ATTACK DEFINITIONThis page covers the time period for biologist Paul Beier's research (1890 - 1990). To remain consistent with data presented by biologist Paul Beier and other researchers, an attack is defined primarily as an incident in which a wild cougar bit, clawed, or knocked down a human. An attack may be included that was thwarted if it appears contact was otherwise imminent. Attacks by captive cougars are omitted. OTHER INCIDENTS | LINKSHunter incidents, attacks on animals, non-injury encounters, and accounts considered to be unconfirmed have been moved to This Separate Page. Incidents since Beier's time period are as linked below. Many links expire on the internet, but my goal has been to present enough information here for researchers to find needed data from the original sources. CREDITBecause I found no other sources, some accounts from the 1920's through the 1980's are closely quoted from Kathy Etling's book, Cougar Attacks, Encounters of the Worst Kind. I have contacted her for permission, and I may abridge my text if she requests this. I am indebted to Kathy Etling for her data, whether quoted fairly fully or abridged. For details and context, and for incidents in addition to ones found by Paul Beier (some before 1890) order a copy of her book.
[1991-2000 attacks] [2001-2010 attacks] [2011-2020 attacks] [Other Incidents]
Deaths are highlighted in red text.
1890 (1 Report found of a fatal attack resulting in one death)
19 June. A 7-year-old boy, Arthur Dangle was killed by two lions while playing among oak trees some distance from his home in Quartz Valley, Siskiyou County, California. Sources: (1995 DFG Outdoor California) (Paul Beier; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 148 & table page 229)
1909 (1 Report found including two deaths result from rabid lion bites) 28 April.
05 July. A mountain lion injured 38-year-old Isola Kennedy and 10-year-old Earl Wilson near Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County, California. Both were said to have died of rabies 9 weeks and 7 weeks later respectively, but no tests were done, and they more probably died of blood poisoning as the symptoms of high fever, lockjaw, and spinal meningitis were listed. According to the June, 1994, Animal People Online News, Jogger's death starts puma panic, Morgan Hill school teacher Isola Kennedy, 38, and her pupil Earl Wilson, 8, survived their wounds, but died of the rabies some weeks later. The age of the boy differs from other accounts, so this version needs verification. According to researcher and historian Beth Wyman, no symptoms of rabies were reported for either victim, and the boy was 10, as most others report. Sources: (1995 DFG Outdoor California) (Paul Beier; 1991) (Morgan Hill Times; Historic Attack by Beth Wyman; 03/26/2004)
1910 - 1988 As few as 6 deaths - possibly due to bountied hunting
1916 (1 Report found)
23 September. At about 2:00 p.m. friends Doreen Ashburnham, 11, and Tony Farrer, 8, were walking the trail to Bear Lake near the town of Cowichan Lake in British Columbia looking for their horses. The two youngsters were carrying bridles with big snaffle bits when they saw a cougar lying on the trail facing them. Doreen must have turned, as the lion jumped on her back knocking her to the ground gnawing and clawing her back and hip. Tony came to the rescue, hitting the lion repeatedly with his bridle. The lion backed off Doreen, and both children tried to drive the lion away with their bridles. But the lion sprang forward again, "catching Tony by his forehead with its front paw, ripping his scalp, then his shoulders, his hips, his legs into ribbons of flesh." Afraid of hitting Tony with her bridle, Doreen says,
A 2.5-year-old, 7' 9" lion with cataracts was found and shot. As Doreen recovered from blood poisoning and Tony from the multiple lacerations all over his body requiring 72 stitches, a congratulatory letter sent by former American President Teddy Roosevelt was just one of a flood. In 1917 Tony and Doreen were awarded the Albert Medal from the King of England for Gallantry in saving life on land. In 1974 the Albert Medals were changed to Gold Crosses which are stored within the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
So I jumped on his back and I reached around and put my arm in his mouth--you can see where I got nicely chewed up in a few thousand places--and I managed to scratch a little bit [sic] his eyes and it finally let go.
Sources: (Welcome to Cowichan Lake!) (Paul Beier; 1991) (Integrated Land Management Bureau; BCGNIS Query Results; BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; 2001; page 70 & table page 191)
1924 (1 Report found including one death)
17 December. A 13-year-old boy, Jimmie Fehlhaber, was killed by a cougar near Olema, Washington. He had been sent to pick up a team of horses at a neighboring ranch. On snowshoes, he took a shortcut that followed a winding trail and dropped down into a coulee at one point. Tracks in the snow indicted the cat had followed the boy, staying out of sight in the brush to one side of the trail. When Jimmie finally spotted the cat, he ran to a small tree, probably with the hope of climbing it. He managed to cover 100 yards that separated him from the cougar before it leapt onto the boy and knocked him to the ground. Evidence showed that the boy fought back, stabbing and slashing the cougar with a small jack-knife. But the cougar prevailed. The boy's hands had been badly chewed up, and his thigh partially consumed. Then the cougar had partially covered his body and left. Recovered at the scene were the open jack knife, a good luck charm the boy carried, and the animal's left front dew-claw, which he had managed to cut off before he died. A bounty was offered and the cougar was shot and various accounts reported it in good health and a in state of starvation, 3-years-old and 13-years-old, male and female, one cougar and two cougars. Sources: (Cougar Attacks on Humans in the United States and Canada; Paul Beier; 1991) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) (John Craig; The Spokesman-Review; 08/25/99) (Backpacker.com, Cougar Attacks Growing In Washington, 09/02/99) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; 2001; pages 91-92 & table page 230)
1934 (1 Injury Report)
04 May. 56-year-old Soren Gunder Jensen, known as Sam, was walking along the Government Road at Holberg, on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. As his mission was to cut some wood, he was carrying an axe across his shoulder. He was suddenly pounced upon by a cougar with such force that it knocked the axe out of his hand and onto the road. The cougar bit Jensen's upper arm. Jensen tried to break the cougar's grip by using his free hand to force its jaws apart. He could not do this, so he struggled to reach his axe. Eventually, he was able to grab the axe handle. He tried to sink the axe bit between the animal's shoulders but only managed to land a glancing blow. This was enough to back the cougar off, and it ran back across the road without trying to follow Jensen who retreated to his home.
When he explained what happened to his neighbor, Niels Hansen took his dog and rifle to look for the cougar. At the site where Jensen had been mauled, the cat appeared and took after Hansen's dog. Hansen shot and killed it. No record of the age, weight, gender, and health status of the cougar was recorded.
Sam Jensen was treated in the Port Alice Hospital for several puncture wounds on his arm, lacerations, and a "clawed-over" scalp. His hospital stay was 3 days, but a doctor treated him in a local hotel for a week longer before he was allowed to return home.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 70-71 & table page 192)
1935 (1 Injury Report)
April or May. At work as a bucker for Olsen & Becker logging company on the Indian Reserve near Quatsino, Ole Johnson bent over to clear his saw of brush so that he could finish the cut he was working on. As he did so, he felt something big fall on his back. Johnson assumed that a large limb had fallen out of another tree and struck him. When he turned to look, however, he saw that a cougar was on his back, and it began to claw him. It tore his face badly, opening it up from the nose and mouth clear back to his ear. Johnson yelled for help. His screams brought his fellow workers to his aid.
Accounts vary but in December of 1955, one author (Frank Dufresne of Outdoor Life) wrote "it took two other loggers armed with axes to get the [cougar] off Johnson's back." It appears that the cougar was shot within a day, but by whom is not clear. It may have been Johnson himself. The age, weight, gender, and health status of the cougar was not recorded.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 71 & table page 192)
1949 (1 Report found including one death in British Columbia)
June. Peter Taylor, 7, was killed while walking on the beach at Walters Bay, near Kyuquot, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. He was not far from where his parents were picnicking with some neighbors. A cougar suddenly rushed out of the brush and attacked. When his parents heard his struggle, they raced to his aid as did more rescuers brandishing boat tools. They were able to pull Peter away from the cat while he was still alive but mortally wounded. His head and scalp had been mangled and torn and his skull punctured. His face was deeply slashed and one hand was dangling by a thread. His father later told an investigator, "His head was nearly torn off." Heavy fog prevented an Alberni Air Lines mercy flight carrying a doctor and blood plasma from landing any closer than 50 miles away, and the boy died.
Three B.C. Game Department hunters managed to land in Kyuquot by airplane the next day. Their hounds treed the cougar weighing 80 pounds (normal for its age) which was shot. Investigation showed the cougar had been feeding on 2 raccoon carcasses which were just 15 feet from where Peter Taylor was attacked.
News coverage of Peter Taylor's death in 1949 demonstrates that this may be the era when people first began to adopt our modern attitudes toward impressive, cute, and/or amusing animals, including predators. Regarding the savage killing of Peter Taylor, a newspaper opined that the cougar was merely defending what was his own. This is the first evidence I have found of this now common attitude beginning to emerge. Perhaps laying the groundwork in our psyches from childhood to adulthood, Walt Disney's influential Bambi in this same era (1942) pioneered and dramatized the concept of man as the most sinister and heartless threat to all wildlife. A few years later Disney's "true life," anthropomorphic, animal adventures series (described as a perfect balance of scientifically enlightening nature films and fairy tales by Amazon.com) began portraying animals with human-like personalities.
Sources: (British Columbia Newspaper Awards) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 72 & table page 231) (Paul Beier; 1991) (Walt Disney Legacy Collection - True Life Adventures, Vol. 1 (1953); Amazon.com Editorial Reviews)
1951 (1 Injury Report Found)
26 January. A little after 9:00 p.m. a cougar leaped through a glass window and attacked 62-year-old telephone lineman Ed McLean who worked at Kelsey Bay on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. After his day's work, McLean had returned to a company line cabin in late afternoon. While cutting wood to prepare his dinner, he noticed the cougar prowling about. He disregarded it, as he had seen it hanging around the cabin before. McLean had no gun because the deep snow made it difficult to carry it in addition to all the repair equipment he needed.
When he went inside he made certain his dog came in too. At about 9:00 p.m. he prepared for bed and noticed the cougar still lurking outside, so he extinguished his gas lantern thinking the cougar might have been attracted by the light or his movement inside the cabin. No sooner had he done this than the cougar bolted through the window, and grasped McLean's elbow in its jaws. His frightened spaniel hid under the bed. Somehow McLean managed to get the cougar pinned beneath him while the cougar's fangs groped up his arm and gouged into his shoulder. McLean pushed the cat across the floor ahead of him to a butcher knife he'd left laying on the table. His strength fading, McLean managed to grab the knife and stab the throat of the cat. Despite badly wounded arms, McLean was confident he had cut through clear to the cat's jugular, and he waited for the cat to grow weak from blood loss. Finally able to drag himself away he headed toward the door with his cowering dog called to his side. McLean was shocked to see the cougar "whip around to follow" them.
Once outside with his dog, he quickly slammed the cabin door shut. He could hear the cougar inside gasping for breath. He made it to a rowboat and headed across the bay for another line cabin about 6 miles away. Though from a favorable direction for the success of his journey, the west wind was bitter, and McLean was wearing only underwear. He was barefoot, hatless, and wounded. With the wind from another direction, he might have been pulled out to sea, but he made it to the other cabin. There he tried telephoning for help immediately, but he could not locate anyone. His hands were so wounded he could not light a match to start a fire for warmth, so he slept the night in the cold cabin. Finally, at 9:00 a.m. he was able to contact his office. His bedding and underwear were so soaked in now dried blood that his rescuers had to cut his underwear from his body. McLean was transported to the Salmon River Logging Company office where he received first aid. He was then driven to Lourdes Hospital in Campbell River, arriving there late in the afternoon of the day following his attack. McLean remained hospitalized for 4 days where he was treated for loss of blood, exposure, and wounds including a badly chewed right elbow, left forearm, and thumb. He also had a split ear and his body was full of claw marks. He was not allowed to return to Kelsey Bay (and back to work?) until almost 3 weeks after his attack--on February 15.
When Fred Dingwall and Bill French, who had first arrived to aid McLean, returned to the cabin where McLean was attacked the day after the attack, they discovered the cat lying in McLean's bed, still barely alive but appearing ready to do battle once more when it heard the two men. Remaining outside, one of the men shot the cougar where it lay. It was a starving young female about 1.5 years old, weighing only 56 pounds. This cougar was NOT merely defending what was her own. It was clearly trying to make McLean a meal.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 73-75 & table page 193) (Paul Beier; 1991)
1953 (2 Injury Reports found and 1 Report where injuries unconfirmed)
02 March. At about noon, 43-year-old Gerald Walters, a woodsman and guide was attacked by a cougar while fishing Victoria Lake on the north end of Vancouver Island. He was with R.H. "Buck" Richmond, manager of the Alaska Pine and Cellulose pulp mill at Port Alice and their sons. After several hours of fishing, they went ashore and built a fire for lunch. Walters walked into the timber to gather more wood for the fire. As he bent to choose twigs and branches, he happened to glance up and see a cougar crouched down low behind a downed log, ready to spring. It hissed, then lunged at Walters. Walters screamed, "A cougar's got me!" and when Richmond decided he was serious, he raced to the scene with his axe.
When he arrived, he found Walters and the cougar rolling about on the ground. Walters had one hand down the cat's throat and was holding its loose throat skin with the other, as he tried to distance the cat's fangs from his face and throat. For her part, the cougar was biting and clawing the man's hand for all she was worth. Richmond waited until the cat was on top and drove his axe blade all the way through the cougar's spine. This did not stop the cat, and it took 3 more hard whacks with the back of his axe to kill her. After the cat was dead, its jaws had to be pried from the man's hand. Walters suffered sever lacerations on his right leg and bites to his right hand. Richmond suffered only scratches.
The female lion measured 5' 7". According to researcher Paul Beier, the cougar was a 2-year-old of normal weight. John Lesowski, the investigating officer for the British Columbia Fish and Game Branch told Walters and Richmond that the cat was very thin and near starvation.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 75-76 & table page 194)
14 April. Cougar grabs man's leg in Big Bend National Park, Texas. See this unconfirmed injury report HERE
10 June. At about 9:00 a.m. Mrs. Coon was attacked by a cougar which had been stalking people in the logging camp near Big [Kaikash] Creek not far from Beaver Harbor on Vancouver Island, BC in Canada. The cougar was threatening enough that the men decided to get a gun from Alert Bay. Her husband told her to remain inside while he found someone to help him hunt down the cat, but she was afraid to stay alone, so she asked him to accompany her to a neighbor's home where she planned to stay until the cougar was killed.
Peter Coon relented, and the pair headed for the neighbor's home. Mrs. Coon was following close behind her husband when the cougar jumped her, pinning her to the ground. It had apparently been lying in wait beneath their cabin. Other men from the camp came to help. Owner of the logging camp, Lawrence "Hilly" Lansdowne, unsuccessfully tried to pull the cougar from Peter's wife, and then he shouted to the others to throw rocks at it. This infuriated the cougar which reared up on it's hind legs allowing him to grab it and throw it off Mrs. Coon. She was picked up and carried her back into her cabin. (The way this account is worded, it is possible that Peter pulled the cougar from his own wife, not Lansdowne.)
Mrs. Coon was taken to Alert Bay for medical treatment. She suffered severe lacerations to her shoulders and arms. She had used her hands to fight the animal's fangs away from her face and throat. They were badly chewed. One report stated the flesh was completely torn off a portion of her ribs.
The emaciated 60- to 70-pound female cougar had retreated into a nearby log pile. It was later located and killed by government hunter Skate Hames as it rushed back out of the log pile to attack his hunting hounds.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 76-77 & table page 195)
1957 (1 Injury Report and 1 Incomplete report found)
date not recorded. All that was reported is that a man was attacked near Victoria Lake on Vancouver island, BC. The attacking female cougar was killed. She was 110 pounds and considered healthy. Source: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 76-77 & table page 195) (Kathy Etling's reference to Wildlife Branch Files, in turn referencing James Y. Nicol's article in Times West, Vol.5, No.3, Jan/Feb, 1958)
03 July. 29-year-old Swiss immigrant Chris Wyssen was lightly scratched by a cougar while greasing his bulldozer in a logging operation about 8 miles north of Squamish in British Columbia, Canada. He had stopped to maintain the dozer on a road on property owned by A.C. Finter. When he was through, he turned around and saw a cougar slinking behind him. He let out a yell and jumped back up on the dozer track. The cougar reached a forepaw up and ripped his pants, scratching his leg.
Wyssen noticed 4 additional cougars watching from a nearby log, so he turned the throttle up and roared the motor as loudly as possible to turn the pack away, but they did not budge. To the contrary, the bold cougar that had scratched him just lay down close to the dozer and calmly watched him. Wyssen then struggled in his excitement to get the dozer in gear and fled. All 5 cougars loped after him for some distance before he was able to lose them.
As soon as he was informed, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer arrived on the scene with hunter Irwin Thorn who shot two of the cougars. The rest were hunted for 5 days with the aid of hounds but were never found. Property owner Finter believed that this group of cougars had not eaten recently. The two shot were about 5 feet long, weighing no more than 30 pounds each.
According to Paul Beier's research of 1991, this event took place 06/30/1951, but Kathy Etling's Cougar Attacks Encounters of the Worst Kind copyrighted in 2001 reported it as occurring more probably in 1957: One researcher indicated that the reporting party was unable to read clearly whether the year was 1951 or 1957. Early in 2012, a local Squamish conservationist, John Buchanan, provided evidence that the attack took place 07/03/1957. He provided scans of several microfilm copies of confirming articles with photos. Also, the number of cougars involved is questionable. A British Columbia Predator Control report listed a female and her 3 half-grown kittens--all in very poor shape, but the articles provided by Buchanan, indicated a female and 4 others (probably her young).
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 53-54 & table page 195) (Paul Beier; 1991) (emails and scanned microfilms of articles from John Buchanan; 01/30/2012, 02/14/2012, and 02/15/2012)
1962 (1 Injury Report and 1 non-human Injury Report found)
16 March. 6-year-old Brian Kilbreath of Hinton, Alberta, was playing with other children not far from his home when he was attacked by a 1.5-year-old, underweight cougar reported to be in poor condition. A neighbor pulled the cougar off Brian who suffered claw marks to his face and a scratch to his eye. The cougar was shot.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, table page 196)
August. Vancouver Island woman attacked by scrawny cougar, Only her dog was injured. See this report HERE
1963 (1 Injury Report found)
15 June. 6-year-old Bobbie Moore was attacked by a cougar near Prince George, British Columbia, as he walked home from a fishing trip with his older brother and sister. Not far from their home, the cougar suddenly appeared from a clump of bushes growing close to the road the children were walking on. It lunged at Bobbie and clawed into his shoulders and then sank it's fangs into the back of his head, narrowly missing an artery. His siblings were walking slightly ahead of Bobbie. When they heard him scream, they turned and yelled at the cat, and both took action. Bobbie's brother Michael spotted a discarded spade by the side of the road and beat the cougar away along with his sister Diana who repeatedly slapped the cougar with her stringer of fish. An adult, male, underweight cougar was later shot.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 54-55 &table page 196)
1965 (1 Injury Report found)
05 March. 15-year-old John Simpkins was attacked by a cougar while working to build a barbed-wire fence on Jim Baker's Ranch near Loon Lake about 25 miles northwest of Ashcroft, BC. John was standing about 60 feet downhill from 43-year-old Baker when the rancher caught sight of a cougar easing out from behind a clump of junipers a few yards from Simpkins.
Baker yelled, "Look out, a cougar!" but Simpkins only had time to turn his head. "I saw it in mid-air, right above me, he said, "then it landed on me with such force, its weight knocked me flat on my back" The cougar had cleared 16 feet in a single leap to reach the teen. The cat was almost instantly on top of Simpkins with its fangs at his head and neck. Simpkins shielded his face and throat with his hands as the cougar continued its attack undeterred. The cat's razor-sharp canines ripped apart his forehead and scalp. Baker shouted instructions to the boy to keep his head lowered defensively which Simpkins obeyed while Baker jumped astride the cat and tried to drag it off Simpkins. The cat became more determined biting down harder on the lad. Jim pulled out his knife which he jabbed deep into the cat's throat. He was unable to sever the cougar's jugular, but the sudden pain must have been enough to finally back the cat off. It screamed and ran into a brushpile. Baker grabbed a hammer they had been using to build the fence and headed for the cat. The cat leapt into a tree out of his reach just as Baker was 4 feet from it, so Baker rushed back to help the badly bleeding boy. With Simpkins now in shock, it was all Baker could handle to get the boy to the hospital alive.
Simpkins received over thirty stitches to close lacerations on his head, face, and arm. He was finally released from the hospital after 10 days.
The day after the attack, Baker returned to the attack site with a neighbor to find the cat, but there was no sign of it. Another 24 hours later, B.C. conservations officers tracked the cat as best they could with dogs. Later in the day a lean, gaunt, female cougar was spotted near the attack site. The officers' dogs treed it and it was shot. This 3-year-old was over 6 feet in length but weighed only 70 pounds instead of a normal weight of over 100 pounds. Examination of the animal showed her to be starving.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 55-56 & table page 196)
1966 (1 Non-Injury Report found)
18 June (or October by some authorities). Boy's rubber boot becomes decoy for pursuing cougar. See this non-injury report HERE
1969 (1 Injury Report found)
12 September. 13-year-old David Zimmerman was on his way at about 6:00 p.m. to his play fort while living at the Franklin River logging camp about 20 miles south of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, BC. A cougar rushed out of the brush and attacked him.I started to back up, but it came forward, sprang, and grabbed my leg. I started to scream, and it moved back about ten feet. Then I took off my coat and started to wave it [at the cougar] and it backed off.David then made a run for it and managed to escape with only minor leg scratches and lacerations.
Residents of the logging camp tracked down and killed the cougar. No record was found of its gender, weight, age, health. They expressed concern over the incident and the idea that maybe bounty hunting should be reestablished.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 77-78 & table page 197)
1970 (3 Injury Reports found)
02 June. A 2-year-old Lewis, Colorado, boy, Travis Imel, left to play in his yard, had his leg bitten by a mountain lion.It was about 9:00 a.m., and I was playing in the yard. I was at our residence in Lewis, Colorado. Lewis is about 15 miles north of Cortez, Colorado. I wandered into our garage and saw the lion under a workbench. Unafraid, I went to play with the cat. It bit my right leg (I still have nice scars from his canines). At that point, I screamed and my grandmother came to see what was going on. She found me lying on the garage floor. They think the lion was still under the bench. She could tell that an animal caused my injuries. She grabbed me, and on the way out, she shut the garage door to lock in anything that might be in there. She called a neighbor who picked us up and took me to the hospital. (My Grandfather was working on the farm.) I did not have any stitches. The cougar's canine teeth went to the bone with only some tearing, so they left the wounds open.Sources: (Statistics on mountain lion attacks in Colorado) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
Later that day, animal control and some neighbors went in with small nets to catch whatever bit me; they thought it was a dog or bobcat. After finding nothing on the floor of the garage, my grandfather placed a ladder to the rafters, where there was some storage. At the top, he came face to face with the cat. Everyone got out of the garage in a hurry. The Sheriff and Fish & Game were called. Also called was Melvin Forest (A government trapper) who brought hounds. While the hounds kept the lion up in the rafters, the game warden shot the cat with a tranquillizer. The warden named in the newspaper was Millard Graham, but I think there was more than one.
They took the lion to the vet clinic where they held the cat to check for rabies. After about 10 days, the lion was set to be released into a wilderness area. The lion was a healthy, young, 150 pound male. At transport time, the lion was accidentally given too much tranquilizer and died. I heard the lion was stuffed and placed in some state building or wildlife museum. I sure would like to see him again. This ran in all local news, the Denver paper and, I believe, in some larger California papers. My Cousin in Vietnam even heard it on the radio. We received letters from all over.
(e-mails from Travis Imel, early April, 2003)
15 June. A cougar attacked 50-year-old Daphne Smith while hiking with the Rocky Mountain Ramblers Association group in Kootenay National Park in British Columbia not far from Radium Hot Springs in Eastern BC. She became separated from the group on Kindersley Creek Trail and was headed down a gully when she saw the cougar headed directly toward her from some trees.I stopped and stood my ground. She came up to within 4 feet of me and we stared at one another for about a minute. Then she lunged at me. I dodged, and her claws caught me in the left arm, lacerating it most of the way around.The cougar backed up, giving Smith the opportunity to slip her pack from her back and set it up as a shield.I knew you must never run from a wild animal or show fear. I began talking to her the way you would if you were trying to sooth a dog or a cat. As long as I kept talking and remained motionless, the cougar would make no move toward me. When I stopped speaking or tried to move out of the way, the cougar would twitch it's tail and bare her fangs.Smith pulled her raincoat out of the pack and covered her arm wound so that the smell of blood would not excite the cougar. After a 30 minute stand-off, the cougar let the woman move slowly away. It sniffed the woman's blood on the ground but remained calm. It laid down and continued to watch the retreating woman.
When Daphne reached a log, she feared the motion of crossing it would incite a 2nd attack from the cougar, so she called out for help without screaming for aid. Her companions heard her calls and one blew on a whistle which succeed in frightening the cougar away. She was given first aid in the field and then transported to Inverness Hospital where her lacerations were stitched.
The cougar was apparently not hunted. The gender, age, and health of the cat were not determined. Because of cougar lore (that cougars will only attack if defending young or cornered) in that decade, Daphne probably assumed it was a female protecting cubs.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 57-58 & table page 197)
22 December. Dennis Collie, 29 was ambushed by a cougar at about 8:00 a.m. as he was returning from the wash-house at his logging operation's 10-Mile Camp near Harrison Lake in lower British Columbia. Until he felt the teeth and claws, he first though it was one of the other guys roughhousing. The cat bit Collie's jaw and clawed his shoulders and back. Collie struggled with it for about 3 minutes before manipulating it onto it's back.
Camp owner Don Williams came to his aid with a .303 rifle but was afraid he'd hit Collie. When he finally shot, Collie was able to jump up and run away. Wiliam's second shot killed the 2-year-old, female cougar of normal weight.
Collie was taken to a hospital to be stitched back together. I assume he also got antibiotic treatment and that the cat was tested to see if he needed rabies treatment. In the 12/23/1970 edition of the Vancouver Sun, Collie was reported to have said he didn't know how many stitches it took, he lost count.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 58 & table page 197)
1971 (2 Reports found including one death in British Columbia and 1 Injury Report)
03 January. Lawrence Wells, 12, was mauled to death by an underweight 12-year-old male cougar near Lytton, British Columbia, while playing near his home by some railroad tracks with his two younger sisters Bernadette, 10 and Valerie, 7. They were playing in a culvert that they first tried to get their dog to go through. When the dog uncharacteristically refused, Lawrence went ahead first. As he emerged from the other end a cougar was waiting to seize him.
The cat dragged the boy away as the sisters ran for help. The boy's father John grabbed a rifle and responded immediately. Mrs. Wells also rushed to the scene. Both parents navigated the culvert just in time to see the cougar drag Lawrence's body toward the underbrush. John fired his rifle high in hopes that Lawrence was still alive. He shot 3 times, wounding the cougar. Only then did the cougar drop the boy who was already dead.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police later trailed the cougar and found it lying in the brush about 50 yards from where John Wells had shot it. One of the officers shot it twice more to be certain it was dead.
Sources: (British Columbia Newspaper Awards) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 59 & table page 231)
22 December. Kerry Sieh, currently (12/2004) a professor at Caltech, and Dennis Bird, a professor at Stanford, were undergraduates at field camp when they were attacked by a mountain lion while walking along a ledge of limestone. The two geology students were exploring Dry Canyon in the Roberts Mountains of Nevada in Eureka County. "I heard a whimpering sound and looked up. There was this big tawny animal crouched on the ledge above Bird," Sieh recalls.
The mountain lion pounced on Bird, knocking him onto a pile of talus (loose rocks). Later he remarked, "He [the cougar] missed my head by a few inches and nearly took me out!" Although seriously injured from the initial fall and the subsequent wounds from the catís claws, Bird tried the ploy of calmly playing dead.
Meanwhile, Sieh jumped down the cliff and began throwing limestone cobbles at the big cat. Several of his missiles missed their mark. "I never was much of a baseball player," Sieh said, but he finally hit the lion between the eyes and it bounded away.
Sieh then turned to Bird, who was bleeding profusely. "Literally, he was soaked in red, head to torso," Sieh says. Worried that the big cat might circle around and attack them again, the two hiked out 5 miles. Sieh found their supervising professors and a car. Together, they drove Bird 120 miles to the nearest hospital, in Ely. Bird was treated for lacerations to the top of his head and his shoulders. According to Paul Beier's records, an adult female cougar of normal weight was shot.
Sources: (Geotimes; Dangerous Field Encounters; Callan Bentley; December 2004) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Table page 198) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
1972 (5 Injury Reports Found including the death of one child)
June. According to Kathy Etling:BC's Wildlife Branch files state only that "a baby survived a mauling at Ralph River campsite," and that "cougar was not located." Since this campsite is in Strathcona Park, on Vancouver Island, site of the above lion attack on Al Hurford, it was thought the same animal might be responsible for both attacks.Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 78, Table page 198) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
June. Al Hurford, 25, from Courtenay, BC, was camping in Strathcona Park near the Campbell River area of Vancouver Island, BC, when he was attacked after dark by a cougar. He was with two other fishermen at the lakeside camp that night. The cat slashed Hurford's head, then tried to drag him out of his sleeping bag. The pain and motion awoke Hurford with a start. He began yelling, and the cougar retreated.
Hurford's medical treatment included 30 stitches in his scalp and 40 stitches in his arms. Though hunted with dogs, the cougar was never located. This attack was considered unusual because it is one of the few incidents where a cougar deliberately approached a sleeping human with the intention of killing the person.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 78, Table page 198) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
26 July. 8-year-old Robert Kelly from West Vancouver, BC, was critically injured by a cougar on vacation with his brother, mother, and a friend at the Miller campsite at Beavertail Lake, near the town of Campbell River, BC on Vancover Island. The boys had been swimming in the lake about 50 feet from their campsite at about 2:00 in the afternoon.
When they headed back to the campsite, his brother Charles was in the lead. Charles turned around to say something to Bobby and was alarmed to see a cougar staring intently at them. He yelled "Look Out!" to Bobby, but the cat had already sprung on his brother and knocked him to the ground. Despite the reality that the cat sneaked up on them from cover and attacked aggressively, Charles may have been influenced by the thinking previously (and still presumed by some currently) that cougars will only attack a human if they feel threatened themselves, as he urged Bobby to play dead--or perhaps he was confused by advice that actually works in some bear attacks.
When his mother Roberta heard her sons cries, she ran down the wooded path toward the lake. When she saw the cougar, it was on top of Bobby dragging her son toward the bushes. She charged, screaming furiously at the cougar. She came with such force, so close to the cougar, that it dropped Bobby and ran back into the brush. Though little time elapsed between Bobby's attack and his mother's arrival, his trial at playing dead was alarmingly unsuccessful. He suffered severe lacerations, and his entire scalp was pulled away from his skull. His experience is one of several that have led to current advice that one MUST fight back if attacked by a cougar.
Bobby was rushed in critical condition to the hospital in Campbell River for emergency treatment. He was given several blood transfusions and improved enough the following day to be removed from the critical list. Though he had to undergo extensive plastic surgeries to his head and scalp, thankfully he suffered no brain damage.
Apparently the cougar was not found. Head of the federal game branch in Campbell River, George Taylor, estimated the cougar weighed about 100 pounds. He also believed this was the same cougar that attacked Al Hurford (see above) six weeks earlier. In turn, it may have been the same cougar that attacked the baby at Ralph River (see above) in Strathcona Park just a week before attacking Hurford. In addition, the same day Bobby was attacked, Milt Adams, who lived on Browns Bay Road just 14 miles north of Campbell River, reported that he had been chased into his house by a cougar that sneaked up on him from the bushes near his home.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 78-79, Table page 198) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
Late Summer or Early Fall. A male cougar, which was probably small, killed a young boy in a garbage dump in Lillooet, BC. This incident was not found in Paul Beier's study but was reported in a June 12, 1997, letter from Ray Slavens to Matt Austin, large carnivore biologist/specialist (for the BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, provincial-wildlife branch) according to researcher Kathy Etling. It was also referenced by the Calgary Herald in January 2001 when noting the total number of attacks in the 1970's and total number of resulting deaths. Slavens states he started (with the Greater Vancouver Regional District of the Ministry of Environment) in Burnaby, BC, in June 1972 and left July 1973. He says he took part in the necropsy of the cougar which was apparently killed.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 59 & 72 Table page 231) (Calgary Herald; 01/04/2001)
16 October. 10-year-old Randy Brewer was attacked while walking along Goldson Road with his brother near Cheshire, Oregon, in Lane County about 11 miles west of Junction City. He was bitten on the neck and scratched on the right arm. A young cougar was subsequently spotted several times in the area and was shot by neighbors on October 23. Sources: (Cougar Conflict Challenges in Lane County) (Hunters.com; 05/08/2000) (E-mail from Oregon D.F.G. South Willamette District Wildlife Biologist, William Castillo; 02/13/01)
1974 (1 Report found, a death in British Columbia)
20 January. An 8-year-old boy, Kenneth Clark Nolan, was killed by a 47 pound, emaciated, 3-year-old female cougar at Arroyo Seco, New Mexico. Kenneth was playing in the "rabbit brush" and gullies with his 7-year old half brother David Cordry less than a mile from their home. Suddenly they glanced up and saw a mountain lion ready to pounce. They started to run and the cougar caught Kenneth and started biting him on the back. David tried to push the lion away, and it reached for him with its forepaws, tearing the boy's coat and inflicting superficial scratches. Realizing they were overpowered, David then ran for help, but was so hysterical that it took him 20 minutes to direct his father, State Patrolman David Condry, to the attack site. Their German Shepherd mix dog began baying which led them to the cougar standing over the dead boy. Cordry shot the lion with his revolver 3 times before the still snarling lion fled. Condry, knowing his son was dead, sat down and wept. His neighbor James Meyer, took up the chase and killed the wounded cougar with his rifle. Though emaciated and having insufficient white blood cells, possibly due to severe infection or a fatal condition, it was found to be not rabid. The necropsy report was inconclusive as to whether this cat had ever been a pet or captive. A year before the attack Cordry had seen a "hippie" type girl hitch-hiking in their Pojoaque Valley area with a young big cat on a leash.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 127-129 & table page 232)
1975 (1 Injury Report found)
01 June. At about 10:00 a.m. 8-year-old Kevin Jones was attacked by a cougar while camping with his foster parents and sister Marilyn, 13 years old, on the Pitt River across from Coquitlam in lower British Columbia. They were on a beach near Polder Landing. The family was on a hike to the top of a nearby mountain so that they could overlook their campsite. Kevin and his sister ran ahead. Kevin had just started along a row of bluffs when a cougar suddenly pounced on him. Marilyn ran back to their parents shouting, "There's a cougar up there. He's going to get Kevin."
At first he doubted her, but when the father William Atsma heard Kevin screaming, he grabbed an oar from their boat and ran to his aid. The cat had already subdued Kevin and was in the process of dragging him into the brush. "I just stuck out the oar and started waving it at the cat," Atsma said. "I yelled as loud and as long as I could." The strategy worked, and the cat left Kevin, but it started circling Atsma, crouching and getting ready to pounce. He pushed the oar at the cat and shouted, "Get away, get off! Eventually the cat retreated and slunk into the brush.
Atsma was terrified that the cougar had killed his foster son. Then he noticed the boy was still breathing shallowly. Picking him up, he raced back to the boat, paddled back to the car, then drove him to a hospital. The boy was seriously injured with face, neck, chest, and arm wounds.
Animal Control officer Jack Lay hunted the cougar with dogs. They picked up it's track and treed it. Lay shot it. It was a young, 130 pound, 2-year-old male in excellent health. Lay remarked that Atsma had been very brave and probably very lucky. He felt if the cougar had been determined, there is no way a man swing an oar would have scared it off.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 60-61 & Table page 199) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
1976 (2 Reports found, including one death in British Columbia)
14 July. Matilda May Samuel, 7, of Port Alberni was killed by a 2-year-old male cougar at about 3:00 p.m. while picking berries along a gravel road near Gold River, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. She was with an adult and an older child, (*Etling reports that she was with a 15-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy). When they heard the noise and saw the cougar already upon Matilda, they shouted at it and the cougar backed away, but only briefly. Then it pounced on Matilda again. At that point, the police said the two were too frightened to do anything but run for help.
Matilda was visiting relatives who lived on a nearby Indian reserve across the road from the Muchalat pulp mill where many local people worked. Unknown to the three, just a few hours earlier, a cougar had stalked a mill worker and then given serious chase to him as he drove away on his motorcycle that he was riding to work at the mill. The man did not report this until after hearing of Matilda's death.
The cougar also had been eating from the carcass of a deer recently killed close to the attack, so it may have killed Matilda merely to protect its kill. After the lion was shot, investigating Wildlife control officer for the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Dan Lay, said, "The cougar still had fresh remains from a deer kill in its stomach. It just licked up the girl's blood, left her lying in the ditch where it had dragged her, and then moved on."
Sources: (Don Zaidle; Outdoor Life Online; Killer Cougars; February 2001) (British Columbia Newspaper Awards) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 79-80 & table page 232) (The Vancouver Sun 07/15/1976 and 07/20/1976) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
22 December. 14-year-old Thane Morgan of Rye, Colorado, (near Pueblo, Colorado) was attacked by a cougar at about noon while snowshoeing on the trails of San Isabel National Forest Christmas weekend. While preparing for his trip, he decided to take along a small hunting knife, which he tossed into his backpack, thinking nothing more of this meager weapon which would, never-the-less, save his life. Thane hadn't traveled far on his adventure when a cougar sprang out of some cover and bounded up to him and then crouched low just a few feet away. It leaped onto him, biting his skull and head and digging its claws into his body. Thane was 5' 6" tall and weighed about 120 pounds. He fought back with every bit of his strength. Free a moment from the cougar, he managed to grab his knife out of his backpack. He was able to wound the cougar enough to cause it to lope away.
Thane made his way to a neighbor's house where he got help. Later at the hospital Kathy Etling reports that he received hundreds of stitches to close up wounds to his head and back. (In her table, Etling reports that it was over a thousand stitches to repair face, scalp, and hand wounds?) Etling reports that the cougar was later shot and found to be blind in one eye. From Paul Beier's research, it was a 1.5-year-old female lion.
Sources: (Statistics on mountain lion attacks in Colorado) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 132-133 & table page 200)
1977 (1 Injury Report found with 2 injured))
25 June. Cherie Lee & Don O'Neal from Seattle and their children Neal 8 and Keri 4, were camping in the Weyerhauser Park on the Greenwater River 24 miles east of Enumclaw, Washington. (Ironically, Enumclaw means "evil spirit" in original Native American). At about 3:00 p.m. Mrs. O'Neal was sunbathing while Keri waded in the water nearby. When she turned onto her left side, Cherie noticed a cougar had stalked within two yards of her.It pounced, pulled me off the log and onto the ground. I fought off the cougar with my hands. I must have tried to put them into its mouth to keep it from getting my head. The cat and I wrestled, then it leaped over the log and at Keri, who started screaming. The cat knocked Keri to her knees and was on top of her, trying to bite her neck.Don heard Cherie and Keri screaming. He came upon the scene, and the cat broke off its attack and bounded into the brush. Having grown up on a Wyoming ranch, Don always carried a first-aid-kit. After Cherie doused her hands in the cold river water to help staunch the flow of blood, Don bandaged them. She suffered bites and scratches to her back, thigh, and arm as well as a mutilated left thumb. Keri was not seriously injured.
Okie Sinclair of Burnett, Dan McBride of Tacoma, and Paul Kitchen and his son Don from Puyallup volunteered the use of their dogs to track the cougar. They picked up the scent near the attack scene. The cougar had climbed a fir tree just 100 yards away. Bruce Richards, a state wildlife agent shot and killed it. It was a male about one and third years old. It weighted 69 pounds and seemed quite thin. Its teeth were in good shape but its stomach empty. Some porcupine quills were found in its mouth.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 93-94 & Table page 200) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
1978 (1 Non-injury Report found)
22 November. 3-year-old charged by cougar in Big Bend National Park in Texas. See this non-injury report HERE
1979 (2 Injury Reports found)
19 February. A 9-year-old girl (Fife) was surprised by a cougar attacking her at about 5:00 p.m. at Boston Bar, British Columbia. She was with other children and fought the 5-year-old, female cougar. The lion was shot and was found to be underweight. Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 60 & Table page 201) (Hope Standard 02/21/1979) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
7 August. At about 6:00 p.m., 4-year-old Eva Walkus was attacked by a female cougar while playing on a swing with her 6-year-old brother Ernie at their home on the Tsulquate Indian reserve near Port Hardy, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. It grabbed her leg in its teeth and pulled her from the swing. Then the cougar attempted to drag her toward the woods. It had progressed more than 4 feet toward some brush at the end of the road when Mary Leowen came outside to call the children in for dinner and saw what was going on. She grabbed a broom and ran at the cat and started beating it. The cat dropped Eva and fled.
Mary then picked up the child and rushed her indoors. She said she did not think about being frightened of the cougar. She felt that 5 minutes later, and it would have been too late. Her only thought was to save Eva. Thanks to her quick and positive action, Eva suffered only puncture wounds in her legs. One report indicated she was also treated for shock and given rabies shots. She was hospitalized for 4 days.
B.C. Wildlife Control officers found and destroyed a small female cougar that appeared to be starving.
Sources: (Vancouver Sun 08/10/1979) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 80-81 & Table page 201) (Wildlife Branch of the Province of British Columbia files) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
1981 (2 Injury Reports and 1 Non-injury Report found)
27 May. 12-year-old Warren Orchard was "attacked" by a female cougar as he lagged behind his Canyon Church Camp group, hiking near their campsite within Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. It was about 11:00 a.m. when he heard something behind him in the brush. He stopped to investigate. A cougar approached him, rolled over on its back, and when Warren yelled, it clawed the boy and ran off. The scratch to the boy's leg required five stitches. According to Paul Beier's table, this cougar was a female with young. Evidently she was not pursued.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Table page 201) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
No Date Given. A man on horseback was attacked by a spotted cougar. See this non-injury report HERE
July. Big Bend National Park ranger Atkins was on foot in the Texas park trying to catch horses near Lone Mountain when a puma charged in and swiped his leg. The cougar abandoned its attack after Atkins hit it with a large rock. Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Table page 202)
1982 (1 Injury Report found)
20 August. 9-year-old Adam Bisby was hiking ahead of his parents near the junction of Bertha Bay and Bertha Lake Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, at about 7:00 a.m. when a cougar leaped onto him. The cougar was a male about 6 months old and reportedly of normal weight. Etling states that it was not located afterwards, but Beier's table indicates that it was shot, which is probably the case since he also indicates that it's weight was measured. Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Table page 202) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
1983 (3 Injury Reports and 1 Non-Injury Report found)
Date Not Given. Woman stalked in California. See this non-injury report HERE
Date Not Given. A 16-year-old boy from Holberg, BC, on Vancouver Island was attacked by a 3-year-old male cougar while riding his bicycle along a Canadian Air Force Base entrance road. The cougar was able to slash the boy but was scared away by an oncoming vehicle. The boy suffered only minor injuries. Wildlife control agents were able to track down the cougar and kill it, but it's condition was not noted. Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 81, Table page 202) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
Date Not Given. A man was attacked by a cougar on a bridge near Esperanza, BC, on Vancouver Island. He managed to escape without serious injury. Wildlife Control Officer Dan Lay killed the cougar. The gender, age and the condition of that cougar was not noted. Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 81, Table page 202) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
24 April. At about 3:30 p.m. a cougar attacked three boys from Port Alice, British Columbia, (on north Vancouver Island) who were playing on the top road in the dyke area behind the water towers where the bush is thick. The cougar began growling and circling Terrance Shanks, 10, David Stewart, 6, and Scott Wing, 9, who was up in a tree. The boys froze but cried out loudly. The cougar grabbed Wing's foot and bit through his shoe, leaving a tooth mark on his foot. It attacked Shanks, biting him in the arm and leg. After the attack, all three boys ran down the hill. The two older boys ran to the nearest home in the area where the RCMP was called. The youngest boy ran to his house. Shanks required medical attention including three stitches. Stewart was unharmed.
Nanaimo conservation officer, Dan Lay, and two other officers started tracking the cougar with dogs. They worked for three days before calling off the hunt. It is unclear what happened to the cougar. It was estimated to be a young one from the boys' descriptions and from the teeth holes in Shanks' jacket. It still had milk teeth, so Lay felt the pack of 7 dogs could have killed this young, relatively small, inexperienced cougar.
Sources: (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) (Wildlife Society Bulletin 19:403-412. 1991) (Mail with articles from an area newspaper from Scott Wing; 08/24/2002)
1984 (2 Injury Reports found)
04 April. Ranger Susan Roe was hiking along the South Rim Trail of Big Bend National Park in Texas close to where it intersects with Blue Creek Trail. At about 7:00 p.m. she glanced up and saw a cougar ready to spring. The cat leaped and slammed into her, knocking her onto the ground. Roe fell and twisted her ankle. The cat ran away. Roe said the cat was a male weighing about 65 pounds. Because she was able to make out faint spots on its pelage, she believed it was a juvenile. Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 120, Table page 202) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
02 August. David Vaught, 8, of Garland, Texas, was attacked at about 6:00 p.m. by a mountain lion while visiting Big Bend National Park in Texas with his mom Kim, stepfather Chris Brown, and 4-year-old brother Justin. Eager to explore, they set off along the popular Basin Loop Trail which loops from park headquarters around the Chisos Basin, back to park headquarters.
David kept yelling, "Snake!" to frighten his mother, but this ploy wore thin and, in fact, caused his parents to quit paying much attention to him, especially after his mom was bitten by fire ants that crawled into her pants leg. Still exuberant, David ran ahead of the family, so that he was the first to see the cougar crouching, ready to spring, as he rounded a bend in the trail.
"Mountain Lion!" David yelled, but his parents failed to take this warning seriously due to his former cries of "Snake!" David raced back toward Chris with the cougar on his heels. When David looked back to see if the cougar was gaining on him, the cougar took this opportunity to leap on him, its claws digging deeply into David's thigh while it's front claws gouged both shoulders. It's jaws clamped down on David's head, all in an instant. Then, in a motion calculated to break David's neck, it catapulted over David's body and both dropped to the ground.
His mother screamed in terror at the sight of her son lying limp on the earth, but the lion was not deterred as it continued to bite down on David's head. Chris Brown raced at the cat, yelling in an attempt to drive it away. Barely intimidated, the cougar turned on Chris, snarled, and continued to tear at David's skull. Chris next started kicking the lion, but he fell on the steep slope. As Chris fell, he tried to grab the animal. His touch caused the cat to pause and turn its head. When it did so, Chris grabbed the cougar's head with both hands and pulled for all he was worth. He yanked it across his legs and threw it down the hill with the animal screaming as it was torn off the boy. Chris was now between the cat and David.
Kim felt certain her son was already dead, and now she watched in horror as the cougar landed on her husband. Chris was lying on his back trying to keep the cougar's fangs away from his face. Clawed as they wrestled, Brown managed to hurl the cat six feet down the slope, but it would not give up. It sprang at Chris who was on the ground. Chris pulled back his legs and kicked as hard as he could at the springing animal. This made the cat retreat a couple of steps allowing Chris to jump to his feet. He grabbed a large stick and brandished it at the cougar, screaming aggressively himself. This finally discouraged the cat which ran off into the bushes.
Chris hurried to his stepson lying motionless on the ground. A big patch of David's scalp was missing. What remained was hanging loosely from his skull. Fang marks had reached bare skull, but miraculously had not penetrated it. David's eyes were full of blood but appeared sound otherwise. Chris wrapped his shirt around David's head then picked him up and started running toward park headquarters. Kim thought she heard something moving along with them in the bushes parallel to their path. Chris heard the sounds also but would not admit this to her in order to keep her calm.
At park headquarters, David received first aid from park rangers and then was transported to a nearby hospital which was not qualified to care for David's wounds. Sergeant Carl Beirman, a police officer from nearby Alpine, Texas, helped David and his family into an ambulance, then drove them 600 miles to Dallas. David had numerous plastic surgeries performed on his face and head. Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders gave a benefit performance to help raise money for his extensive medical bills. Chris Brown's treatment was not described.
Thwarted by park protocol for several hours, state predator hunter Bill McKinney and his hounds, never-the-less managed to track and kill the attacking cougar. In the process, Bill and accompanying biologist Doug Waid discovered the cougar had, indeed, followed the family's path for about 150 yards toward park headquarters.
This male cat had an unusual reddish-colored coat. It was between 16 to 24 months old and weighed a normal 85 pounds for its age. Laboratory analysis confirmed that this was the attacking animal via finding David's hair in its lower intestinal track. The animal was not rabid and not particularly hungry, having fed on a deer shortly before attacking David.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 120-123 Table pages 202-203) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) (Gary Gerhardt; Rocky Mountain News; 09/23/90)
1985 (2 Reports found)
28 May. A 12-year-old Johnny Wilson from Island Park, Idaho, was attacked by a cougar in Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, at about 7:00 p.m. After hiking with his mother, aunt, and aunt's neighbor along the West Coast Trail on their way to Port Renfrow, they set up camp on Darling Creek. While the women bathed, Johnny went upstream to play with his toy soldiers. As he hunched over the creeks bank to move the soldiers, a cougar jumped him from behind. It had been hiding in a nearby logjam.
The women heard a bloodcurdling scream from Johnny and ran to help him. The cat's jaws had clamped down around his head, and blood was gushing from his nose and mouth. The boy was silent and in probable shock with deep puncture wounds to his throat. As the cougar began dragging him up the bank, the women started a screaming approach toward the cat. Apparently disconcerted by their aggression, the lion dropped the boy, but it would not leave the area.
Though the women grabbed Johnny and pulled him away, carrying him across the creek to their tent to administer first aid, the cougar continued to prowl outside the tent for at least an hour despite a fire they had made before the attack. Johnny was conscious but heavily bleeding. Blood was pouring from his throat and mouth. To staunch her son's bleeding throat, his mother knew she must press down very hard upon his neck until help arrived.
Despite the still stalking cougar, Johnny's aunt, Debbie Maher, ran almost 3 miles to the Pachena Point Lighthouse where the lighthouse crew summoned help. They brought rifles and accompanied Maher back to the campsite. Next on the scene was the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter medical crew based at Port Angeles which was dispatched to the scene to give initial first aid. They arrived in a matter of hours. Then a shore party from the destroyer-escort HMCS MacKenzie arrived to lend aid.
Finally, a Canadian Forces helicopter arrived with a doctor to pick up the boy for delivery to Victoria General Hospital. When Johnny was finally admitted, he was suffering from shock, puncture wounds, and lacerations to his head, neck and shoulder. A surgical team was assembled to stem severe bleeding in the boy's throat, and Wilson was placed in intensive care. He spent 7 days in the hospital before being released.
The cougar, reported to be an "odd gray color," was not located.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 82 - 83, Table page 203) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) (The Vancouver Sun; 05/29/1985) (Victoria Times-Colonist; 05/30/1985)
3 August. Shortly before 7:00 p.m. 10-year-old Alyson Parker was attacked by a young male cougar. She was walking with 2 other girls on a trail near their YM/YWCA Camp Thunderbird in the Glintz Lake area of Vancouver Island near Sooke, British Columbia. They were on an outing away from their camp. The girls screamed and started to run when the cougar rushed out at them threatening an attack.
Their screams alerted one of their counselors 19-year-old Lila Lifely. She had been building a fire to make dinner. Lila came running to see what was wrong. When she came on the scene, the cougar had already pounced upon Alyson and was trying to drag her away. Armed with only a quarter-cut log, Lila beat the cougar over the head. The cougar backed away briefly, staring at her attacker, then returned to it's attack on Alyson. Lila screamed for help as she charged the cougar again with a tree branch. The cougar backed off again until Lila went for her first-aid kit. It resumed it's attack on the child and again began dragging Alyson away. Again Lila clubbed the cougar's head with her branch. The animal retreated but continued to eye its victim and her rescuer from the bushes a few yards away.
Lila had already sent the other children away from the scene. Now she climbed a tree to keep an eye on the cat since it wasn't visible from where she had been on the ground. The struggle had finally attracted other camp personnel to the scene. When the cat would approach Alyson, Lila would call out and camp director Jim Legatt would bang a shovel on the ground which sufficed to keep the cat backed off.
Within 30 minutes of the initial attack, 2 more men from nearby camps arrived. The cougar was spotted stalking nearby despite the noise from the group that they made trying to scare the cougar away. Once help arrived to relieve the young counselor and the camp director, Alyson was whisked to a nearby hospital. She was treated for skull punctures, scalp lacerations, and for 15 puncture wounds to her neck. She was hospitalized for 8 days.
A young (18-month-old) male was killed 3 days later. It was found to be of normal weight, prompting Jim Walker, director of the provincial wildlife branch, to state that the attack did not appear to be motivated by starvation.
Sources: ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 152-154, Table page 204) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) (The Vancouver Province; 08/06/1985) (The Vancouver Sun; 08/06-07/1985)
1986 (2 Reports found)
23 March. At about 2:00 p.m. a mountain lion attacked 5-year-old Laura Small as she was wading in a stream in Caspers Regional Park, Orange County, California. She was searching for tadpoles with her mother Susan, father Donald, and 9-year-old brother David nearby. Without warning, the cougar sprang from where it was hiding and grabbed Laura, dragging her into the brush, cactus and thorns cutting into her legs.
Laura's mother witnessed "a muscular animal" grab her daughter's head in its mouth, then she said Laura just disappeared without a sound. There was neither growling nor screams from her daughter. Finally she heard something like a moan. While young David ran for help, Susan and Donald searched through the underbrush for their child. When they located Laura, the cougar had it's teeth dug into Laura's head. Her scalp, nose, and upper lip hung loose. Her right eye had been sliced open. Her skull had been crushed so severely that a portion of her brain had been liquefied by the pressure.
Gregory Ysais, 36, of Mission Viejo, came upon the scene. When he arrived, the lion was sitting on its haunches with Laura's head and neck still inside its jaws. Armed only with a branch he picked up, he approached the cougar heroically and swung it to frighten it into dropping Laura. The animal did so, but now it swiped at Ysais and then lunged at him. Ysais kept it at bay until the Smalls could pick up their daughter and take turns carrying her to help. Eventually, the cougar fled.
Laura was flown to Mission Community Hospital by helicopter. There she underwent 13 hours of emergency surgery to save her life. Her initial hospitalization was 38 days. In addition to physical therapy, over the years, she endured 15 surgeries attempting to repair the damage. In the end, the attack partially paralyzed her right arm, blinded her in one eye, and left her with permanent brain damage.
A male cougar approximately 2 years old was tracked and shot. It was in good health and of normal weight according to data gathered by biologist Paul Beier. This may not have fit common beliefs back then, illustrated by a park's visitor display featuring a cougar kitten with the caption "The Cougar or 'Mountain Lion' is quiet and secretive, with a healthy aversion to humans." Perhaps because of the presumption that only a desperate or sick (rabid) cougar would attack a human, the initial incident report said the male cougar "appeared very emaciated and sick." In opposition, the actual postmortem exam of the cat found no signs of serious illness.
This was the first documented attack on a human in more than 60 years in California. Her case prompted warnings to be posted to avoid future liability, as the Smalls did seek redress. The Small family began by suing Orange County for $2 million for posting no warnings despite several mountain sightings in the area, including at least 2 reports of hikers being threatened. Over 7 years later, on 10/22/1993, Laura was finally awarded a compromise $1.5 million settlement to be paid over her lifetime.
Source: (Los Angeles Times; Hunting Humans?); by David Baron; 12/02/2003) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 152-154, Table page 204) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) (The Vancouver Province; 08/06/1985) (The Vancouver Sun; 08/06-07/1985) (Orange County Register; 09/29/98) (1995 DFG Outdoor California)
19 October. Justin Mellon, 6, of Huntington Beach, California, was snatched by a cougar from a trail in Caspers Regional Park in California while hiking with companions. The lion took the boy's head in its jaws and tried to drag him away before being scared off by the boy's knife-wielding father. Justin required 100 stitches and now suffers from mental injuries and emotional anxieties. Sources: (Orange County Record; 09/29/98) (Gary Gerhardt; Rocky Mountain News; 09/23/90)
1987 (1 Report found)
19 April. 31-year-old Linda Burt of Humble, Texas, was attacked near noon by a cougar in Big Bend National Park, Texas. She was enjoying an Easter weekend family outing. At first she ran from the lion, but then fought back. She suffered minor injuries, and the 14-month-old male lion was shot and found to be underweight. Sources: (Big Bend National Park files) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) (Gary Gerhardt; Rocky Mountain News; 09/23/90)
1988 (3 Reports found, including one death in British Columbia)
16 May. Jesse Sky Bergman, 9, was killed by a 4-year-old male cougar near Tofino, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. He had gone to visit his father about eight kilometers north of Tofino. His body was found badly mauled about the head. Paw prints indicated the cat had stalked him. Sources: (British Columbia Newspaper Awards) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
28 May. A 6-year-old girl (Fuller) was attacked by a 18-month-old cougar in Payson, Arizona. She was in a group of children within adult earshot, and she fought back. The cougar was shot and found to be below normal weight. Sources: (Arizona Republic 06/09/1988) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
25 June. A couple with a small son chased in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in California. See this non-injury report HERE
1989 (3 Reports found including 1 death)
11 January. A 28-year-old Ralph Lucas was attacked by a 2-year-old female cougar at his home in Ahousaht at about 10:00 p.m. while gathering firewood. Ahousaht is on Flores Island's Hot Springs Cove and is off the west coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino, B.C. She pounced on him from behind and bit him on the head, inflicting numerous scratches on his arms as the man struggled to get free. When the man got the cougar to break off the attack, she ran into the woods. Lucas was rushed to a Tofino hospital. The lion was shot by a reserve resident minutes after the attack and was found to be underweight. Officer Ralph Escott investigated the incident. Sources: (The Vancouver Province; 01/13/1989) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) ("Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind" by Kathy Etling; 2001; pages 85 & table page 206)
29 April. At about 7:00 p.m., Joshua Walsh, age 5, was mauled by a mountain lion near Canyon Lake, some 30 miles northeast of Phoenix. Without warning, and near a parking lot and boat dock filled with people, the mountain lion attacked Joshua, bit him on the head and began to shake him with its jaws and drag him away. Tim Walsh, Joshua's father, leaped down a 20-foot embankment, grabbed a rock, threw it and hit the lion on the head, scaring it. The lion dropped the boy. Joshua was air-lifted to Phoenix Children's Hospital where it took 100 stitches to close Joshua's head wounds, including re-attachment of his right ear which was nearly severed in the attack. Sources: (Phoenix Gazette, May 1, 1989, page A-1) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) (Abundant Wildlife Society Of North America; Mountain Lion Fact Sheet by T. R. Mader, Research Director)
9 September. At least two and possibly three mountain lions attacked and killed 5-year-old Jake Thomas Gardipee of Missoula County, (Evaro) Montana, while he was riding a tricycle behind his home. Trapper, Francis Cahoon said Jake could have been killed by a female lion traveling with cubs or by a pair of yearling siblings. Searchers scared off an adult mountain lion when they found the boy's body. Another 52-pound yearling with blood on its paws and mouth was killed 100 yards away. Cahoon said that all they knew is that the cat killed was not the only cat that attacked Jake. Sources: (Deborah Frazier; ASSOCIATED PRESS; 09/13/89; 07/27/90) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
1990 (4 Reports found)
02 June. At about 6:00 p.m., 28-year-old medical student Lynda Walters was jogging in Four Mile Canyon west of Boulder, Colorado, on a wooded path near Fourmile Canyon Drive and Poorman Road when she was confronted by two aggressive mountain lions. At her height of 5' 4" she did not see the two in a shady area until she was ten to fifteen feet away. "Cool," she thought credulously. She had openly scoffed at recent direct warnings in the news that increasing cougar attacks on pets in the area presaged threats to human safety as well, and she had demeaned those having concerns, as she had only had benign wildlife encounters.
At first she saw only one lion, but its intent gaze began to unnerve her. She found herself feeling like a mouse facing a house cat. She yelled at it and raised her arms. The lion tensed its body, flicked its tail, and crouched down low to the ground. In the past, wildlife such as coyotes and bears had fled before her, perhaps reinforcing her false sense of dominance, but instead of avoidance, this cat hissed and crept toward her.
Lynda picked up rocks and hurled them at the cougar's feet, but it continued to disconcert her by creeping closer. Then, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a second cougar circling behind her, and panic overtook any confident preconceptions. She dove for the embankment behind her and scrambled up on all fours. She threw another rock at the first cougar, hitting it in the shoulder this time and momentarily slowing its advance, but the other lion began pursuit also. Lynda continued to retreat, hurling rocks and branches to slow down her pursuers. At the top of the slope, she found a tall ponderosa pine and climbed it with no time to think. When she was above human height in the tree, she felt a sharp pain and became aware that one of the lions had climbed up right after her and clawed her leg. She thought, "This is it: I'm going to die."
Lynda had taken a martial arts course for women (Model Mugging) designed by Matt Thomas (likely taught by Bill Kipp in Colorado) in part emphasizing the strength in a woman's legs and eroding inhibitions to harm an opponent. The practice sessions the course required were intended to sear techniques into muscle memory. She raised her leg and stomped on the lion's head, and the cat tumbled to the ground. Lynda scanned the terrain for the second cat, uneasy that she could not find it. Defensively, she continued to ascend the tree through thicker and thicker branches. Halfway up, the tree shook as the second lion jumped onto the trunk and crawled upward. Lynda climbed higher faster while the second lion climbed steadily and with precision.
Nearing the end of the line (being at the top of the tree) Lynda broke off a thick branch and quickly broke off smaller branches from it to shape a primitive spear. She used it to harpoon the cat, yelling an aggressive invective at the same time. The cat struck at the stick, and she repeated her harsh invective. The cougar backed down. Later, the more impatient of the two made another attempt to climb but banging her stick deterred it. Lynda was certain they were simply waiting for dark to take her and painfully shred her.
She could hear others around her in the distance, but her screams for help went unheeded. Then fate came to her rescue. The cats and she heard something moving across the gulch. The lions turned their attention toward the opposite hill where a deer haplessly picked its way through the forest. Instantly, they departed in pursuit of their preferred prey. She hesitated momentarily then took her chances, descending the tree and fleeing upslope. Still clutching her spear and afraid to look back, she made her escape.
Ironically, for the most part, officials and the press trivialized what she stated, much as she had trivialized others. Later, she herself told a reporter she didn't think these cougars were trying to kill her, as they could have. Of course, hindsight put her afterthoughts in question, as just 7 months later and only about 25 "crow fly" miles southwest of her encounter, a cougar did attack and consume a high school student out on his fitness run.
Lynda reported the lions both appeared to be healthy, impressive adults with one slightly larger than the other. It was unclear if they were adolescent siblings, a mother and nearly grown cub, mates, or... No mention was made of an attempt to hunt them.
Sources: (Colorado Division of Wildlife files) (Gary Gerhardt; Rocky Mountain News; 09/23/90) (Cougar Attacks on Humans in the United States And Canada; Paul Beier; 1991) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind; by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 133) (The Beast in the Garden; by David Baron; W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd.; copyright 2004; pages 171-178) (email from Matt Thomas, 03/19/2007)
July. A Montana state game warden stalked. See this non-injury report HERE
26 July. 9-year-old Scott O'Hare, of Dayton, Wyoming, was mauled in Glacier National Park, Montana, 50 miles northeast of Kalispell at about noon by a young female cat, who authorities said made an unprovoked attack. Park rangers tracked and killed the animal less than 100 yards from where the incident happened. The boy was flown to the hospital where he underwent surgery for deep cuts and puncture wounds in his head, face, neck and right arm. His parents filed a claim for $1 million against the National Park Service the following year. Sources: (Associated Press; Rocky Mountain News; 11/23/91) (Gary Gerhardt; Rocky Mountain News; 09/23/90) (Paul Beier's Table; 1991)
27 July. Father shoots lion threatening 4-year-old west of Boulder, Colorado. See this non-injury report HERE
[1991-2000 attacks] [2001-2010 attacks] [2011-2020 attacks] [Other Incidents]
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This page by Linda Lewis contains updates and retains some expanded attack accounts for Mountain Lion Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada by Thomas Jay Chester. If you know of an attack not listed here, please send an email to or to Tom Chester.
Permission freely granted to reference or even reproduce this page as long as links remains intact which credit all sources and Tom Chester at http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_attacks.html, as his was the rare and comprehensive research I originally found for multiple lion attacks in North America
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