Cougars spotted at North Junction
The Bureau of Land Management, Prineville District, has received several reports of encounters with cougars in Segment 1 of the Lower Deschutes River.
Up to three animals have been seen approaching campsites near North Junction, about 24 river miles north of the Warm Springs boat launch. Segment 1 of the Lower Deschutes runs from the Warm Springs launch to Harpham Flats.
The BLM is working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to address the issue. For rafters and campers in the area, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has the following recommendations:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all time and stay in groups when possible. Keep pets on a leash and children close.
- Keep campsites clean and sleep 100 yards from cooking areas. Store food in animal-proof containers.
- Never feed wildlife and do not approach cougars.
- Be especially aware at dawn and dusk when they are most active.
While cougar sightings are rare, the animals can become a public safety risk when they are seen repeatedly and are becoming habituated to human activity.
In the event that you encounter a cougar, remember to stay calm and stand your ground. Maintain eye contact and pick up any children without bending down or turning your back to the cougar. Make yourself large and loud, and back away (don't run), while also giving the animal a way to escape.
Once in cell phone coverage or at the end of your float, report any cougar sightings to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
For additional information, contact the BLM Prineville District Office at 541-416-6700 or the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 800- 720-ODFW.