WATCH: Olympic National Park Fisherman Charges Cougar, Scares It Away

by Sean Griffin

A Port Angeles, Washington man encountered a cougar when fishing inside Olympic National Park. Luckily, unlike many who come this close to a wild cougar like this, Bart Brown lives to tell the tale.

The incident occurred last Saturday. He encountered the huge cat when walking back from his favorite fishing spot, Lake Angeles.

Brown was just beginning his three-hour hike in Olympic National Park when he spotted the cougar. It was his first encounter with one after years of fishing in the area.

“She’s sitting on the edge of the trail,” Brown said. “And when I looked over, I stopped her dead in her tracks, like she slid over a little bit, you know?”

“We had a stare down,” Brown said. “And … I gripped my flashlight really tight, you know, I’m like, I’m prepared to die. She is, she was about to attack me. I’m serious. I’m dead serious.”

Jason Knight, the owner and program director of the Alderleaf Wilderness College, spoke of Brown’s experience. Knight is well-equipped to handle a situation like this as he trains people how to survive encounters with wildlife, including cougars.

“I’m not surprised,” Knight said, “because there are so many humans and we are always hiking into their territory, their habitat all the time.”

KIRO 7 has a short clip of the encounter in their video report of the incident, which can be viewed here.

Man Describes Encounter with Cougar at Olympic National Park

Knight says cougars or mountain lions live among us, even though we don’t realize it.

“They usually see us,” said Knight. “We don’t see them. But if there’s a time that you do see one, if it’s not running the other direction to get away from you, the appropriate response is to be aggressive towards it.”

“It was going to be me or her, right?” said Brown. “And so I charged her. I charged the cougar. Yes, I did.”

Brown said he believed the cougar would have pounced on him had he not charged the cougar first.

“It’s one of them life or death situations and I felt like I was going to die,” he said. “Like I was prepared to die. I’m going to fight this cougar and I know I’m not going to win, you know. But I’m going to try.”

He says the big cat backed off a bit long enough for him to snap a picture of the huge cougar prowling Olympic National Park.

“She gets down and she looks at me and I look at her, too, we’re in it, we’re in a death stare,” said Brown. “I’m like, here we go. I muster the courage. I charged her again. We played chicken and I won. And she took off down the mountain.”

The cougar swiftly left and Brown thought about his near-death experience with the animal. However, his years of preparation came in handy as he successfully scared off the cougar.