Cougars stalk home near Sequim

SEQUIM – It may be a few weeks before Caroline Caldwell feels safe in her yard again.

Two young cougars have been killed in her neighborhood in as many weeks after harassing her livestock, killing one of her goats, and putting her neighbors on alert.

“I think, after a couple of weeks, if no [cougars] are seen in the area, I’ll feel safer,” Caldwell said on Friday.

One cougar was shot two weeks ago, a few days after one of Caldwell’s goats, Skip, was killed on Jan. 24.

Her other goat, Lu, is safely living in Caldwell’s barn on her River Road property southwest of Sequim.

Just as Caldwell was beginning to feel safer Saturday, she found a dead cougar in her property.

“I was really shocked,” Caldwell said.

The cougar Caldwell discovered was likely injured a week earlier and died of its wounds within a few days, said Win Miller, an officer with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in Port Angeles.

Another juvenile cougar was shot and killed Jan. 27 less than a quarter of a mile from Caldwell’s home.

Miller said cougar sightings are not uncommon, especially when higher elevation snow pushes the cats to follow deer out of the mountains.

Typically, problem cougars in the foothills of the Olympics are either too old to hunt well or too young to know better, he said.

At this time of year, “the younger cats are getting kicked out of older cats’ areas,” Miller said.

Livestock, such as Caldwell’s goat and chickens, are easier to kill than wild deer.

“They’re not great hunters,” Miller said of juvenile cougars.

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