(the story-Mods, feel free to delete if not acceptable to post)
This will be a long one.
First off, I apologize for not posting more pictures lately on Facebook and Instagram, we have been a little busy with the June 20, 2018 grand opening of our “Hand of Man” museum of Natural History, Cultural Arts and Conservation www.handofman.org
The website is now live. Hopefully everyone reading this will make the journey to Vancouver Island for a visit. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Now for the real reason for this post.
I want to thank everyone who has been calling and emailing me to find out if I am ok after the cougar attack. Yes I am fine. It was a very close call, too close actually, but thankfully for my cameraman Taylor Smith and me, it was the cougar that ended up being dinner, not us.
In case you have not heard about the attack, it happened just a few days ago, while I was out hunting black bear in our Vancouver Island outfitting territory. Taylor and I were returning to camp in the mid afternoon, when a cougar crossed the little used logging road in front of us. Here on Vancouver Island, the regulations allow for two cougars to be taken per hunter per year and the season runs nearly year round. Only the summer months are off limits. I always carry two valid cougar tags and this last spring season we have seen more cougars than anytime since the late 1990’s, when we had a similar spate of cougar sightings and several documented attacks on humans.
Taylor and I continued walking towards where the cougar crossed the logging road and as we passed the spot where it crossed, it attacked us from behind. It had obviously crouched down and hid in the thick undergrowth beside the road and waited for us. I whirled and shot from the hip, disabling the big male cougar as it leapt at me. Taylor captured the attack on camera and you are looking at a video screen grab from an instant after I fired.
An examination of the full grown male cougar showed that it was emaciated, starving, which probably was the reason for the attack. There was a single hole through the paw, which could have been a bite from another cougar, or could have been my Nosler bullet passing through the cougar’s paw, shoulder and back hip. When the cougar crossed the road, it did not seem to be limping.
Hunger was likely the motivation for the cougar attacking me. The bigger question is why was this mature male cat starving? That question will have to be left to the biologists to determine officially, but my “feet on the ground” opinion is pretty simple and logical. There are too many wolves and those too many wolves, as they have done in Saskatchewan and many other places, have eaten most of the deer. They run the roads, roads that we humans made, which essentially gives them “uber” wolf predation powers. The effect of too many predators is never pretty. All predators, like this poor cougar, will starve.
It’s the Law of Unintended Consequences. Sadly our human hearts are often in the right place, but reality is reality. All animal populations need to be managed. Wild or domestic.
Sorry but I have to add one more thing, a bit of a soapbox speech that you can feel free to ignore. It’s my “feet on the ground” greater concern. A cougar starving and attacking a human is one thing...but a starving grizzly bear is another matter. Grizzly bear hunting was banned in British Columbia recently, for 100% political reasons against sound scientific wildlife management advice. Biologists have monitored Grizzly bears have proven that a single grizzly bear will kill and eat up to 30 new born calf caribou and moose every spring during the birthing season. Here in British Columbia, the health of the large ungulate population is already of concern, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict the future. Grizzlies here in British Columbia, like the wolves here on Vancouver Island, will soon eat themselves out of house and home...and when they have eaten all the baby caribou, moose, elk and deer as they are being born...what (who) do you think they will look upon as dinner next?
Mark these words.
Doom and gloom aside and to end on a lighter note, I guess if there is a bright side to this unfortunate event, it’s that even at 60-years of age...cougars are still attracted to me!!