Close cougar encounter on Ashland trail

The sighting was posted on the Citizen Report Website.

Posted: Aug 13, 2019 6:53 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2019 2:49 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. — Imagine walking your dog along a trail and coming across a cougar. That's exactly what happened to someone in Ashland on Monday morning.

NewsWatch 12 was unable to contact the person that had the encounter, but they described it on the Citizen Report Website. The report says the cougar had cubs with it and was very aggressive. The person stood their ground, stayed calm and got as big as he or she could — also firmly telling the cougar to go away.

Kasey Acker lives in Ashland and is the one that shared this spotting with others after she saw the report.

"I got into the habitual habit of checking it pretty often," said Acker, referring to the City's Citizen Report website. She believes cougar sightings in Ashland are common. "Very common."

Ashland Police began working on the report and mapping system last fall after a series of escalating cougar encounters that culminated in officers shooting at one of the cats on the Southern Oregon University campus.

When a sighting or encounter like this happens, not a lot of people are surprised, but people do get spooked.

Acker has lived in Ashland for more than 20 years. NewsWatch 12 asked her why she thinks some people get so startled by news of these encounters. She had to think about it for a moment. "I would say that probably the most important thing is people don't really know what to do," said Acker. 

The person that came across the cougar on the trail did all the right things — make yourself as big as possible, make loud noises, slowly back away and do not run. Acker says she also hears about people carrying air horns with them.

For more information on what you can do if you encounter a cougar, check out our story from October here.

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