A Utah homeowner from Weber County encountered a wild cougar after spotting the big cat on a security camera. Jeffrey Weaver of North Ogden said while wildlife routinely sniffs around his property all year, he rarely sees big game like a cougar — especially one as large as he saw recently.
The saga began when motion sensors alerted Weaver to movement on his property outside. He said he opened the blinds to his glass door coming off the bedroom and immediately saw the enormous feline prowling around gracefully.
“It was definitely 200 pounds of scary,” Weaver told local media in an interview. “I think it scared me more than I scared it.”
Weaver’s security footage showed the cougar stalking around the driveway and patio of his Utah home. The cougar even stops to sniff a patio table for a while before climbing up top onto it for a better vantage point.
Weaver thinks that the cougar was hunting small, feral animals that frequent the area after heavy snowstorms like the one Utah received recently. Earlier in the week, Weaver spotted cougar tracks in the snow outside his home; and he said he believes the cougar is the same one that’s previously been spotted in the neighborhood.
Weaver then said it was the first time he had actually seen the cougar. He said the cat’s sheer size startled him the most.
“When I first saw it outside my door, it stood up on its hind legs and it was just as tall if not taller than me,” the homeowner said.
Apparently the cougar stalked around the neighborhood for three hours that evening before finally retreating back towards the higher elevations.
What to do if a cougar approaches you in Utah or any other mountainous state
In case you ever find yourself face to face with a cougar or similarly aggressive animal, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources offers specific instructions for navigating the encounter.
First and most importantly, do not run from large cats like a cougar. Running can trigger the predator and prey response instinct in cats, making them more likely to chase a runner.
Secondly, try to occupy space and look threatening. Stand up tall, wave your arms, and puff out your jacket. Make eye contact, which cats consider a threat from strangers. Then speak loudly and firmly toward the cat.
If you have children with you, try to pick them up without forfeiting the ground gained in step two. Don’t let your kids run, and don’t huddle over them in fear, trying to protect them. The cougar will sense the weakness and want to attack the smaller target.
If you held your ground and tried intimidation, but the cat still lunges for you, fight back with all your might. Be sure to protect your neck during the skirmish; as cats aim for the neck as a kill-zone in prey. If you can fight back, the cougar will likely give up quickly and leave out of self-preservation. Again, don’t run.