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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4 Responses to Catch a cougar by the tail

  1. Paula says:

    Thanks, Doug. I’ll cer­tainly try it if I ever have a chance!

  2. Doug Nelson says:

    Cougar is quite tasty. It does have a mild fla­vor sim­il­ar to pork without the fat. I like cook­ing the lar­ger muscle groups sliced into steaks cooked on the BBQ. Baste with your favor­ite oil base salad dress­ing to keep the meat from dry­ing out while cook­ing. I like to sea­son with Montréal season­ing as I would pork chops. Cook thour­oly but not over­done, to avoid mak­ing it tough. The meat also makes excel­lent saus­age.

  3. 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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