OMG! I live out in the middle of nowhere and just how wild of an area was brought home in a very close encounter way!
I was taking Angel out on her last walk of the evening, when she caught a sent and was fascinated by it. So not thinking it was more than a deer had been doing it's thing, I followed her to over in front of the neighbor's weekend cabin. Which is about half a block away, but they have a light so I normally feel pretty safe because of that. From there she followed the sent to further up hill with me letting her do her thing as I had her on a long lead, was I ever thankful that she was! The moon was bright and so I foolishly allowed myself to let her follow her nose over the rise and we were going on the downhill side when I heard a twig snap..... I had my maglight and shone it over where I heard the snap and it was not a deer. Oh no. It was a cougar! A young one from the size, but a cougar about 15 feet away! Staring straight at Angel and me! And Angel let loose barking! She was about 5 feet in front of me, placing herself between me and the cougar! Saying in barks "Go Away! Go Away!" I pulled her back toward me, untangling the lead that was around her legs and mine. And slowly started backing away. It kept staring at us for what seemed like hours, but could have only been moments! Then it decided to run off into the woods and out of the light. And we high tailed it out of there as well! You don't realize just how fast you can run until you have too!
I made sure that it was gone before I ran because I know that you should never run from predators! I would have loved a picture, but then again a flash might have made it mad!
I know that we have cougars out here, we see them about every other year. There is a pair that shows up. I am not sure if they are siblings or not as we have always seen them together and I have been told that is not the norm. But you forget things like that in your day to day lives. Then you get reminded! I am just glad that I had a new lead on Angel! She had run off chasing a squirrel earlier today and so I wanted to reinforce the stay with Mommy! So I had gotten a horse lead that is about 10 ft long and that was what she was on. I am soooo glad! I don't want my baby to end up cat food! Nor me either!
So we had a very busy end of the day! And this was after a full day of gathering pecans and taking pictures and having a full run around day. I had thought that taking her for a walk would be a quick and easy thing and I would just let her come back and fall asleep! But boy did I have to wind down and calm down for a while before I could laugh about it!
The excitement of living in the wilds of the woods!
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Yes you have no idea how fast my heart was beating when I got into the house and slammed the door shut! Every other time I had seen the cats, it had been much farther away. Across the field running or up in the front of the yard under my security light where we park our cars. But that close was like WHOA! I am so glad that is was a close encounter that we were able to walk away from!
I have seen and heard everything from bears, cougars, wolves, bobcats and lynx in my woods. I guess sometimes you forget that when they haven't been around in a while. So I guess this was my reminder to be watchful!
OMG how frightening! Glad you didn't have any trouble with it. And to think I get unnerved when I hear an owl hooting in the yard. Hey, I live in the suburbs, LOL, and keep thinking of an owl swooping down and stealing little dogs. So does that mean that this cougar will be around the area now or was this unusual for it to be near the houses?
"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative" - Mordecai Siegal
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AngelsMommy: Must have been an angel watching out for you and I'm sure glad of that! We live in the woods in New Jersey, the wildest critters we've come across are coyotes and bears, and Copperheads along the creek. Though my mpoo has good recall, I too keep him on leash or a long-line for walks after dark. I typically worry more about skunks than anything else (our area bears the nickname "Skunktown" for a reason). Sounds like your cardiovascular system got quite a workout. I hope your future night-time dog walks are more peaceful.
Cabryn Chagall CGC
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From past experience, I think that we are on a rotating swing that the cats seem to make through this area. We will see them once about this time of year and then no more for a year or two.
I went out to where we crossed paths... In broad daylight so to be safer. And where the cat came out of the woods it left a mark as big as my hand... So while it was young, it still had big feet!
Angel was on high alert! Her nose was working overtime and she was looking everywhere at once. The funny thing is that last night was the only time she has ever barked more than once at anything, and she was barking at it nonstop so I think that her being so brave was part of what decided the cat to run. Yes we had the Angels on our side for sure.
I love living out here for just this reason well that it is so close to nature. Maybe not so close of an encounter as this, but I love our walks seeing all of the wildlife doing what they do best! lol This was the closest yet, I have stared a cat down before. Years ago it was a bobcat though. It was not even five feet away...... I should have remembered night walks are when these things show up! It was about the same size as my mpoo that I had at the time. But I had her in my arms at the time because I had just bathed her and wanted her to stay clean! lol
I am not sure which of us were more surprised though, the cat or me! It was up in the grassy area that I let my babies do their thing. It is a non fenced area but one of the flat spots on my hill. So I guess the cat was interested in the rabbits that seemed to come out there at night. Maybe the voles, moles and gophers too. But it sure had not expected my dog or me.
The perks of country living. We only had about 4 houses in this area. Most are just occupied on the weekends. Since the time of the bobcat, we have had one more house built close, but it is a pretty remote area. Two miles off of the main road and set back in a hillside cul-de-sac type road. It is a mile around a circle, which is where I normally walk my dogs. Uphill and down on a mile so we all get a great workout. Normally very safe and quiet. The only times I have been concerned have been from the wildlife.
The last time I was this concerned was when I still had a rescued lab out on a walk and we smelled and saw a black bear. It was on my property, we had cut a bunch of trails through the woods so I could run on soft ground. I had heard it and so was looking. Fortunately the lab kept quite and I saw it and I am pretty sure the dog did and we watched it lumber down stream without it seeing us. It was awesome watching it make it's way through the saplings just bending this way and that as it just barreled through. I was glad for the prevailing wind that day being in our favor and that the lab didn't bark, which for her was a miracle. She was a sweety but lots of voice! And high chase instinct.
I have had folks say we need to move closer in, with all of the wild life we have out here, but I love it! The memorable encounters just enforce the need to be watchful. I guess there are a few places with more wildlife but not too many nowadays without being in even more remote areas.
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AngelsMommy: Where you live sounds like heaven to me. We love living in the country for the same reason; fellow "Mother Nature" fans here! It's taken me nearly the past 18 years, but I have fairly well conquered my "snake thing." (There was a time when even coming upon their shed skins in the woods sent me packing.) I have not ever seriously contemplated a bobcat or cougar encounter, though big cats have been sighted a ways north of us. I think Chagall and I would very much enjoy traipsing through the woods with you and Angel. Although you three can run, I am strictly a walker unless I'm being chased. As an aside, following the recent Super Storm Sandy, New Jersey is reported to have lost in excess of 113,000 trees. Imagine what that's done to the landscape, and the wildlife? (I don't want to brag, but we have the most wonderful bird life here!)
I really enjoy hearing about your outdoor adventures. Stay safe!!
Last edited by Chagall's mom; 11-24-2012 at 10:14 AM.
Reason: Added a picture of my little hiking buddy!
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Here is Angel mid really big yawn on the corner of my property. I love all of the trees. The color this year has been great. First nice fall in a few years.
Yes the loss of the habitat and trees is devastating to the animals. We had wild fires in this area last year and the devastation was horrible. I pray for the ones going through similar issues because of Sandy. I have a friend that lost everything in Katrina that moved out here to start anew, so I understand what they are dealing with at least to an extent.
I birdwatch all of the time that I can. They are as fun to watch as poodles at play. lol I have even seen a few very rare specimens.
One of the reasons I love living here is all of the wonderful places around. Right now the lake is very low due to the drought, but I have seen worst. At least it is not as bad here as elsewhere.
Here is Angel at the lake where we live. It is about a mile and a half as the crow flies, but 3 miles on the road.
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