Living just outside the Courtenay city limits, along Kelly Road, Cameron Jones is used to seeing wildlife in his yard.
But this morning was a first, for him.
A family of cougars paid a visit.
“What it looked like was a mom and dad, and one juvenile,” said Jones. “The two were travelling as a pair and the third one came into the yard a few seconds behind.
“Being where we live, we quite often get to watch the deer, and rabbits, come out of the bush into the yard in the evening, before it gets dark, but this was the first time we’ve ever seen cougars.”
Jones often sees the remnants of cougar visits during his workday, but it’s usually the leftovers of an overnight occurrence.
“I work for Emcon Services; I’m the guy responsible for picking up the road kill. A lot of time that road kill is out in the country, hit by a car or whatever, and if it happens overnight, when you come back the next morning, there is always a trail going off into the bush, so you know there are bear and cougars coming out at night, looking for meals. We know that they are around.
“But … see them out at this time of day, I thought was kind of strange. But maybe not.”
He said this morning started like any other morning.
“I was just sitting here in my La-Z-Boy, looking out my window and they came across the road and onto my front lawn,” he said.
Then the cougars put on a bit of a nature show for him.
“They walked across and were looking off into the tall grass where the deer are bedded down – we have a family of about six deer that live here,” he said. “They did actually find one of the deer and one (cougar) chased it across the lawn, then came back out of breath. Didn’t catch the deer, so it gets to live to see another deer.”
He said he wasn’t surprised that the cougar was unsuccessful in its hunt.
“Cougars are only good for short sprints. They can run really fast, for a short range, so it’s pretty easy for a deer to outrun a cougar. A deer has way more endurance than a cougar does.”
A human, though, is another story. Jones said he’s in no rush to go outside and see if his morning visitors are still around.
“I haven’t left the house yet,” he said, about 90 minutes after he first spotted the family. “I’m just hanging around the house this morning, keeping the dog inside, and I’ll give them a little time to clear the area before we go out.”