So, just what do you do when you wake up to find a cougar perched in a tree just a few feet from your second story bedroom window? That was the situation facing Jack Johnson in his home near Dodge Bridge on July 13.
Johnson woke to the sound of dogs barking and a quick peek out the window showed that two dogs had something treed, but he couldn’t see just what from the bedroom. So he went to another window, and thought to himself “that looks like a cougar.” He quickly went down stairs, grabbing his deer rifle as he went and walked outside to a spot where he could see well enough to determine that it was in fact a cougar.
Being a hunter, and possessing the proper cougar tag, he took aim and shot the animal. When it began to fall, he touched off another round, although the animal was probably dead before the second bullet struck him. After the second shot, the cougar fell to the ground.
He picked up the cougar, took a number of pictures, and then took the animal to ODFW who weighed the 105-lb male cat. The cougar laid on the tailgate of the truck, covered it from side to side, a truly large cat.
What the animal had been doing in the area is not known. There have been reports over the years of cats on Long Mountain, which is very near this area, but on the opposite side of the Rogue River. No one had seen this particular animal before the incident, but there have been numerous reports of cougar in Sam’s Valley and reports of domestic animals being harmed by the big cats.
There are a number of children living in this area and household pets that could have been easy prey for the cat. Pressure from competing cats in the higher country has forced animals such as elk and deer to lower elevations, and the cougar have followed their food source. While elusive in nature, they have, more and more often, been spotted in the lower portions of the valley.