranger station attendants what
had happened.  Officer Allison took the case.  He called back later and
told us that I had shot a 2-1/2 year old female, which weighed 85
pounds.  From my own estimation, she was over 6 feet long from nose to
tail.  Her paws were as big as the palm of my hand, and her teeth were
plenty long and sharp.

 I still think about this experience now and then.  I honestly feel bad
for having taken the life of such a majestic animal.  However, I am
alive, and I will always protect myself.  Officer Allison said that my
little kitty would be stuffed and used for educational purposes.  That
is a good place for her.

 And that is my story.  I suppose it isn't so dramatic - I mean I
didn't actually suffer any physical damage as a result of the
encounter.  But she made a lasting impression on my brain.

 May none of you ever meet a cat under the same circumstances.

 I would welcome any comments or similar experiences that anyone has to
share.  And the rest of you can go to the bathroom and clean out your
shorts now.

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