Cougars and Outdoor Recreation

Recreation in Cougar Country

Cougar

By taking preventative measures whenever you are in cougar country, you can help limit human-cougar encounters.

Before You Go

  • Find family or friends to go with. Cougars are less likely to approach groups of people.
  • Ensure your bear spray has not yet expired and air horn or other noise deterrents are working. Make sure you know how to use them.
  • Contact a Fish and Wildlife office. Find out if cougar or other wildlife activity has been reported in the area you are about to visit.
  • Leave your dog at home. If you must bring your dog, ensure it is kept close and on a leash at all times.
  • Talk to those in your group. Make an informed plan for how the group will respond if you see a cougar.
  • Charge your cell phone batteries and pack your cell phone.
  • Prepare children for staying safe in cougar territory. Teach them to:
    • Stay between the adults of the group and not run ahead or fall behind.
    • Never run away from cougars or show fear by screaming.
    • Always fight back and never give up if a cougar makes contact.

When in Cougar Country

  • Keep your bear spray and noise deterrent on your belt or in a chest holster so you can access it quickly
  • Do not wear your mp3 player or anything else that might interfere with your ability to see clearly or hear the sounds that can alert you to the presence of wildlife.
  • Carry a walking stick, which can be used as a potential weapon against a cougar
  • Make a lot of noise to avoid surprise encounters with cougars, or other wildlife
  • Don't let anyone in the group wander off alone, especially children
  • Always keep your dog close and on leash
  • Be extra wary along tree lines, rock outcroppings or under ledges
  • Be alert. Always watch for wildlife behind and ahead of you
  • Watch for signs that a cougar has recently been in the area:
    • Tracks, scrapes and fresh kills. Cougars will bury their kills, and the buried kill may be difficult to spot. If you see part of an animal beneath a pile of leaves and grasses, assume you have located a cougar kill and leave the area.
    • Flocks of ravens or magpies may indicate a kill site where either cougars or bears could be found feeding
Cougar Signs
Cougar track in mud Buried kill Cougar scat (feces)
with tracks
Cougar track in mud Buried kill Cougar scat

Related Information

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Updated: Jun 25, 2015