Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
Notice About Cougars

(courtesy of Washington State Fish and Wildlife)
Tips for avoiding conflicts with cougars

For those living in cougar country:

  • Keep pets indoors or in secure kennels at night, and never leave pet food or food scraps outside.
  • Where practical, bring farm animals into enclosed sheds or barns at night.
  • Closely supervise children playing outdoors, and make sure they are indoors by dusk, when cougars are more active.
  • Light walkways and remove heavy vegetation or landscaping near the house.
  • Store garbage in secure containers so odors do not attract small animals or other wildlife. Remember, predators follow prey.

For those hiking or recreating in cougar habitat:

  • Hike in small groups and make enough noise to avoid surprising a cougar.
  • Keep your camp clean and store food and garbage in double plastic bags.
  • Keep small children close to the group, preferably in plain sight just ahead of you.
  • Do not approach dead animals, especially deer or elk; they could have been cougar prey left for a later meal.

For those who encounter a cougar:

  • Stop, stand tall and don't run. Pick up small children. Don't run. A cougar's instinct is to chase.
  • Do not approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens.
  • Try to appear larger than the cougar. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
  • If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
  • If the cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back.
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