DFW shoots cougar after 17 livestock killings

A 185-pound male cougar was shot and killed recently in North Kitsap by a Department of Fish and Wildlife official due to it killing 17 livestock over a three-month span.

WDFW tried setting traps, ran tracking hounds twice and utilized a drone twice, but those efforts failed.

“Unfortunately killing livestock is a learned behavior with cougars,” DFW Sgt. Kenneth Balazs said. “Many times, people ask why we can’t just tranquilize a cougar and relocate it. Unfortunately, this only removes the depredation behavior from one area to become a problem in another. The best prevention to avoid this type of outcome with cougars is to provide livestock with a secure shelter at night that prevents an attack from cougars.”

Balazs said 17 animals were killed by the cougar between April 1 and July 10, including nine goats, seven sheep and one alpaca. The areas of the attacks included Big Valley Road, Port Gamble Road, Rova Road, Barnswallow Way, Diamond Drive NE, Taka Lane and Munchkin Lane NW.

“Seventeen killed animals in a little over three months is extreme for Kitsap County,” Balazs said. He added having to kill a cougar in Kitsap is “very rare. I prefer to have these large cats help manage the deer population in North Kitsap since we do not have much hunting pressure in the area.”

The cougar was killed near Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor with a rifle by Balazs. “Due to monitoring other kill sites with cameras, we learned that this cat would come back to the kill site the next night about one hour after sunset on a regular basis,” Balazs said of the strategy used to put down the cougar.