Alana Johnson, tasting room manager at 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery, affixes a cougar warning bulletin to the window at the winery, after a suspected cougar attack resulted in the death of one of the winery’s sheep. Photo by Terry Farrell

Update: Vineyard cougar attack could be second one of the month in the area

House cat also reportedly killed by a cougar this month

Workers at 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery made a grim discovery Tuesday.

A dead sheep; victim of an apparent cougar attack.

40 Knots tasting room manager, Alana Johnson, said they haven’t seen the cougar since the attack, but the B.C. Conservation Officer Service has been paying close attention to the matter.

“We have called in a conservation officer and they have been taking care of everything since,” said Johnson. “They came out and set up a trail cam to see if they can find it, and they (officers) have been back and forth every day.”

CO Steve Petrovcic, who attended the scene, said due to circumstances, he is unable to categorically classify the incident as a cougar attack, but all the evidence he could collect is consistent with a cougar’s hunt method.

“The carcass was buried right away by the property owners, who were concerned with the carcass possibly attracting other scavengers or maybe a bear,” said Petrovcic. “Different predators will have their own unique attack characteristics and based on the attack characteristics of what was described, the trauma was focused directly on the neck [which is how cougars attack].

“Unfortunately, the ground was extremely hard, so I was not able to identify any definitive tracks.”

Neighboring property owners had also advised owners of 40 Knots that they had lost a house cat to a cougar just a few days earlier.

“That was not reported to the COS call centre, but the staff person that shared that with me… there’d be no other reason to share that.”

Petrovcic has been on the site every day since the attack, checking the cameras he set up, but there has been no evidence of the cougar returning to the kill sight.

Petrovcic said there have been “maybe six or eight” reports to the call centre regarding cougar sightings and/or encounters in the Comox Valley this year, and only one instance where officers had to euthanize cougars.

In March, three cougars were put down after a conflict on a hobby farm between Courtenay and Cumberland.

RELATED: Three cougars killed near Courtenay farm

“We do a constant risk assessment,” said Petrovcic. “The ultimate goal [is to] keep both people and wildlife safe.”

Petrovcic reminds residents that Vancouver Island is “cougar country.”

“Probably 95 to 98 per cent of a cougar’s diet is comprised of black-tailed deer, so I always remind folks that where you see a black-tailed deer, at some point you could potentially see a cougar.”

As for the winery, Johnson said the appropriate action has been taken to ensure another such incident does not happen.

“We moved [the other sheep] off the property that day,” she said. “We still have geese and chickens, but they get penned up every single night.”

“That was a great option that they had,” said Petrovcic.

Just Posted

Learn about the future sewer service in Courtenay and Comox

The public is invited to learn more about the Comox Valley sewer… Continue reading

VIDEO: Whale and sea lions at play near Mitlenatch Island

It was a spectacular sight Sunday evening near Mitlenatch Island for Thomas… Continue reading

Mainroad prepares to clear North Island roads this winter

Mainroad North Island Contracting LP’s road servicing contract began Sept. 1

Hamir brings agriculture to the Comox Valley Regional District forefront

Air quality also high on priority list for new Area B director

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read