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Mason County Cougar
by Elizabeth Robinson

Around 2 PM this Thursday, March 28, My husband Chris and I were scouting around Lake Cushman in Mason County, Washington, with our 35-pound year-old Labradoodle Hawkeye. Looking for a site to place our first geocache (see www.geocaching.com), we walked along Dry Creek Trail that passes between some cabins and the national forest at the upper west end of the Lake with Hawkeye exploring up ahead of us some 15 feet.

As we were about to skirt a boulder and head out onto the lakebed, I heard a dogfight and saw that a big yellow dog had ambushed Hawkeye and was on him! I advanced, shouting, quite incensed at the nerve of this animal. As Chris and I approached, the offender bolted. Now that they were disengaged, I saw the lithe figure of a cat! It retreated about 30 feet and climbed a tree. The predator was a yearling cougar.

Chris went to Hawkeye's aid, and I went for my video camera. Hawkeye got away with two small puncture wounds on his back---probably from those big claws. The cougar got away hungry.

The cougar seemed scared enough just after his foiled attack, but Hawkeye seemed hardly ruffled. After I shot a few pictures, we went on to explore the lakebed where Hawkeye romped about like his usual self. (It wasn't until that evening that we discovered his wounds.)

Our path to the car went right back past the attack site where we were surprised to find the cougar still up the tree but this time looking somewhat more hungry than scared.  Instead of staring at me, the cougar was now fixed on Hawkeye. I took more photos until my battery died.

 

After I reported the incident to the Hoodsport Ranger Station, I learned that that night, a second encounter was reported by a ranger Vic Stanculescu who lives with his husky Buddha in one of those nearby cabins. A yearling cougar (probably the same one) went after Buddha. Vic restrained his dog and threw sticks & stones, actually hitting the cougar. Only after Vic discharged a large handgun toward it did the animal retreat. Around midnight, the cat returned and ventured up onto the deck. Friday, Vic and Buddha tracked the cougar and saw that it had carried off the dog’s blanket and shredded it to bits.  This was not the first cougar Elizabeth has encountered.
To read about her others, click here.

More pictures below

My pictures show a big kitten in a fork in an alder --- that cute kitten almost ate Hawkeye!

We walked along Dry Creek Trail.

As we were about to skirt a boulder and head out onto the lakebed...

The predator was a yearling cougar.

The cougar seemed scared enough just after his foiled attack...

After I shot a few pictures, we went on to explore the lakebed.

On our return, Hawkeye inspected the large divot ripped by the cougar

Chris spotted the cougar still up the tree. (With a good eye, you might just make out its long tail.)".

Instead of staring at me, the cougar was now fixed on Hawkeye

This old stump may have known the cougar was lurking, but said nothing.

Hawk & Huck