Animal’s Daily Big Cougar News

Thanks to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

As for today’s headline:  No, dammit, it’s not what you think.

Biologists in Washington State have tagged a 197-pound tom cougar.  By way of comparison, the average such cat runs around 150 pounds.  Excerpt:

Washington state wildlife biologists have caught and tagged a 197-pound cougar. CBS affiliate KREM reports that the biologists tagged the massive cat on Monday north of Chewelah.

State carnivore research scientist Brian Kertson called the cat a “monster.” He said it’s so muscular that the first tranquilizer dart he shot at it popped out as the cat flexed.

Kertson says it’s the largest cougar caught in Washington state, as far as he knows.

Bart George, a wildlife biologist for the Kalispel Tribe, said the cougar was eating mostly elk.

It was captured as part of a predator/prey study.

Kertson has captured 20 cougars and collared 16 since December 2016.

On average, tom cougars weigh between 150 and 155 pounds.

That’s a damn big mountain cat.

Some years back, on a sunny late August afternoon, I was mooching around in the country around Hardscrabble Mountain in Eagle County, Colorado, supposedly scouting for that year’s deer and elk seasons but mostly just woods-loafing.  Right at the top of a 500-foot talus slope, a came across a big splash of dried blood and a bunch of elk hair.

I noticed some more elk hair on down the slope, so carefully, following the bits of elk hair and blood splashes, I followed the trail on down that talus slope.  At the bottom, I found a cow elk, dead, partially eaten and covered with pine needles.  “Cool,” I thought, “I found a mountain lion kill!  Before long he’ll be coming back to eat again…”

Then it hit me.  “…before long, he’ll be coming back to eat again…”

Now most of the big mountain cats are pretty shy and will avoid humans at all hazard, but the odd one won’t.  As usual when I’m out woods-bumming I had a .45-caliber friend holstered at my side, but I’d rather not ruin the day of a mountain lion who is, after all, just being a mountain lion, so I backed carefully away and did my best old Army Eleven-Bravo sneak out of the area.

I didn’t see that cat that day.  I’ve seen a few lions here and there in my Colorado mountain adventures, but never one as big as that Washington cat.  And maybe that’s just as well; I don’t know as I’d want to meet a cat that big, at least not face-to-face, up close and personal.  I’d just as soon he went his way and I go mine.