Dayton Chronicle - Your Hometown News Source

Cougar sighted in Dayton


September 17, 2020

-Submitted photo

Two reported cougar sightings in Dayton are being pursued by Fish and Wildlife officials. This photo is for illustration purposes only.

DAYTON–A pair of recent sightings of a cougar here has prompted a couple of calls from concerned citizens to local Fish and Wildlife Officer Chase Copenhaver.

"We've had a couple of sightings in town," Copenhaver told the Dayton Chronicle last week. "It sounds like the same cat. It's younger, probably only a year and a half old."

The most recent siting was on September 3, near Dayton General Hospital, along the Touchet River levee, he said. The cougar was spotted by one of the county road crew members.

Before that, the first reported sighting was on August 31 with the cat up on the hill above Dayton Avenue, Copenhaver said.

Mayor Zach Weatherford reported that the search, as of the September 9 City Council meeting, had so far been unsuccessful.

"It probably had just gotten kicked out by mom," he said, "and it is trying to figure out its way in the world. Unfortunately, it wandered into town."

A houndsman has been deployed to track the cougar, Copenhaver said, and if it is treed in town, it will be euthanized. "The ultimate goal is to get it out of town," he said.

Copenhaver advised that the chance of crossing paths with the cougar is low. "Don't run," he said. "That will trigger the cougar's predatory instinct. Make noise, shout, be loud. Don't back down; stand your ground." Whether to make eye contact or not isn't important, he mentioned.

"We live in a rural environment, even in town," Copenhaver said. Deer, raccoon and feral cats will attract cougar into a more-populated area.

If you're out for a walk, he advised, "just be aware of your surroundings. Keep you pets on a leash," he added.

Copenhaver advised people to visit and read "Living with Wildlife," which has a section about cougar.


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