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  1. #1
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    Bears and Cougars in Oregon - Paranoia!

    I'm planning a trip to Oregon in July and will hopefully be able to hit the trails in Oakridge, Bend, Grants Pass, Medford, and Ashland. I'm super paranoid about cougars and bears! Has anyone personally run into either of these animals on the trails or is it pretty rare? I've heard its best to avoid riding in early morning/dusk when they are most active (well, for cougars - not so sure about bears). Please shed some light on this topic to help ease my paranoia!

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    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Bears and Cougars in Oregon - Paranoia!

    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    I'm planning a trip to Oregon in July and will hopefully be able to hit the trails in Oakridge, Bend, Grants Pass, Medford, and Ashland. I'm super paranoid about cougars and bears! Has anyone personally run into either of these animals on the trails or is it pretty rare? I've heard its best to avoid riding in early morning/dusk when they are most active (well, for cougars - not so sure about bears). Please shed some light on this topic to help ease my paranoia!
    Not an issue. Unlikely you will see any.

    I have seen 2-3 cougars in 30 years. A few bears a year. Don't bother them and they do not bother you.

    Need to careful of Indian attacks, though.
    mtbtires.com
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  3. #3
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    Dot or Feather?
    Time wounds all heels...

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    i've only seen a couple of cougar in my life.
    don't sleep with snickers bars in your tent and the black bears won't be a problem. probably won't see either anyway.

    i'm way more afraid of mosquitoes and poison oak.
    "if you can't be good, be good at it."

  5. #5
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    I surprised a bear cub near Oakridge in OR a few years ago when barreling down a singletrack. I guess it didn't hear of smell me until I was about 20 yards away. It took off in a hurry. Then after a second's delay, my willy meter went sky high once I started wondering where Moma bear was located. Fortunately for me, she didn't come into the scene and I road from the area with emphasis.

    If one is worried about those critters, one can always wear a bell and/or make noise as they ride. Supposedly, they don't want to deal with us if they know we're there and not their usual pray.

    I've also read that if confronted by a bear, don't look them in the eye directly and slowly, calmly back away while standing upright. Don't run, don't turn your back, don't look them in the eyes. The idea is to respectfully back down.

    If one is confronted by a cougar, do look them directly in the eyes, keep standing, make noise; yell, throw rock and sticks, beat big branches on the ground and do not run or turn your back. Stand your ground. The idea here is to show that you could be a threat to them.

  6. #6
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Why are you afraid of black bears? I've run across mothers with cubs, in the Columbia Gorge, and they just run away frightened.

    Now a grizzly on the other hand (which are not in Oregon).....

    I'd love to see a mountain lion someday.

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    Beware of deranged therapists and don't worry about lions and tigers and bears.

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    Bears and Cougars in Oregon - Paranoia!

    Quote Originally Posted by pedalitup View Post
    Beware of deranged therapists and don't worry about lions and tigers and bears...
    ..Oh MY!
    mtbtires.com
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  9. #9
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    HA! I thought the title said "paranoid about BEERS and cougars" which is dangerous in PDX anyway. Drink to many beers and you may wake up with a cougar. Scary stuff dude!!!

  10. #10
    Dude, got any schwag?
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    If you see bear scat along the trails, keep your head on a swivel.

    In case you don't know how to ID bear scat, it's likely to have bells in it. ;o)
    Billy

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    Never seen a bear, but know lots and lots of folks who seem to see them all the time. They apparently really are more afraid of you than you are of them.

    Heck, in all my 13 years of Oregon mountain biking my wildlife sightings include one coyote and four deer. When I lived in California, I'd see more than that on every ride. I think our animals are more stealth or something. I see far more animals when I am out road riding or on the gravel roads.

  12. #12
    Dude, got any schwag?
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    And remember, you don't have to outrun the bear or the cougar. As long as you're faster than someone in your group.
    Billy

    Speed is sweet, it's like an avenue to
    ... Shredtopia!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    HA! I thought the title said "paranoid about BEERS and cougars" which is dangerous in PDX anyway. Drink to many beers and you may wake up with a cougar. Scary stuff dude!!!


    Hmmm... what's wrong with that? Isn't the definition a fine, older woman on the prowl? I believe an ugly older woman on the prowl is called something (many things, actually) different from "cougar".

  14. #14
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    Didn't I read somewhere there has never been a cougar attack on a person in Oregon?

    My brother got chased by a Cougar in SoCal, RIDING HIS MOTORCYCLE off road. It was obviously sick or something, but still. He said it was about 20' behind him before he saw it out of the corner of his eye and realized what was going on.

    I think they have enough REAL food here they don't bother with us.
    Bend, Oregon

  15. #15
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    I typically see one bear each summer, it's usually the bear's hind end as it's running away. My wife and I did see two bears last year while backpacking for two weeks in Yosemite NP.

    I have seen plenty of fox while BC skiing and marmot while backpacking. We did get a chance to see (what we think) were wolves high (around 9000') in the Wallowa Mts several years ago while BC skiing. I've never seen a cougar though.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  16. #16
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    Dogs help Oregon couple fend off cougar attack | Local & Regional News | Eugene News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KVAL CBS 13

    Wesley said that he pointed his flashlight into the eyes of the cougar and temporarily blinded it.

    One dog was on either side of the cat barking and growling, distracting the cat and protecting Wesley.

    "As I waited for Lisa, I just couldn't believe this was happening," he said. "The cougar was about 10 to 15 feet away from me."

    As soon as Wesley felt the weapon shoved into his hand, he gave Lisa the flashlight and the cougar seemed to sense the danger.

    Wesley fired once and the cat bolted away. He fired once more into the general area.

    Corona suffered puncture wounds to his neck and claw wounds to the body, but escaped serious injury.

    "If Gigi hadn't bitten the cat like she did, Corona would have been hurt badly," said Wesley.

    He was told by Leonard Erickson of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife it "was definitely an attack because the cougar had ample time and opportunity to get out of the area where we were camping, but it did not," Wesley said.

    The Wynns said it deepened their appreciation for their dogs.

    "They worked as a team and kept the cougar away from us," said Wesley. "They are hero dogs to me."

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt farmer View Post
    Hmmm... what's wrong with that? Isn't the definition a fine, older woman on the prowl? I believe an ugly older woman on the prowl is called something (many things, actually) different from "cougar".
    You have got a point there. I guess it all boils down to your perception of "older woman". My field studies have shown there to be a direct correlation between beers drank & age of corresponding cougar.

    On a serious note, as guy who has a spent LOT of time outdoors exploring, I have never seen a cougar. It will be a great day indeed when I do. Was privileged to see two badgers last year while riding angels staircase which was awesome. I have seen many black bears while riding/camping in Oregon though. I've seen them on Hood, & Tillamook, but regularly see them camping down at Smith Creek. Typically they don't make it down to Smith Creek until Sept. Did see a rather large pile of Bear scat last sunday by the creek while riding Falls Creek ....think it was quite old though. Been in close proximity to many a wild animal including Grizzly...never skeered just humbled, acutely alive, and excited.

  18. #18
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    Bears and Cougars in Oregon - Paranoia!

    Our warm, early spring here in Oregon seems to have the bears out and about in the Eugene to Oakridge area. They run away though, after providing some great entertainment with the huge surprise that crosses their face and mine!

    Only saw a cougar (4-legged type) once in the woods just inland from the ocean south of Astoria a few years ago. That one (pretty large) slowly loped away from me after we saw each other at about 30 yards. It seemed to be going somewhere, and we just crossed paths. The other cougars are plentiful in my area.

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    Thanks for the responses. Hopefully won't run into any!

  20. #20
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    Re: Bears and Cougars in Oregon - Paranoia!

    No worries around here. I've run into little black bears quite often up near Hood River where I live, but usually only on dirt bikes where you come up on them fast. Literally came within inches of running over one once. I think they are more afraid of bike/hiker noise than engine/chain saw/truck noise, which I speculate they are used to from all the logging activity.
    I've only encountered one cougar, and it was trotting away from me as I approached.
    The biggest animal hazard around here are frightened deer and chaotic flocks of indecisive wild turkeys running across the road in front of you
    I was nearly trampled by a heard of deer during an mtb race down in Bend last year.
    I've met a few people attacked by sharks in Oregon, but never bears or cats.

  21. #21
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Bears and Cougars in Oregon - Paranoia!

    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  22. #22
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    A cougar growled, snarled and came towards a woman on the mrazak a few years ago. It didn't eat her. A cougar snarled at Ben while building Bens's trail.

    don't come here, too dangerous!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Best use for dogs on the trails: cougar bait.
    More likely coyote bait though.

  24. #24
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    I've been in the Northwest well over 20 years and have never seen a cougar. Cougars are pretty scary, but attacks are so exceedingly rare I don't worry about it much, and neither should you. At least with a cougar you won't likely know she's there until she's in the process of clamping down on your neck.

    I've run into a number of bears on the trail, but none has ever been hostile. I wouldn't exactly call bear encounters common, though they do happen once in a while. If you are biking on a trail in the daytime there's really nothing to worry about. The advice above on what to do is correct, and you are not likely to need it.

    Personally I'm more worried about bears at night, when I'm backpacking or bikepacking in bear country, than during the day. Even then I realize intellectually they are little threat to me, but I don't always sleep that well.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  25. #25
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Whatever you do, don't voluntarily share your barbecue with a bear, should you chance to happen upon one!


    Bear mauls man: Animal was 'goaded' into attack - CSMonitor.com

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