MURDERERS CREEK UNIT - When Winnie Browning alerted authorities immediately after shooting a cougar that threatened her, it was the correct thing to do, said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife district biologist Ryan Torland.
People should call 9-1-1 in such situations, he added, so the details can be investigated.
In general, it's helpful if hunters going into the field have a cougar tag, said Torland.
Although Browning's situation was determined to be self-defense, she could have chosen to use a tag, he added.
Fish and game regulations require that hunters using a cougar tag bring to agency checking officials, the head and hide of the animal, and if it's a female, their reproductive tract.
Browning wasn't required to do this, Torland said. Since it wasn't a planned hunt, she left the carcass at the kill spot, deciding at that time it was too heavy to pack off the hill on her own. The incident occurred about two miles from the road, she said.
Browning gave Torland the location of the carcass, and on Monday, Oct. 4, he examined the animal in the field.
He didn't pack out the entire animal either, but removed a tooth. From his experience, Torland estimated the age of the female cougar as 4-5 years old. The tooth was sent to a lab for study.
Browning also told Torland that after the shooting, she saw two young kittens in the area.
Torland was unable to find the kittens. If he had found them and determined that they were too young to survive on their own, they would have been euthanized, he said.