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Gold Beach: Two Cougar Sightings Concern for S. Oregon Coast Wildlife Officials

Published 5/21/24 at 6:45 a.m.
By Andre' Hagestedt, Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(Gold Beach, Oregon) – Two cougars have recently been sighted in the south Oregon coast town of Gold Beach during daylight hours, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has sent notice to residents to keep a lookout. It is of concern to wildlife officials and to the Gold Beach Police Department.

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The sightings happened in the Tomcat Hill / Hound Dog Road area and in the Riley Creek area near the elementary school. Both areas are in a rural-urban interface.

“While wildlife is often seen in these areas, it is unusual to see cougars during daylight hours,” ODFW said. “Cougars are normally elusive, wary of people, and are more active at dusk and dawn.”

Residents of Gold Beach are being told to report any cougar sightings to ODFW at 541-247-7605.

The incident has some shades of what happened last year on the north Oregon coast, where a cougar was found hanging out on Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach one morning in mid July. Following this were a couple of cougar sightings in Nehalem Bay State Park. Cougar 'Standoff' on N. Oregon Coast: Officials Wait for Cat to Leave Haystack Rock / Cannon Beach

The Cannon Beach incident the entire beach shut down for the day as they waited for the big cat to leave after dark. It did just that.

Now, in Gold Beach, officials are somewhat concerned about these incidents.

ODFW said if you encounter a cougar you should:


ODFW

Remain calm and back away slowly, but always stay facing it – and keep direct eye contact.

Give the cougar a path to escape.

Raise your voice; make a lot of noise.

Do NOT run. This will trigger a chase response.

Pick up children, but do so without bending down or turning your back to the cougar.

If it becomes aggressive at all, raise your arms to make yourself appear larger and clap your arms.


ODFW

Cougar attacks are unlikely, but if that happens: “fight back with rocks, sticks, bear or pepper spray, tools, or any item available.”

ODFW is telling residents to know their neighborhood and be aware of any wildlife corridors in the vicinity. They stress not to feed any deer (which is the cougar's main prey along with elk).

“By attracting wildlife, you may attract a cougar,” ODFW said.

In this case, there is no evidence the big cats are reaching the beach areas in or around Gold Beach, although if you go hiking deep into trails that head eastward in the Oregon Coast Range you should take precautions like carrying deterrent spray and be alert.

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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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