Saw a cougar on the way to sell The Cougar

I picked Susan Ketchen up at 6:30 the morn­ing of August 2. The car was loaded with chairs, cool­ers filled with snacks and boxes of books. We were headed to Telegraph Cove Resort on the north­ern end of Vancouver Island to par­ti­cip­ate in their an­nu­al out­door mar­ket. Susan had cop­ies of her Born That Way series to sell and I had a box of my latest book, The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous.

Coming around a corner a little ways past Nimpkish Lake, I slowed as a deer was cross­ing the road ahead. Only it didn’t have long, skinny legs and wasn’t the right shape. It moved like a bear but wasn’t black. And then, as its hind end be­came the pre­dom­in­ant view, we saw the tail and shouted, “It’s a cougar!”

It was HUGE and just lan­guidly walk­ing across the pave­ment, not in any hurry and not at all con­cerned about the ap­proach­ing car. In fact, it nev­er even glanced at us. We had time to watch the big paws strike the as­phalt, ob­serve the red­dish tan fur and the su­per long tail with its dis­tinct­ive black tip. And then – poof! It dis­ap­peared into a thin rim of bush along­side a clear­cut. We were on a cou­gar high all day!

Due to its size and cas­u­al swag­ger, we think it was a ma­ture male. And strangely, the only cou­gar my part­ner, Rick, has seen in the wild, was spot­ted not too far away about 20 years ago. He said that cat was also enorm­ous and that the grace and speed of it run­ning across the road in two bounds and then ef­fort­lessly leap­ing up a nine metre bank was incredible.

This isn't the cougar Susan and I saw - our cougar was larger!  Image courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
This is­n’t the cou­gar Susan and I saw — our cou­gar was lar­ger!
Image cour­tesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Although the time span makes it im­possible that Rick and I saw the same cou­gar, it’s pos­sible my sight­ing was the son or grand­son of the one he saw. Either way, there’s no doubt that area is ex­cel­lent cou­gar habitat.

And I won­der how many au­thors that have writ­ten books about cou­gars have seen one on the way to sell their book?

The Cougar shortlisted for two awards!

I’m so ex­cited! And none of it would have happened without all the hard work, en­ergy and or­gan­iz­a­tion of the staff at Douglas & McIntyre. The D&M/Harbour pub­lish­ing team are ab­so­lutely the best!

Here’s the press re­lease my pub­li­cist, Heather Lohnes, sent out March 13: 

Paula Wild’s The Cougar Receives Two Award Nominations in Two Days

     Author Paula Wild’s BC best­selling book The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous (Douglas & McIntyre; $34.95) has been nom­in­ated for two awards in as many days. Just yes­ter­day, the BC Book Prizes an­nounced that The Cougar is a fi­nal­ist for their 2014 Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award. And today, Foreword Reviews has an­nounced it as a fi­nal­ist for their 2013 Book of the Year Awards, in the cat­egory of Nonfiction – Nature.

The Cougar blends nat­ur­al his­tory, sci­entif­ic re­search, First Nations stor­ies and first-per­son ac­counts to ex­plore our evolving re­la­tion­ship with the power­ful and in­triguing pred­at­or called cou­gar, puma, moun­tain lion, and ap­prox­im­ately forty oth­er names. It also in­cludes amaz­ing pho­to­graphs and up-to-date in­form­a­tion on cou­gar aware­ness and de­fense tac­tics for those liv­ing, work­ing or trav­el­ling in cou­gar coun­try. Throughout, au­thor Paula Wild delves into what makes this an­im­al that both fas­cin­ates and fright­ens us so beau­ti­ful, so dan­ger­ous, and why cou­gars re­main an im­port­ant and valu­able part of our environment.

Paula Wild is the au­thor of sev­er­al oth­er books, in­clud­ing One River, Two Cultures, The Comox Valley and Sointula: Island Utopia, win­ner of a B.C. Historical Federation Certificate of Merit. She has also writ­ten for nu­mer­ous peri­od­ic­als, in­clud­ing Beautiful British Columbia, Reader’s Digest and Canada’s History Magazine. She lives in Courtenay, BC.

The BC Book Prizes’ Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award, sup­por­ted by the BC Booksellers’ Association, is presen­ted to the pub­lish­er and the au­thor of the book that is most suc­cess­ful in terms of pub­lic ap­peal, ini­ti­at­ive, design, pro­duc­tion and con­tent. The win­ner will be an­nounced at the 30th Annual Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala in Vancouver on May 3, 2014. For more in­form­a­tion on this award, vis­it www​.bcbook​prizes​.ca.

The Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards cel­eb­rate new in­die books from au­thors and pub­lish­ers whose work stands out from the crowd, with awards in over sixty cat­egor­ies. The win­ners of the 16th Annual Book of the Year Awards will be cel­eb­rated at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas on June 27, 2014. For more in­form­a­tion on this award, vis­it www​.botya​.fore​wordre​views​.com.

Cougars are strong…smart too

Cougars are ex­quis­itely built killing ma­chines cap­able of tak­ing down an an­im­al sev­en times their size. But this strength can’t be fully ap­pre­ci­ated un­less witnessed.

A 2001 video taken in New Mexico shows a 70-kilo­gram (150-pound) cou­gar tack­ling a 120-kilogrom (265-pound) mule deer.maxablebcr2.jpg

The strength of the cou­gar as it takes down this deer is in­cred­ible. Even be­ing kicked re­peatedly in the head by sharp hooves does not per­suade the cat to let go. And when its ini­tial at­tempts to kill the deer don’t work, the cou­gar em­ploys a new strategy.

Don’t for­get to watch the tip of the cougar’s tail.