What to do When a Cougar Attacks

During the summer, numerous incidents of cougar sightings and attacks were reported on Vancouver Island. So, when I suggested that we fish off a point in the village of Sayward, Vancouver Island, John’s response was no surprise.
John: Absolutely not. We are not fishing from there.

Shelley: Why not?
John: You heard Dan (campground owner). There’s a female cougar out there that’s not quite right in the head.

Shelley: You’re not quite right in the head.
John: Ha! Ha! Ha!
Shelley: Come on. We’ve been fishing from the dock all day and haven’t even had one nibble. The whole point of this trip was to catch fish.

John: The Conservation guys and the RCMP are out there now trying to track and kill it. I am not going to get between them and a cougar.
Shelley: They’ve been tracking it down for at least four hours now. No way will it be anywhere near the point. God, you always find something to panic about.
John: No.
Shelley: I have an idea. You saw that couple hike past us and go into the woods, right?
John: Shelley, I know where you are going with this. No.
Shelley: If we don’t hear anything in the next 20 minutes, we go and join them. Deal?
John: Jesus Christ Shelley. No. I’ll buy you a fish.
Shelley: Not the same. When Jason took us out to the point he carried his machete and you felt perfectly safe.

 How about we borrow Dan’s machete? I already asked him. What about that?
John: A – I did not feel perfectly safe, and 
B- What does Jason know? He’s only lived here for 8 years. No. 
Shelley: You can carry it.

John: No. 
Shelley: I’ll even go first.  
John: Do you know what to do if a cougar attacks?

Shelley: Of course. Run. Hopefully faster than you. Ha! Ha!
John: Ha! Ha! No. That is not correct. 
Shelley: Oh for God’s sake. I’m kidding. I know not to run. You worry about everything. Look, we just spent three days at Crest Creek Crags climbing despite the fact that there are always bears in that area. This is no different.

John: The difference is I’m not going out there. Not a chance…

Back in Comox, I checked out cougars on the following site http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/cougsf.htm


I now solemnly swear the next time we are out in the woods I will never:  
1. Make fun of John’s survival instincts.
2. Whisper, say, yell, “What was that?” or “Did you hear that?” and “Is that what I think it is?” 
3. Take a small branch and gently rub it on the back of John’s leg pretending it’s a scorpion, spider, snake, etc.
4. Share horror stories about whatever is freaking him out at the time; bears, cougars, scorpions, spiders, snakes, etc.
5. Never, ever leave home without our dog, rocks, sticks, fishing poles, and trusty machete. 
6. Oh and of course, never, ever leave home without John!

I Promise…

Shelley and John

PS: If you do spot a cougar on Vancouver Island, call


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