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Pinantan mom says, ‘I chased away a cougar with rocks and sticks’

By MEL ROTHENBURGER

PINANTAN — Corrina Knoll thought she’d better investigate when she heard something going on at the sheep pen 200 yards from the house late Saturday afternoon.

She was untangling the electric fence when the strands started moving so she investigated a little further down the line.

That’s when the Pinantan resident saw the cougar on the other side of a bush about 15 ft. away. It was eating one of her lambs. It was a big, healthy looking cat, she said.

“I screamed twice and it just sort of looked at me,” Knoll said today. Then she started throwing rocks and sticks. One of the rocks almost hit it in the head and it let go of the lamb and ran towards the trees, where it turned around and looked at her.

“I ran at it again,” said Knoll. It was enough to scare it off.

(CO Service image)

(CO Service image)

That was about 4 p.m. A while later, a teenager was walking home with two youngsters when they saw the cougar near the road, hissing at them.

Shortly before 9, the cougar returned to the scene of the kill but by then Knoll and her husband had removed the carcass of the dead lamb. Knoll’s husband took a shot at it and it ran off again.

Conservation officers arrived at 5 a.m. Sunday, chaining the dead lamb to a tree and setting five leghold traps around it.

Sgt. Andy McKay of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said the cougar was likely a young one that was passing through and isn’t a very good hunter yet.

“We live in cougar country and there are cougars passing through all the time,” he said. “It wasn’t aggressive, it wasn’t being pushy.

“Generally speaking they don’t want to be around people.”

If the cougar remains in the area and is thought to be a threat, the conservation office will go after it with cougar hounds, McKay said.

He said the cougar’s return to the site of its kill was typical behavior, and he advised anyone encountering a similar situation to leave the carcass there and call the CO Service right away at 1-877-952-7277. It was unfortunate that his office didn’t learn of the incident until 9:15 Saturday night and couldn’t react until early the next morning, he said, adding that the cougar isn’t likely to show up a third time.

Knoll has mixed emotions about that. She kind of hopes it does return so it can be caught and she and the community can relax.

She’s “more mad” than afraid of it but has moved the remaining five sheep off the property.

Knoll is replaying the incident in her head, thinking about how it could have been worse. The Knolls’ two kids, six and eight, were playing not far from the sheep pasture on Saturday. Their two dogs were outside, too, but fortunately didn’t become involved with the cougar.

“We were outside all day.”

Those are the kinds of things she’s thinking about, but mostly the image of stumbling on to a cougar is running through her mind. “I chased a cougar away with rocks and sticks. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

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About Mel Rothenburger (6015 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

9 Comments on Pinantan mom says, ‘I chased away a cougar with rocks and sticks’

  1. Jody Spark // July 22, 2014 at 3:04 PM // Reply

    Just one question: How is killing a lamb and hissing at children not aggressive or pushy?

    Would you feel differently, commenters, if the cougar came into your yard and killed your dog?

    • Jody Spark // July 22, 2014 at 3:07 PM // Reply

      I guess that was two questions. lol.

      • Claudine // July 22, 2014 at 5:03 PM //

        It was the Conservation Officer who said the cougar was not being aggressive or pushy and unfortunately I don’t how he came to that conclusion. Of course if one came into my yard and killed my dog I would be heartbroken, but would not want the cougar’s life taken because of it. If I lived in a rural area where they are known to live/roam, I believe it would be my responsibility to keep my dogs safe from such encounters. Regardless, I feel using bait and leg hold traps to trap any animal is barbaric. No animal deserves that kind of treatment.

      • Debbie Fisher // July 22, 2014 at 5:14 PM //

        It was the conservation officers that said the cat was not aggressive or pushy, i disagree and feel it was a definite threat but a leghold trap is not a good solution and would hate my dog to get caught in one of those by accident which could certainly happen.

      • Jody Spark // July 23, 2014 at 6:50 AM //

        I think the point is, if it attacked a lamb, it could attack a small child. As much as cougars do not like to be around people as the CO said, it happens.

        Leghold traps are awful — are there effective alternatives?

      • Claudine // July 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM //

        Education & proactive measures I think are the best alternatives for all concerned. The Mountain Lion Foundation, based in Sacramento California, has some good information for those interested in finding out more. http://www.mountainlion.org/portalprotectlivestock.asp

      • Jody Spark // July 23, 2014 at 11:54 AM //

        Prevention is important, no question. But how do you keep an area safe once a cougar makes a kill and knows where the free buffet is? Lamb today, child tomorrow?

        COs must set traps.

  2. I was thinking the same thing Debbie. If the cat was not being aggressive or pushy, why not allow it to move along? The Conservation Officer says “We live in cougar country and there are cougars passing through all the time,” and was likely just passing through. So let it pass through. I’m very disappointed a CO would do such a thing.

  3. Debbie Fisher // July 22, 2014 at 9:57 AM // Reply

    This was a most unfortunate incident but I must say I am appalled at the Conservation Officers decision to use leg hold traps and five of them at that. They are barbaric to say the least and should never be used in my opinion. I feel it was an extremely bad judgement call to use them in an area that is frequented by all sorts of wildlife not to mention people’s pets and children.

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