The Oregonian obtained emails, documents, and photographs detailing state wildlife officials’ successful hunt for a cougar that killed a 55-year-old hiker on Mount Hood Sept. 10.
Diana Bober of Gresham, whose love for the outdoors and the creatures living there has been portrayed in countless news stories, tried to fight off the cougar that killed her with a small pair of shears. Hers was the first known death from a cougar attack in Oregon history.
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The paper trail shows that after discovery of Bober’s body, initially handled as a homicide, officials from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife were “80 percent” sure she’d been killed by a cougar and anticipated a “media blitz.” The following afternoon, ODFW issued a press released describing Bober’s wounds as “consistent with a suspected cougar attack.”
The department faced challenges searching for the cougar in the steep and rocky terrain and obtained permission to use chainsaws and fire crews to clear critical trails. They set up a mobile command center at Zigzag, Ore., and brought in mules to ride and dogs to hunt the offending cougar. They discussed how to ascertain that they had the right animal and worried about the public’s reaction.
When they spotted a cougar Sept. 14 near where Bober’s body was discovered, dogs chased the animal into a tree and the wildlife officials killed it.
“We don’t know if this is the cougar responsible, but we do know that this cougar was at the attack site today,” said Brian Wolfer, the state watershed manager put in charge of the search. “We are doing all we can to confirm as quickly as possible whether this is the animal responsible.”
Meanwhile, the agency juggled emails from the public seeking information about the search and expressing outrage over the use of dogs to hunt a cougar or bear, a practice Oregon voters banned.
Read more at the Oregonian