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More Cougar Sightings Within North Oregon Coast Town, Police Urge Caution

Published 08/01/23 at 3:31 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

More Cougar Sightings on North Oregon Coast, Words of Caution Issued

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Just when you stopped hearing about them, they appear to be back. Or maybe it's all just one cougar. Photo above courtesy ODFW: cougar photographed in a central Oregon forest

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More cougar sightings have happened on the north Oregon coast around Cannon Beach, a little less than two weeks after a big incident with a cougar on Haystack Rock caused a media stir and shut down the beaches around the landmark. Cougar Leaves Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock, This Part of Oregon Coast Back Open / Video

Meanwhile, down in Nehalem Bay State Park, all trails are back open after some cougar sightings had spooked park rangers there

Cannon Beach Police Department said on Monday they had received two reports of a cougar that day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Although not positively identified, these indicate some worrisome behavior of the “potential cougar:” it was seen just west of Highway 101 and between 2nd and Sunset in Cannon Beach. This is in a brushy area just above the local neighborhoods. Some residents have expressed dismay that the cougar is lingering in the area when it is at its busiest.

“There are also coyotes in the area and an injured elk. Please be very cautious in the area. State Police has been advised,” said the police department on social late Monday.

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A bit further south on the Oregon coast, Nehalem Bay State Park was finally able to reopen the set of trails that had been closed due to cougar sightings. They opened back up on July 26, with Oregon State Parks and Recreation (OPRD) saying they still advised caution and awareness at the park.

“Cougars are a natural part of this environment but you can minimize potential contact by keeping food and garbage secured in vehicles or campers, keeping pets contained in carriers or close to you on leashes and being aware of your surroundings,” OPRD said in a bulletin.

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The issue has become a little more prominent after a child was attacked by a cougar this week in northern Washington.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said there are hundreds of cougars in the state, and their population in the Oregon Coast Range has been growing. Though they lean towards preying on deer, they also go for small rodents, birds and rabbits.

Normally, cougars are wary of humans and stay clear of them. They will usually retreat if they have the opportunity.

If you do encounter a cougar, ODFW suggests:

Photo Khula Makhalira

- Remain calm and do not run. Running can trigger their hunt / chase response, which can make them attack.

- Back away slowly

- Do not turn your back to the cougar. Maintain eye contact

- Speak loudly

- Make yourself appear bigger by raising your arms, even clapping your hands

“In the unlikely event of an attack, fight back with rocks, sticks, bear or pepper spray, tools or any items available,” ODFW said. MORE PHOTOS BELOW


Andy Woo

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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