Cougar problem

Asked April 9, 2016, 2:58 AM EDT

How can I get a cougar to leave the area behind my home. We have young children and pets. My animal are afraid to go out even during the day. A friend of mine got on my roof tonight and spotted the Cougar with a flashlight. I live in Otis.

Lincoln County Oregon

1 Response

Cougars are territorial predators that primarily feed on deer, although they take other prey when opportunities present themselves. If the cougar is being sighted in your neighborhood, it is likely that a good prey base exists, thus there is little opportunity to make the animal leave the area entirely. However, you can definitely take measures to make your close-in property less attractive to deer (and thus to cougars) and ways to manage your property to increase safety for your animals and children. The Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife has a brochure with some excellent tips or you can find the same information in webpage format here
Following the guidelines in those materials, such as reducing foods avail to deer, reducing risk by keeping pets enclosed and/or restrained to reduce risks, and creating a high-visibility, well-lit area for kids and pets you can reduce the "attractiveness" to cougars of your immediate surroundings. Cougars, especially young and inexperienced or old/injured animals that find "easy pickings" from deer or other prey near humans can start to habituate to those human areas because they begin losing their fear of humans. In those cases, and especially if the animals start directly following humans, allowing themselves to be seen in daylight hours, and/or saving/caching leftovers near human structures, then the ODFW District Biologist needs to know asap. I believe your District Biologists in Otis would be Doug Cottam and Nick Leonetti - Their office number is 541-867-4741. They can be a valuable resource of information and technical assistance.
I hope this information is helpful.