Cougar killed in Prairie City

This young cougar was killed in Prairie City in 2017 after it was seen several times in a residential neighborhood and attacked several pets.

A young cougar that had been seen eating a feral house cat in the Hillcrest Drive area of John Day was treed and killed by officials March 9.

Ryan Platt, the assistant district wildlife biologist at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s John Day Field Office, said 911 dispatch received a call in the morning reporting the cougar under a pickup truck.

ODFW responded to the location with federal predator control agent Nick Lulay and his hounds, Platt said. Three dogs were used to track and tree the cougar about 300 yards from their starting point.

The male cougar weighed about 50 pounds and was 6-8 months old, Platt said. It is not unusual to find young males who have been kicked away from their mother, or whose mother has died, roaming around and ending up in urban areas looking for food, he said.

This is only the second cougar killed in Grant County in the past two years, Platt said. The last cougar was in Prairie City, he said.

The John Day Field Office has been getting reports about cougar sightings and tries to follow up on all of them, Platt said. Many of the sightings end up being large house cats, he said. Cougars in town are a rare occurrence, he said.

Officials must follow strict criteria when deciding whether to kill a cougar, Platt said. The main reason is public safety, such as repeated sightings near homes in daylight, he said.

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at rick@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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