Image: A Cougar in My Garden.
You could say it was all my fault … but there was a cougar in my garden today.
I was picking huckleberries, and you know how it is – the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Or at least the berries are redder. So I turned off the electric fence to crawl through it, and pick huckleberries from a bush 20 feet or so away. Of course, once I was through the fence, I couldn’t turn it back on, as the fencer control unit is inside the fence. To give myself some credit, I know there are lots of bears around, and I don’t go blithely picking berries without paying serious attention to my surroundings. After about half an hour, I had all the berries I wanted, nothing untoward had happened, I clambered back through the fence, turned the fence back on, and went into the cabin to make supper.
After supper, having enjoyed huckleberries for dessert, we were washing dishes. I was putting stuff away and had my back to the front windows. Ken said sharply, “Look!”. And of course, I did. There was a cougar in my garden! A really big cougar, with big feet, tromping all over my litle plants. I suppose I could have down what legend says some women do in this situation – chase the cougar out of the yard with a broom, but this cougar had forelegs twice as thick as my arms. I really didn’t think I wanted to play patty-pat with this pussy cat.
Ken took several great shots of the cougar from our position of safety inside the cabin. It heard us talking and turned towards us, but Ken tapped his camera against the glass of the window. Wild animals don’t like mechanical clinks and clicks. They seem to have an innate sense that mechanical sounds coming from humans could mean danger. In any case, the cougar, which had been pacing along the inside of the fence, turned back towards the fence and tried to squeeze between two of the wires. Nothing seemed to happen until the it got about halfway through, and then one of the wires must have worked its way through the thick fur and reached skin. Suddenly, the cougar lunged forward and kicked out its hind legs like it was trying to buck. A second later and it was gone as if it had never been there. It’s good to know the fence actually works – when it’s turned on.
We figured that the cougar had gotten in when I had the fence down. Then it kept walking along the inside of the fence, possibly trying to get out, or looking for an opening. I suspect it has now had enough bad experiences with our fence that it is unlikely to want to cross it again, whether it is turned on or not!