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Feline Hunting No, not the place for housecats. This is for the "other"cats, including bobcats and mountain lions (the BIG cats).

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Old Today, 05:14 PM
Preydeception Preydeception is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Eastern Oregon
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Default Don't Expect to Ever See This Again!

Tried a few coyote stands without any luck; so, I decided on my drive back home, a Cougar hunt was in order; as we had a fresh snow a day earlier. While driving toward the canyon I was planning to call in; I saw a cougar track (a day old) following the road edge - same as my direction. As I day dreamed of how cool it would be to spot him in the rimrocks or along the river I rounded a bend in the road a 1/4 mile short of my intended destination and spied this...….;
Cougar kill by Cougar (1) by T BM, on Flickr
The two had tangled up on the hillside; sliding down no more than 20 yards onto the road showing the fight had not lasted long. The winner crushed the skull of the smaller Tom who lost this fight for good. F&G estimated the looser to be a 4 year old and weighed him in at 120#. The dark vertical slide in the picture is where they slid down off the hill. A couple yards off to the side of this slide were the prints of the winner bounding up off the road edge onto the hillside and running directly toward where the evidence pointed to the where the fight began.
Cougar kill5 (1) by T BM, on Flickr
The winner walked off the road with bloody paw prints in every one of his steps and crossed the river; having jumped across over some rocks sticking up out of the river he continued to leave bloody paw prints to the bed he chose to lay down in under a tree about a 100 yards from the kill. I would guess that he spent some hours there licking his wounds because he had no bloody prints when he bounded away from this bed. My thoughts are the fight occurred sometime within 12 hours of my arrival upon the scene (9 a.m.). My biggest regret is not scanning the area better where he laid before beginning to track him; as it appeared I had spooked him from his bed.
To me; not so funny; as I could see the tree he was under from the kill site; I saw a rock under that tree opposite side from where he was bedded, this rock caught my attention; I looked through binos and confirmed it was a rock and did not really look hard at anything else. I wonder if he was in that bed blending in as well as they do with the terrain, just watching me until my approach to the river got him anxious enough to jump out of his bed and exit straight up a narrow canyon/draw; giving me little chance of spotting him as I tracked him up the mountain.
Cougar kill3 (2) by T BM, on Flickr
There were claw cuts/slices on both of his front legs and hair from the winner stuck under all his front claws with one claw being partially broken. By all appearances this fight was short lived but I would have to say it had to have been one hell of a brutal whipping and by the bloody paw prints of the winner; I would say his front legs had claw cuts also.
Cougar kill4 (1) by T BM, on Flickr
The back of his skull was mush with canine punctures in the head and claw cuts on his nose etc.
As I tracked the survivor up the draw, I watched ahead as far as possible; hoping to catch a glimpse of him, so I could try for a kill shot. This was very steep and dangerous ground given the fresh warming six inches of snow making footing somewhat precarious. He went out from this small ravine over a ridge and into the big canyon next to it. He knew exactly where he was going; heading sidehill straight into a spring/creek bottom; as I neared his position (which I was unaware of) I heard something in the brushy creek bottom but could not see anything there. About 80 yards of tracking later I see where he had stopped by a tree (I presume watching me) and leapt down the hill to the creek bottom and went up the other side. It had been over an hour of tracking and somewhere around a mile straight up a canyon and sidehill into another before busting him. I decided it was too treacherous to continue on and he had all the advantages on me anyway so I headed back to the kill site.
Cougar kill2 (1) by T BM, on Flickr
As I approached the river again; I found the track evidence of what I think happened. The winner came from the opposite side of the river from the loser; and went back and forth a couple of times (about 100 yards each way) looking for a place to jump the river; I presume cat calling was going on between the two, who must have been challenging one another to a fight; over territory or breeding rights. Now I can image cat fights could be rather common; but to the death? I would suppose this to be very rare, what are your thoughts or experiences concerning cougars fighting?
The winner found a boulder nearly mid river to leap to; then he took a leap to the opposite shore; then up and over the road and a last leap onto the hillside to make his 10 yard (approx.) run for the kill. That's it, that is the capable killing that the top of the food chain predators achieve. "Winner - Winner - Cougar dinner!"
I hope you enjoyed this account; and I trust that you are as tantalized and intrigued by it as I am. I expect I will not see this again in my life time as I have spent much time out in nature (50 + years) before being gifted with this find.

With the increase in predator numbers here it is less surprising I suppose that there may be more serious fighting between apex predators as they compete for the steadily dwindling natural resources that have been occurring over the last 40 years here in Oregon. I don't even want to get started too far off the subject here..... but, when I went out recently to get our Christmas tree, after a fresh snow, I saw nearly as many wolf tracks as I did deer tracks; that is no exaggeration; in more than 20 miles of freshly fallen, snow filled mountain driving I saw nearly as much fresh wolf sign as I did deer....very disappointed in our F&G management here in Oregon.
Here is a picture of one such wolf track next to my boot.
wolf tracks 12_2019 (1) by T BM, on Flickr
The one animal that F&G have had the most trouble eradicating is the elk. Although elk numbers are way down (not according to F&G though - spoof article they wrote for the local paper) They have a new pilot program for 2020; over the counter 4 month long cow elk season tags.....mmnn….. I wonder …… is it coincidence that this pilots in 2020.....(hindsight) is rather telling I think.

I wish for everyone a blessed and safe holiday season. As I celebrate our Creator's Gift to mankind; I will also give a hardy thank You to my God; The Creator of all things; for this nations founding, that affords us our Freedoms. May God continue His blessings upon you and this nation. Amen
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Old Today, 06:04 PM
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DAA DAA is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: West Bountiful, Utah
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Holy smokes! Thanks for sharing !

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