Catch a cougar by the tail

Dogs chase cats and dogs that chase cougars seem to be particularly enthusiastic.  

One of the most famous cougar hunters, former US president, Theodore Roosevelt, wrote about “dogs that climbed trees.” He said a bloodhound named Turk scrambled almost nine metres (30 feet) up a pinyon tree before plummeting to the ground. And a half-breed bulldog regularly went as high as six metres (20 feet) or more after cougars. Apparently, the branches broke the dogs’ falls as, no matter how far they fell, they continued to “climb trees.”  

Winston Vickers, associate veterinarian at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, told me about a cougar that jumped out of a tree, landed in the middle of a pack of research tracking hounds, grabbed a dog by the head and took off. Of course, all the other hounds gave chase. One got close enough to grab the cougar by the tail. That was enough to make it drop the dog it was carrying. The dog survived but wasn’t keen on tracking cougars after that.  

But until recently, I’d never heard of a dog catching a cougar by the tail and going up a tree. The footage on this short video clip is incredible. And yes, both the dog and cougar survived.

Cougar running in snow.

Isn’t that tail just begging to be pulled?
Photo courtesy California Fish and Game.




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2 Responses to Catch a cougar by the tail

  1. I’m impressed with your work. Do these cougars
    make good stew? Hal – friend of Rick (I’m out on
    the Nevada desert with a 1911 in the drawer).

    • Paula says:

      Hi Hal,

      Rick has spoken of you so I recognize the name. To answer your question: some people like cougar meat and say it’s kind of sweet like pork. I don’t know as I’ve never sampled it. But I do know from my USA book tour that 1911s and similar weapons are much more commonly used there than in the Canada. No matter where you are, it’s always good to be prepared!

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