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Young-Adult Cougars Looking For A Home Of Their Own Can Cause Problems

Greg Hume

This time of year, young Northwest cougars are getting kicked out of the nest by their mother cats. That means many of these young adults are looking for their own home range.

But that sometimes ends in trouble.

Rich Mann, an enforcement captain with Washington’s Department of Fish & Wildlife, said there have been some suspicious kills of sheep and goats near Yakima and Ellensburg. Just like college kids having to figure out how to wash their own clothes and get enough sleep, Mann explained young cougars have to learn to sharpen their hunting skills, and where not to hunt.

Often, young cats are trying to avoid larger, older cats and they are forced toward more populated areas, and farms.

Mann said if you see a cougar or a fresh kill, back away and call the state.

“If you find a kill like that, especially a fresh one, there’s a good chance a cougar is still in the area," Mann said. "So leave it alone, don’t become a threat to their food source without calling us.”

But for the most part, Mann says cougars stay well out of humans’ way.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.