Comox Valley Record

Another close call with a cougar in Fanny Bay

TWO FANNY BAY residents have had close encounters with cougars (not this one) recently. - Father Charles Brandt
TWO FANNY BAY residents have had close encounters with cougars (not this one) recently.
— image credit: Father Charles Brandt

A Fanny Bay man had a close encounter with a cougar outside his Stelling Road home Wednesday night.

Around 10:30 p.m., Josh Bilodeau was putting up Christmas decorations on the porch when he noticed a cougar in the compost heap almost two metres away.

"As he stood up and turned around, the cougar was ready to pounce him," his wife Barbara said Thursday.

The cat — which she estimates at about 200 pounds and two to three years old — ran away when Josh stood up.

She has contacted the conservation service and is waiting to hear back.

"We're quite concerned," said Barbara, who has a six-year-old daughter and a small dog. "That's way too close to home. I walk my daughter to school every day."

The couple is new to the area. Their house is surrounded by forest, with resident deer on a daily basis.

Barbara and her landlord figure the cougar has been roaming the area about two weeks.

Earlier this month, Fanny Bay resident Aga Schultes was preparing to drive her children to school when she spotted a cougar in her driveway. The cat, which was about two metres away, disappeared when her dogs started barking.

Conservation officers spent several hours tracking the animal with dogs but could not locate the cougar. During the search, they discovered several dead deers, one of which was at the railroad track near Schultes' property.

The public is asked to call in cougar sightings at the RAPP line (Report all Poachers and Polluters) at 1-877-952-7277.

• • •

If you meet a cougar:

• Never approach a cougar. Although cougars will normally avoid a confrontation, all cougars are unpredictable.

• Always give a cougar an avenue of escape.

• Stay calm. Talk to the cougar in a confident voice.

• Pick all children up off the ground immediately. Children frighten easily and their rapid movements may provoke an attack.

• Do not run. Try to back away from the cougar slowly. Sudden movement or flight may trigger an instinctive attack.

• Do not turn your back on the cougar. Face the cougar and remain upright.

• Do all you can to enlarge your image. Don't crouch or try to hide. Pick up sticks or branches and wave them about.

If a cougar behaves aggressively:

• Arm yourself with a large stick, throw rocks, speak loudly and firmly. Convince the cougar that you are a threat not prey.

• If a cougar attacks, fight back!

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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