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Authorities shoot, kill cougar in DRW; 2 residents cited after firing several shots at ‘aggressive’ animal

DRW cougar pic 3
Submitted photo
A Deschutes River Woods resident shared photos of a July 8, 2022 cougar sighting in area yards
DRW cougar pic 1
A Deschutes River Woods resident shared photos of a July 8 cougar sighting in area yards
DRW cougar pic 2
A Deschutes River Woods resident shared photos of a July 8 cougar sighting in area yards

(Update: Info from DCSO, ODFW; two men cited for firing shots, damaging home with ricochet)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Authorities shot and killed a cougar near a Deschutes River Woods home Sunday night, hours after two men fired several shots at the animal they said was acting aggressively near a deer kill, prompting an alert to area residents to stay in their homes, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said.

The sheriff’s office received numerous 911 calls around 5:40 p.m. about gunshots heard in the area of Shoshone and Baker roads, Sergeant Jayson Janes said Monday.

Deputies arrived to learn two men had encountered a cougar in the area and fired “numerous shots” at the cougar, Janes said.

One of the men said the cougar was seen killing a deer in the Baker Road area Sunday morning. Later in the day, while they were walking on the road near the site of the deer kill, they spotted the cougar about 10 feet away.

“The cougar was acting aggressive toward them, so they both shot at the cougar,” Janes said in a news release.

The cougar later was observed hiding under a porch in a resident’s back yard. It then left, heading south, and was seen going through yards in the neighborhood before deputies lost sight of it, the sergeant said.

Based on safety concerns for area residents and the large number of people along the Deschutes River, Janes said the sheriff’s office contacted an ODFW tracker to help find the cougar.

“DCSO deputies, along with Oregon State Police and the ODFW tracker, located the cougar within close proximity to another residence,” Janes said. “The cougar was ultimately euthanized.”

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the cougar was a male, about 3 years old.

While on scene, deputies learned a nearby home was struck by a ricochet bullet fired by one of the men at the cougar. Based on the damage to the house, both men were cited to appear in court on a charge of second-degree criminal mischief.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office issued a telephone alert before 6 p.m. to 53 area residents that “there is a potentially wounded cougar” in the area of Shoshone and Baker roads and advising them to “stay inside your home for the time being.” Anyone who saw the cougar was asked to call 911.

After the cougar was killed, shortly before 8 p.m., residents later were told it was safe to go outside again.

ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy provided this information Monday to NewsChannel 21:

"ODFW was aware of situation and supported the decision to put down the cougar, due to its concerning behavior. This cougar was hanging around residential areas, in and around houses, and being seen repeatedly in daylight -- behavior that indicates a human safety risk.

"This is a common spot for cougar sightings (near river canyon), and often cougars are just passing through and it is not considered a human safety issue.

"There is no way to know for certain, but it was likely the same cougar seen at Deschutes River Woods in late June. It had likely stashed deer in the area to come back and feed, but again this was in and around homes, so considered a public safety risk.  

"OSP Fish and Wildlife humanely killed the cougar (shot it, which is considered a humane way to kill an animal by veterinarians). It was a 120-pound male, approximately 3 years old."

Cougars are periodically put down for public safety issues, Dennehy said, adding that in the latest info she had, the 2017 cougar management plan, – 18 cougars were put down for human safety issues in 2016.

The state estimates there are more than 6,000 cougars statewide, Dennehy added.

There had been other sightings of a cougar in Deschutes River Woods in recent weeks. On Wednesday, June 29, a resident spotted a cougar on a vacant lot on River Bend Drive and contacted authorities, who said they had watched it head toward the nearby national forest.

On Friday, July 8, a DRW resident said the cougar had gone through their yard and that deputies were looking for it.

In February 2019, a 135-pound male cougar deemed a "human safety threat" was tracked and killed in Deschutes River Woods.

Article Topic Follows: Wildlife

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Barney Lerten

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