An aggressive cougar reportedly came close enough to a jogger in Dunn Forest on Saturday that the man kicked the mountain lion before trying to run away, according to a spokeswoman with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
After running, "he turned around and the cougar was following him,” said Michelle Dennehy, of the department.
Hikers with a dog came around a corner on the trail and caused the mountain lion to flee, Dennehy added.
“Thankfully, the jogger was not injured by the cougar. That’s very obviously odd behavior,” she said. Cougars and bears typically avoid humans.
Dunn Forest near Corvallis remained closed again on Monday as multiple agencies continued to search for the animal. The cougar will be killed if captured due to its dangerous behavior, Dennehy said.
“It will not be relocated. This is an aggressive cougar. We don’t bring the problem somewhere else,” Dennehy added.
“We’ve been out with dogs in the last couple of days in the morning and still haven’t found it. Because it’s so dry, it’s difficult to pick up the scent,” she said.
Authorities also have tried to trap the mountain lion with no success so far.
“We’ll be continuing to look for it. We want to give it a few more days, but I don’t think we’ll go the whole week right now,” Dennehy said.
Signage about the forest closure and safety tips were posted at four gates for Dunn Forest along Tampico Road, west of Adair Village.
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Nearby McDonald Forest remained open, however, and parking lots close to Peavy Arboretum were packed with hikers, joggers and others on Sunday.
Here's what the Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends you do if you encounter a cougar:
• Never approach it for any reason.
• Try to make yourself appear large by raising your hands, holding your coat open or raising your hands. Do not bend over or crouch down. Hold small children.
• Fight back if you are attacked, and if possible use sticks, rocks or whatever you can as weapons.
When enjoying the outdoors:
• Make noise to reduce the chance of surprising a cougar or other predator.
• Always keep children close and in sight.
• Avoid hiking alone.