Cougar Encounter – Leavenworth Washington

Cougar Encounter – Leavenworth Washington



I was over in the Wenatchee area for a business/award gathering (Scott Sipe received the Public Safety IT Professional of the year award for Washington State). I had some time to kill prior to the awards banquette so I thought I would take my fiancé out for a great mountain bike ride just outside of Leavenworth out Chumstick road (3 miles outside of downtown Leavenworth) up Fruend Canyon.

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We were 1 mile into our ride up a 4 mile logging road, prior to hitting the single track, when things went crazy. There was a sound in the bush’s just off my fiancé back tire so I looked and there was a large cougar head! This sucker had run from the bottom of the canyon up toward us and pounced 3 feet behind her Mt. Bike smack dab on the logging road.

She responded by jumping off her bike and creating distance (10 yards between her and the cat) now I can not recall how I got off my bike and in between her and the cat but this cat (8 feet long and around 200lbs) was dead set on taking her out as she started to back away at a fast clip. (I yelled do not run!!!!)…

We backed up the logging road for a quarter mile while this cat in a tucked position walking in a systematic rhythm 10 yards from us focusing on me and my bike which I was dragging and banging up the hill. After 4 minutes of the scariest moments of my life I thought I better try something else as this is not working so why not make a movement toward the animal and see if it will back down…. — OH SHIT – wrong move… The sucker ended up 10 feet in front of me hissing, showing its teeth and swatting its paws at me!!!! I knew I had no chance in hurting or defending my self and let me tell you – it was not something I want to experience again… SO… I yelled “Through something at IT…” If on a scale of 1 – 10 — 10 being where the cat was going to take me out we were at 9.8 no question…

She grabbed a fairly good size chunk of wood and made a dead on hit on the cats front right shoulder (She had about a 10 yard toss) remember this cat is 200 pounds and is 8 feet long (tip of nose to end of tail)… I could not even believe something like this was happening let alone cats this big are out walking through the woods! I have hunted my entire life and never seen a cat like this and hope to never see one again in a situation like this.

So after the cat was struck with the wood it looked left looked right and tried to figure out what had hit it but by no means was it scared or startled! It did get us enough time to continue to back up at a fast pace to open up a 30 yard gap or so on the cat. Then the cat came at us in its same systemic rhythm however we had the 30 yard gap which made us feel a bit better and the cat seemed less aggressive. We also lowered our voices as that seemed to calm the cat a bit.

Now the cat started to look around and in a crouched position slithered into the bushes! Now what!!! I am convinced the cat is going to hunt us with more cover so we waited 2 minutes – she got on the back of my bike and we road past the location the cat went into the bushes as fast as we could, for a quarter mile, headed back to pick up her bike and then farther down to the truck. A quarter mile down the road we stopped so Kati could grab her bike where this now 7 minute ordeal began.

I was shaking although lightly for around 3 hours after this!

Folks when you look a cougar in the eyes at 10 feet I will guarantee you their eyes are not golden like the pictures on the brochures – they are as dark as dark black can be and you have no idea what they are thinking or what direction they are looking!! This is by far the scariest moments of my life – and if you know me I tend to dabble in some crazy sports – like a few years back when I blacked out stuck to the bottom of a class 4 rapid at flood stage – Put me back on the bottom of the river – that was a peaceful transition to the other side (no kidding time slowed down and I was okay as the lights went out and I took a breath of water) – this scenerio would have been an ugly painful path for either my fiancé or I!

I hope no one has to use any of the above ideas but if you do — DO NOT RUN! I am 100% confident this cat would have tackled us!

Dan Jones

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