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Oregon wildlife officials kill cougar in Deschutes County

A 10-month-old cougar is startled by a trail camera in the California mountains.
National Park Service
A 10-month-old cougar is startled by a trail camera in the California mountains.

An Oregon wildlife official shot and killed a cougar Sunday after the animal attracted the gunfire of armed residents in a neighborhood south of Bend.

Before law enforcement intervened, two residents tried to shoot the cougar themselves, according to a press release from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

The shooters reportedly told police that earlier in the day they saw the large cat kill a deer, and then the cougar behaved aggressively toward them, so they started shooting. They missed the animal, and one of the bullets struck a nearby house, the release states.

Deputies cited both people for alleged criminal mischief.

After escaping the residents’ gunfire, the cougar, a 120-pound male, hid under a house porch before deputies saw it moving through yards in the Deschutes River Woods neighborhood, police said.

A wildlife tracker with the Oregon State Police ultimately shot and killed the animal.

Cougars are commonly sighted in this area, near a popular recreational stretch of the Deschutes River, said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Michelle Dennehy.

Most of the time the animals are just passing through, she said, and aren’t considered a risk to people.

“This cougar was hanging around residential areas, in and around houses, and being seen repeatedly in daylight — behavior that indicates a human safety risk,” Dennehy said.
ODFW supported the decision to euthanize the animal.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Emily Cureton Cook is OPB’s Central Oregon Bureau Chief. She's the former producer of the Jefferson Exchange on JPR and has contributed award-winning programming to Georgia Public Broadcasting. Emily is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin where she earned degrees in history, studio art and Russian.