wildness is unpredictable, often with tragic consequences - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-21-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
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wildness is unpredictable, often with tragic consequences

I post this as a reminder to us all, as folks who like to camp, hike, and enjoy other outdoor recreation, it is always good, and humbling, to remember that wildness is unpredictable. A beloved man here on the Olympic Peninsula died tragically last Saturday when a mountain goat attacked him. It was unprovoked, a known aggressive animal behaving in a bizarre way, not unlike the bear killing earlier this year. Bob was in good health, a skilled hiker, and on a popular, well used trail not far from the Visitor Center at Hurricane Ridge.

I know this post might bring comments about weapons while hiking, would a weapon have saved Bob's life? Maybe. How many people, even those who use/carry guns, take them on a short hike on a trail they've been on many times?

Goat Attack

Everyone here will miss Bob, and hiking that trail will never be the same.

Life is unpredictable, precious, enjoy it, enjoy your loved ones, enjoy Nature, be cautious.


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Old 10-21-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
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Never heard of a Mt Goat attack before. Sounds like a very good man lost his life that day to a weird Goat. Bob's family will never be the same! They probably won't be out hiking again either. Very sad story!
While hiking recently I saw a wolf, and just never gave a thought that it would come near us. I guess we never know!
How would one prepare for that when just hiking on a trail. I have always felt somewhat safe. Thanks for the warning. Sorry that Bob had to loose his life to give us all a warning. One just never knows what will happen.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:50 PM   #3
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Wow - this is so sad!
I was on that trail just this summer - and the wildlife is definitely one of the draws. Like other posters, I rarely think of the wildlife presenting a danger as long as I'm a fair distance away (well, except for my bear phobia). A reminder to us all . . .
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:34 PM   #4
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Pepper spray could have deflected the attack. I am a gun owner but I do not carry a firearm on hikes unless on private ground. Buck sheep of any kind can be aggresive especially when they are breeding. Don't turn your back. This one had a grunge.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:46 PM   #5
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Sad story! Here many people carry pepper/bear spray as bears and cougars a common - no need for guns.
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:01 AM   #6
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Very sad, who would think a goat would turn vicious.
My favorite place to camp is at about 7500 ft in the southern portion of the Sierra National Forest. It's only 22 miles from my home and about an 1 1/2 hours on a dirt FS road so I have camped there probably about 25 times in the last 5 years.
Never saw a bear there until the last time up there and I saw 3 in 2 days. The Ranger that works the area says there are now about 50 bears in that general area.
MY opinion, I think it's foolish to hike in the forest anymore without bear spray. It also works on dear, elk and most likely goats.
I have done quit a bit of research on the subject and the opinion of experts is if you use pepper spray designed for use on human attackers you will probably only upset the bear. It doesn't have the range or volume.
The bear spray I bought is in a container about 4 times larger than what I carried when I was a deputy. It has an effective range of about 35 feet and was about $54.00 with a belt holster.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:24 AM   #7
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I see and hear a bit fear of animals. I had read the goat attack right after it happened. From the news account I doubt there was anything that would have stopped the attack. A goat running straight at you would be very difficult to stop with any handgun, very hard heads.
I certainly feel sorry for the family and friends of the victim.
I see no reason be afraid of another goat attack, this one was killed. Bears are the same way, there's very few attacks. Your biggest risk in playing in the outdoors is getting there. With a little care with food there no reason to worry about bears, cougars, etc. If you should see one of these animals don't run and don't startle them, but simply enjoy watching them. Make a little noise so they know your there and they'll leave.
I've seen bear, coyote, fox, weasel. No cougar or wolf, but would love to see a wolf.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:57 AM   #8
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I see and hear a bit fear of animals.
Bryon, I think a lady that lives about 5 miles from me would disagree with you. She spent 3 months in a hospital from an unprovoked bear attack.
She was walking her dog near her home on a dirt road that she had walked for 5 years.
There are very few who spend more time hiking or riding in the forest than I do.
I think you mistake for a heightened respect.
There are bear sightings in my area where bears have never been reported before. The Ranger who works the area I enjoy told me there are more bears now than he has seen in his 24 years working for the FS.
Bears seem to be losing their fear of humans.
In all my years of hiking and riding in the forest I have never felt the need to carry bear spray until this year.
I have no fear of anything in the forest. But I say again, I think it's foolish to hike in the forest without bear spray, at least where I live.
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Old 10-22-2010, 07:54 AM   #9
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Well, I've camped and hiked all over the Rocky Mountain West for the last 40 odd years and the only bear I've ever encountered was being followed by police cars and a helicopter through my Denver neighborhood. But I have no doubt they're out there somewhere. Even deer can kill you if you hit one with a car. In Colorado, there's already been four people die in climbing accidents in Rocky Mountain National Park, a half dozen have drowned in rafting accidents, and there's always a number who hit trees or get swept away by avalanches while skiing. Wilderness is indeed unpredictable and you never know what's going to happen. I try to be careful but I know it's impossible to ever be 100% prepared for every eventuality. Personally, I think it's great to encounter something that's bigger than us and shows us our place in the world. Isn't that some of the appeal?
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:48 AM   #10
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I agree it's about respecting wildness and the unpredictability of animals and other dangers in nature, not about fear. As far as carrying things to protect oneself, maybe a good idea, but not sure it would have saved Bob. This is a well used trail, thousands of people go on it every year, if any of you have been to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park you likely walked this trail. It was not like they were out in the 'wilderness', it is not a place one would think of taking protection.

Animal encounters are remarkable & can be very special. Though I live in the woods I've seen bear only a few times, coyotes more often in the past (I miss them), large bucks within feet of me, and an unusually large bobcat who took a swipe at a pet dog and stared me down. Two years ago I had a cougar cross the path on our own property less than 100 feet in front of me, I had no alternative but to walk down the path, not knowing where it went, thinking it was behind a tree. The brush around me too dense to go through, I had to keep walking to get to our house. It was a life changing experience, and yes there was fear. To not fear cougars is foolish. In our area cougars are seen more and more, two were killed this year for killing livestock.

I have my own 'theories' about the so called encroachments of animals........who are the encroachers? They were here first! The family property where I live is large enough, surrounded by logged timberland, to be an oasis in an ever increasingly developed area, yet the encounters I've had are relatively few over 3 decades.

But this attack was not about encroachment. Park Ranchers knew there were unusually aggressive goats in the area. In bear areas, if a bear becomes overly familiar with people it usually gets relocated, I don't know why they wouldn't have done that with the goats, especially since they are not 'native' to the area and dozens have been relocated in the past to reduce the population and reduce environmental damage. This ram confronted people before, a friend encountered it while walking there with young grandchildren!

Hindsight is easy. Foresight might be helpful. Insight is knowing that we aren't always able to be 'in charge' of the circumstances of our lives, especially when it comes to Nature.

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Old 10-22-2010, 09:39 AM   #11
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I don't see it as an unprovoked attack. Like most wild animals, he was just doing what wild animals do. Protect what they believe to be their domain from other competition (as they view it). Humans have always seemed to be a bit naive about animal behavior and we often attempt to apply "human logic" to animals. This is dangerous thinking. And it does make a very good arguement for carrying a self-defense weapon. Heck, I don't even go to the corner store without throwing a gun in my pocket. And to those who advocate "bear spray", well, good luck with that one when that goat is charging you at 40 miles per hour. Let me know how that works out for you. The more we encroach on wildlife domains, the more "cornered" these poor critters become. It reminds me of the joke about the lady that called the sheriff to report a bear in her back yard. The sheriff said that it was interesting, since he just got a call from the bear who said that somebody built a house in his front yard.
Not making light of this tragedy, but come on people, these are wild animals, and they are in their "front yards". We are the intruders out there.
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:51 AM   #12
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I don't see it as an unprovoked attack. Like most wild animals, he was just doing what wild animals do. Protect what they believe to be their domain from other competition (as they view it). Humans have always seemed to be a bit naive about animal behavior and we often attempt to apply "human logic" to animals. This is dangerous thinking. And it does make a very good arguement for carrying a self-defense weapon. Heck, I don't even go to the corner store without throwing a gun in my pocket. And to those who advocate "bear spray", well, good luck with that one when that goat is charging you at 40 miles per hour. Let me know how that works out for you. The more we encroach on wildlife domains, the more "cornered" these poor critters become. It reminds me of the joke about the lady that called the sheriff to report a bear in her back yard. The sheriff said that it was interesting, since he just got a call from the bear who said that somebody built a house in his front yard.
Not making light of this tragedy, but come on people, these are wild animals, and they are in their "front yards". We are the intruders out there.
I agree and I also think that if I got to use Bear Spray I am in deep trouble.
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:44 AM   #13
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Greg, I agree, we are intruding in their habitat and should be respectful. By your logic those that get attacked are just asking for the attack.
You arm yourself to go the the corner store and yet you make light of a proven bear repellent.
I have been a shooter and hunter all my life. I had a long career in Law Enforcement and am a very good shot even under stress conditions. I own and am well qualified with hand guns of several different calibers.
To advise anyone to arm him or herself with a firearm as bear protection is ill advised. IF you are lucky enough to hit a charging bear in your frightened state you probably won't kill it. I can guarantee you will piss it off even more and make it more aggressive.
We are in their front yard Greg and should be prepared if ANY wild animal should object. I still prefer my Bear Spray over any of my large caliber handguns.
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:14 PM   #14
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How misfortunate and sad! Penney H is so right when she wrote, "Life is unpredictable, precious, enjoy it, enjoy your loved ones, enjoy Nature, be cautious." So often it is a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

My first thought, they were there during the "Rut Season" as a possible reason for the attack.

Carrying Bear Spray sounds like the best idea offered so far (IMHO), and perhaps a portable boat air horn to blast sound to scare off an animal.

Seems his major mistake was to "challenge" the animal by trying to scare it off ("tried to carefully shoo the ram away"). Something anyone of us might do. Very sad event.

I am not sure from the report about when the Warnings were issued, before or after this attack. "Some 300 mountain goats live in Olympic National Park. Warnings about their aggressiveness have been issued, but Maynes said she knows of no other incident like the one that occurred Saturday." They used "have been", not "had been"? But we see warning posted so often, do we really take them seriously enough.
[Edited Post: Seems they were there before: "the park had focused on educating trail users about the aggressive ram by posting warnings at trailheads and providing flyers at park buildings. The signs will remain, Maynes said, since it's possible that other goats have shown aggressive behavior. The park recommends staying 100 feet from all wildlife." I had not read the "Stuff" on the right side of the report.]

Knowing how to improvise is important, like the off duty park ranger who was "familiar with mountain goat behavior, moved forward with a safety blanket and shook it at the goat.....pelted it with rocks, and after what seemed like a long time, 'it moved away, but it stayed close by'..." We need to have some contingency plans when we get out into nature, just in case. Major one is to stay away from the animals and to make noise to let them know people are about. Seems this animal had gotten used to people and had no fear of them. {"Maynes said the park had tried hazing the ram -- by shooting it with bean bags, throwing rocks and other means to induce it to be frightened of people -- but stopped short of any plans to kill it. 'We had no reports of any kind of incidents escalating above the point that would warrant [killing the ram],' Maynes said. An animal would be killed, she said, if it had made "physical contact' with someone. Rangers shot and killed the ram, which was about eight or nine years old, about an hour after Saturday's attack. They identified the animal after seeing blood on it, Maynes said."}

Who would have thought of a Mt. Goat attacking, but deer and elk have done so, why not a goat. But then again, I would be very leery of a domestic ram on someones farm. A wild Mt. Goat should make one much more leery. They are all strong, powerful animals and during the rut, they go a little "nuts".

We are in their habitat and should not only be respectful, but very careful when dealing with them. However, we must appear more frightening to them than they are to us. In this encounter, maybe he was too respectful when he "tried to carefully shoo the ram away". Such a sad ending for all.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:05 PM   #15
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I live in a neighbourhood that bears are frequently seen. I do not fear them at all. Here in NA you have a better chance of being hit by lighting or a car then being attached by a black bear. My experience with camping on islands with wolfs is pretty well the same, they also are not by nature wanting to be around people either. Practise safe camping with both wolfs and bears – ie hang your food in trees far from the tent and don’t sleep in clothing you have cooked in and they will leave you alone. For them to do otherwise is very rare.

Cougars on the other hand are a totally different story. They are amazing animals to see but I know all to well that the odds of a close encounter going all to wrong are very high. As result I will be happy if I never see another cougar in my life time. Anyone who has spent any time in an area frequented by cougars knows that if it’s in the mood to attach it will attach and there is very little you can do to prevent it or stop it other than to fight back hard. It would be foolish to think that backing away slowly or playing dead is actually going to work with a cougar. Don’t believe me than I suggest you have a good chat with any Forest Ranger who works in cougar areas. Suspect most will tell you that you should be carrying the biggest sharpest knife you own and do not keep it buried in your pack and be willing to fight for your life.

Bottom line is I fear for the safety of anyone who thinks it would be a great experience to see a cougar up close in the wild. I would encourage folks to really educate yourselves on the behaviour of cougars before heading into Cougar country. The biggest problem with cougars is their amazing ability to follow you and not be seen or heard until it is all to late - so if you are lucky enough to see one as some have expressed they wish to then they are most likely already in serious trouble!

A good example of how assertive they can behave happened a couple of summers ago in an area were I grow up when a cougar decided to chase a person riding their bike on the roadway. Lucky for the guy on the bike someone driving a pick up truck saw the cougar as it was just starting to chase the guy on the bike and was able to pulled up along beside the bike so he could jump into the back of the truck. The cougar continued to chase that truck for a number of miles.

here are a few storys that may bring home the reality:
Mountain Lion Attacks from 1991 to 2000
http://www.cougarinfo.org/attacks3.htm
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:34 PM   #16
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Greg, I agree, we are intruding in their habitat and should be respectful.

By your logic those that get attacked are just asking for the attack. Just where did I say any such thing? You are making a presumption.

You arm yourself to go the the corner store and yet you make light of a proven bear repellent. I do arm myself, and as a former LEO yourself, I would think that you, of all people, would know why I would be armed. I don't make light of bear spray, if that's all you have...

I have been a shooter and hunter all my life. Me too.

I had a long career in Law Enforcement and am a very good shot even under stress conditions. I own and am well qualified with hand guns of several different calibers. Ditto.

To advise anyone to arm him or herself with a firearm as bear protection is ill advised.Again, I never said any such thing, I said it makes a good arguement for being armed. If you choose to, or not to, be armed is entirely your own call.

IF you are lucky enough to hit a charging bear in your frightened state you probably won't kill it. Who said I had to kill it, or even shoot it?The noise alone would probably stop him in his tracks and get him to turn tail and run. But I wouldn't hesitate to "drop it" if I had to.

I can guarantee you will piss it off even more and make it more aggressive. Again, who said that shooting it is necessary?

We are in their front yard Greg and should be prepared if ANY wild animal should object. I still prefer my Bear Spray over any of my large caliber handguns. To each his own. I understand that many people dont carry a gun, or may not even like guns, which is their perogative. But for my take on it, I'll take the gun, thank you. You can keep the pepper spray. As a past LEO, you already know that it often has little or no effect on some animals, even of the two-legged variety.
My comments were not meant to inflame anyone, or start a brush fire here about wilderness protection. It really doesn't matter to me if you would want to walk through the forest with a butterfly net...it's your choice. All I was trying to do is make a point that we all have our "personal space". For most humans, its about an arm length or less. When someone invades your personal space, it makes you uncomfortable. Most large, and some not-so-large, animals have a personal space that extends well beyond what we humans deem as "too close for comfort". Again, I refer back to my previous statement, that we often try to apply "human logic" to dealing with wild animals. This has been shown time and again to be bad decision making on the part of the humans involved.
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:06 PM   #17
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"It reminds me of the joke about the lady that called the sheriff to report a bear in her back yard. The sheriff said that it was interesting, since he just got a call from the bear who said that somebody built a house in his front yard."

If you call to report a bear in your yard in my neighbourhood (which is by the way in a city) they will send someone out but it will not be to deal with the bear it will be to check to see what you are doing to attract the bear. If they find you have your garbage outside on any day other than pick up day you will be fined. Same goes for leaving fruit on the ground that may have fallen off your trees.

We love our bears and are happy that we don't shoot them but instead fine the people who are the problem.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:53 PM   #18
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Bryon, I think a lady that lives about 5 miles from me would disagree with you. She spent 3 months in a hospital from an unprovoked bear attack.
She was walking her dog near her home on a dirt road that she had walked for 5 years.
There are very few who spend more time hiking or riding in the forest than I do.
I think you mistake for a heightened respect.
There are bear sightings in my area where bears have never been reported before. The Ranger who works the area I enjoy told me there are more bears now than he has seen in his 24 years working for the FS.
Bears seem to be losing their fear of humans.
In all my years of hiking and riding in the forest I have never felt the need to carry bear spray until this year.
I have no fear of anything in the forest. But I say again, I think it's foolish to hike in the forest without bear spray, at least where I live.

The key point here is "DOG".
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:59 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
I live in a neighbourhood that bears are frequently seen. I do not fear them at all. Here in NA you have a better chance of being hit by lighting or a car then being attached by a black bear. My experience with camping on islands with wolfs is pretty well the same, they also are not by nature wanting to be around people either. Practise safe camping with both wolfs and bears Ė ie hang your food in trees far from the tent and donít sleep in clothing you have cooked in and they will leave you alone. For them to do otherwise is very rare.

Cougars on the other hand are a totally different story. They are amazing animals to see but I know all to well that the odds of a close encounter going all to wrong are very high. As result I will be happy if I never see another cougar in my life time. Anyone who has spent any time in an area frequented by cougars knows that if itís in the mood to attach it will attach and there is very little you can do to prevent it or stop it other than to fight back hard. It would be foolish to think that backing away slowly or playing dead is actually going to work with a cougar. Donít believe me than I suggest you have a good chat with any Forest Ranger who works in cougar areas. Suspect most will tell you that you should be carrying the biggest sharpest knife you own and do not keep it buried in your pack and be willing to fight for your life.

Bottom line is I fear for the safety of anyone who thinks it would be a great experience to see a cougar up close in the wild. I would encourage folks to really educate yourselves on the behaviour of cougars before heading into Cougar country. The biggest problem with cougars is their amazing ability to follow you and not be seen or heard until it is all to late - so if you are lucky enough to see one as some have expressed they wish to then they are most likely already in serious trouble!

A good example of how assertive they can behave happened a couple of summers ago in an area were I grow up when a cougar decided to chase a person riding their bike on the roadway. Lucky for the guy on the bike someone driving a pick up truck saw the cougar as it was just starting to chase the guy on the bike and was able to pulled up along beside the bike so he could jump into the back of the truck. The cougar continued to chase that truck for a number of miles.

here are a few storys that may bring home the reality:
Mountain Lion Attacks from 1991 to 2000
http://www.cougarinfo.org/attacks3.htm
If you've been out walking in the woods much there's a very good chance a cougar have watched you.
Guy on bike, flight triggers chase reflex, equates to running away from.
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Old 10-23-2010, 02:18 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
If you've been out walking in the woods much there's a very good chance a cougar have watched you.
Guy on bike, flight triggers chase reflex, equates to running away from.
Yup there is always a good explanation for it but can you honestly tell me that if you were riding your bike down a main highway one summer day that you would for a minute think you where doing something that would make you responsible for triggering a cougar attach? LOL Not even people who live in areas known to have cougars would in that situation. Trust me I know I lived in such an area for a better part of my life.

Yup no doudt that when walking in the woods they have seen me, just as I have seen them. Also times that I have not seen them at all but they probable did see me. I'm not suggesting that they will attach anyone they see but that is what makes them unpredictable. It may surprise you but not so long ago many experts where starting to tell people you had a better chance if you where to run away from the cougar - that advise was based on actual stats at the time. What does that do for your "flight triggers chase reflex" theory? Currently they are all back to saying your better off to stand your ground and fight back. But the reality is that the odds to either approach are a lot closer to 50/50 than many of us would like to think. The reason for that is that Cougar's are unpredictable.

As such it doesn't matter how aware you are of your surroundings or how much respect you have for wild animals and how much you try to avoid direct contact and how aware of animal natural instincts you are, all beats are off when it comes to cougars.

To give you an idea as to how unpredictable they can be hereís what happened to me one night. I drove into my parents drive way to find a cougar sitting on the front steps. Just as I realized what it was it started to approach the car so I flashed my lights at it and honked the horn hoping it would run off. Most other wildlife such as bears, deer or wolf in the same situation would have run away. It did not, it continued to come towards the car. I decided I had better get the heck out of there as I was driving a very small car with a fabric top - unfortunately there was no room to turn around in the driveway at the time, so the only option was to back up a long narrow and steep driveway of about a half mile or so long. I did that very slowly as I was afraid of going over the cliff on one side. That cougar followed the car all the way up the road until I got to a spot wide enough to turn around and get the heck out of there - no it wasn't running but it did not have to as I wasn't backing up that fast. Don't know but perhaps it did run and chase once I turned around - to dark to tell. It was not acting scared it was acting aggressive. I sure the heck was scared though. I know if it decided to jump up onto the car and take a swipe at the top with its claws it would be in the car in a split second. I also know if I went over the bank there was a good chance it would have been the first one to my rescue. LOL You might explain that all away with the "flight triggers chase reflex" theory but I don't. There was no flight - it started the approach before I honked the horn or started backing up. There was no food on the property that it was protecting. It had no cubs on the property that it was protecting. It was not boxed in so it could have just turn and head off in another direction. I don't know about you but I call that unpredictable and have a hard time coming up with a reasonable theory as to why a wild animal would act in that fashion. Funny enough a farmer a few miles from us lost a large number of his sheep to a cougar that night. He had lost sheep in the past but never more than two on any given night. Pretty sure I know what cougar it was that did that.

Bottom line is that over the years living on the Vancouver Island I have heard of some pretty crazy/scary situations happen when people least expect them. Yup they are amazing animals to look at but if I see one and it does not matter how far away it may be or how long of zoom I have on my camera you will not find me sitting around taking pictures. I know all to well there is no one that can say what a Cougars next move might be regardless of what the theory book says. Oh did I mention they can run pretty darn fast! LOL

Now if you want to go catch some photos of bears or wolfs count me in!
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