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Problem cougar tracked after attacking Riske Creek dogs

David Maurice (left), Kyle Lay (centre) and Noreen McDonald  (right) with the two-year-old male, healthy cougar that killed their dogs recently. McDonald’s dog was a Chow cross and Maurice’s was a working cow dog. The dogs were killed near their homes at Riske Creek. - Photo submitted
David Maurice (left), Kyle Lay (centre) and Noreen McDonald (right) with the two-year-old male, healthy cougar that killed their dogs recently. McDonald’s dog was a Chow cross and Maurice’s was a working cow dog. The dogs were killed near their homes at Riske Creek.
— image credit: Photo submitted

David Maurice said he wishes he’d called a cougar tracker immediately after discovering his dog was killed by a cougar.

Last Wednesday Maurice’s two-year-old collie blue heeler cross disappeared on his 70-acre property at Riske Creek.

He went looking for her that night, but didn’t find her. The next morning he found blood and cougar tracks about 100 metres from his house.

Following the tracks he located the cougar lying near the kill, which it had covered with leaves and grass.

Scared off by another one of Maurice’s dogs, the cougar left and ran across Highway 20 up into the mountains.

Maurice said he called Kyle Lay of Layser’s Kennel and Contracting from 150 Mile House who arrived Friday with dogs and tracked the cougar for six hours, but didn’t have any luck finding it.

Saturday morning Maurice went outside and discovered the cougar had returned, eaten some more of the kill, moved it and covered it up again, so he called Layser’s for a second time.

This time there were fresh tracks for the cougar hounds to follow.

Within an hour and a half the cougar was treed and killed.

“Now I know I should have called them first because I scared the cougar away,” Maurice said.

Lay told Maurice the cougar was really tricky, that it had chased dogs and was used to them.

He was about two years old, very fat and healthy and had been staying in an old abandoned log cabin.

A week earlier a neighbour’s dog was also killed, probably by the same cat.

“He could have just lived on dogs. There are 13 dogs near here, and lots of children,” Maurice said. “He didn’t need to go hunting anymore.”

In his 50 years of being a cowboy in the Chilcotin, Maurice has only seen a cougar twice in the wild.

“But I know there are lots around and they see me.”

Maurice’s dog was a working cattle dog and will be missed.

“This is the only time I didn’t tie her up too. It was so cold and I was going to bring her in the house. She wasn’t gone for five minutes.”

Maurice is 65 and said he doesn’t know if he should get another working dog.

“It takes at least two years to train them.”

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