It is extremely unusual for cougars to attack humans, say officials, as they are shy animals that usually hunt smaller animals like deer, rabbits and goats.

It is extremely unusual for cougars to attack humans, say officials, as they are shy animals that usually hunt smaller animals like deer, rabbits and goats.

Cougar kills mountain biker, injures another near North Bend

It was the first fatal cougar attack in Washington State in 94 years.

NORTH BEND — A person was killed and another wounded after a cougar attack by Lake Hancock near North Bend on Saturday morning.

The 31-year-old and 32-year-old victims of the attack, both of whom were identified by the King County Sheriff’s Office as men, were riding their mountain bikes in the area at 11 a.m. when they saw a cougar chasing them. They reportedly began to make noise to chase the cougar away and one of the riders struck the cougar with their bike, which caused it to run off. King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ryan Abbott said the pair continued to make noise, doing exactly what is advised when hikers are approached by a cougar.

When the mountain bikers attempted to resume their ride, the cougar jumped on the 31-year-old hiker, who reported that the animal had his whole head in its mouth as it shook him around. The other hiker saw this and took off running, Abbott said. The cougar then dropped its first victim and chased after the running hiker.

The first victim escaped on his bike and started pedalling away as he witnessed the cougar dragging the other hiker into the woods. He rode for about two miles until he was able to find cell phone reception and called 911. King County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bellevue Medics, Snoqualmie Fire Department, and Eastside Fire and Rescue, responded to the call. The first victim was treated on the scene and transported to Harborview Medical Center where Abbott said he is in satisfactory condition.

The deputies, Abbott said, continued to search for the other victim and found the cougar on top of the mountain biker’s body in its den. Officers shot at the cougar, which then fled the scene. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Alan Myers said that King County and WDFW responders secured the scene and contacted a hound hunter who brought up his tracking dogs to locate the cougar.

The cougar was eventually found up in a tree 200 yards away from the den, Myers said. Officers shot and killed the animal.

“Once it was captured, it was bagged and tagged properly and brought out of the scene along with the evidence to verify that cougar was linked to the unfortunate event,” Myers said.

The cougar was taken to the state veterinarian for a necropsy and the King County Medical examiner will conduct an autopsy on the victim. Myers said they will then compare reports and use forensic analysis and DNA to verify the cougar that was captured was the one that attacked the victim.

Abbott said it is currently unknown why the cougar attacked the men, stating the these attacks are so rare that the fatality is the first in Washington since 1924. Myers said it is extremely unusual for cougars to attack humans as they are shy animals that usually hunt smaller animals like deer, rabbits and goats.

It’s important to note, he said, that if anyone encounters a cougar in the wild they should stand their ground, make noise and throw things at it instead of running away.

_______

This story was firstpublished in the Snoqalmie Valley Record. Reach Evan Pappas at epappas@soundpublishing.com.

More in Northwest

King County, Seattle, transit agencies and others join in lawsuit against I-976

A lawsuit filed by plaintiffs across Washington claims I-976 is a “poorly… Continue reading

Political activist Tim Eyman campaigns for Initiative 976 on Nov. 5 in downtown Bellevue. The initiative promised $30 car tabs while functionally eliminating the ability of agencies like Sound Transit to raise taxes for its projects. Photo by Aaron Kunkler
Election analysis: I-976 vote casts South King County against Seattle, Eastside

Preliminary precinct counts show support for the initiative split by region.

State AG Ferguson issues statement on DACA argument before U.S. Supreme Court

Trump administration wants to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

A King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity. Photo courtesy of the state Attorney General’s office
Judge rules Value Village deceived customers

The King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity.

Constantine outlines I-976 impacts to King County, Metro

Asks King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to prepare lawsuit to challenge measure

Vehicles passing through flooded street. File photo
King County Flood Control District to vote on 2020 budget

The budget will fund a variety of programs across the county.

Flying Fish: Lake Sammamish kokanee move to Orcas Island

It’s part of a program to preserve the unique freshwater salmon species.

Malena Gaces, left, and other members of Washington CAN protest unfair move-out charges and alleged discriminatory behavior outside Kitts Corner Apartments in Federal Way in 2018. Sound Publishing file photo
King County could increase tenant protections

The council is considering ordinances designed to help renters.

The 2015 Wolverine Fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Lake Chelan. Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
The smoky summer that wasn’t

While Washington had a mild season, wildfires burned near the Arctic.

Dane Scarimbolo and Dominique Torgerson run Four Horsemen Brewery in Kent. They were almost shut down in late 2017 by King County, which after years of letting them operate a brewery and taproom, decided they were in violation of county code. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Proposed winery ordinance irks King County farmers, neighbors and businesses

Concerns include more traffic, higher land prices, code enforcement and compliance.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Kim Schrier held a roundtable at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank on Oct. 3 to talk about the Trump administration’s plan to further change SNAP food benefits rules and reduce the number of people using them. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Murray, Schrier vow to fight White House restrictions on food stamps

Senator and Representative met Oct. 3 at Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

King County is not on track to meet its greenhouse gas emissions goals, but emissions also have not been rising with population growth. File photo
King County isn’t on track to meet emissions goals

The goals were ambitious but progress has been slow.