It was right around 6:00 p.m. Sunday when David Willingham and his family were coming back from a hike at Shevlin Park. And they were walking right up the road that runs through the center of the park when David noticed something moving up on the ridgeline.
“I pretty much always have my camera with me when I come to places like this, and I’m usually looking for something. And I just was looking around and I looked up on the ridge and I saw something moving. I couldn’t tell what it was. It was far enough away that I couldn’t tell,” David said. “So I pulled my camera up real quick and looked, and I was just like, ‘Whoa, that’s a cougar.’”
He snapped six stunning photos before it ran off.
“As soon as it recognized that we saw it. It took off. I don’t know how long it had been there, but yeah, soon as we noticed each other, it took off,” David said.
Here is what the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says you should do if you encounter a cougar.
- Cougars often will retreat if given the opportunity. Leave the animal a way to escape.
- Stay calm and stand your ground.
- Maintain direct eye contact.
- Pick up children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.
- Back away slowly.
- Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.
- Raise your voice and speak firmly.
- If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.
- If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, bear or pepper spray, tools or any items available.