I am sorry to say that we did nothing.
After all, we had lived in our house for a year and a half without any problems. And the cougar didn’t get a square meal out of Bell, so maybe it would just roam on its way.
A couple weeks later, I went out to give the goats a treat, and Minnie was gone.
One big goat – 130+ pounds – missing.
Not without a trace, though. All of the electric fence wires at one end of the pasture were broken, and there was a broad drag trail.
I followed the trail a little ways, but balked when it went into the woods. After all, Minnie was bigger than I was, and the cougar had taken her out just fine!
When Rob got home from work, he managed to find Minnie’s remains . . . Which was amazing, because the cougar had carefully buried her. It was sad, but also really impressive. I don’t think that a human could have done much better hiding a goat with duff and moss.
Can you spot the goat?
We didn’t notice it at the time, but a couple days later we realized that 8-Bit — the big boy — had a bite on his rear leg. The cougar must have gone for him first, failed, and then gone for Minnie.
The less said about giving antibiotics to goats, the better.
The game warden came out the next day. The first step was to put up a game cam and try to see what was what.
I had assumed it must be a big cat. It dragged Minnie a hundred yards, including through the brush.
The game warden told us about a cat that took out a 400 lb. calf. The cat was able to drag the calf to the fence, but then couldn’t get it over or under.
So . . . cats are freakishly strong.
The game cam came up empty the next morning, but the morning after we had some fine pictures of the cougar.
Unfortunately, halibut season had just started, so it was a couple more days before a warden made it out. It was too late for a cage trap, he said — the carcass was starting to rot. He told us that we should keep checking the camera, and let him know when the cougar resurfaced.
In the meantime, see to our fences.
We had taken advantage of the “safe” time after the cougar took Minnie to set up a gate in the shed, so we could lock our two remaining boys in at night. That was fine in the short term, but in the long-term the only answer was a really good fence.
Really good fences are a big pain.