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WDFW Enforcement is divided into two patrol sections, Marine and Land, although responsibilities often overlap and the two sections commonly assist each other. The following are real life events that provide a snapshot of fish and wildlife enforcement activity in Washington State. These examples show the diversity of issues that Fish and Wildlife Police Officers ("Game Wardens") encounter while protecting your natural resources, but are by no means all encompassing of our many accomplishments. All violations are considered alleged unless a conviction has been secured.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dangerous Cougar on the Lamb

The customer service staff at the WDFW Region 1 Office in Spokane received a mid-morning report of five sheep that were found dead in their pen at the reporting party's residence. Officer Spurbeck learned that five of the eight yearling lambs in the fenced enclosure were dead, but the reporting party wasn't sure what had killed them, although he did indicate that the kills were recent.

Officer Spurbeck arrived on scene in north Spokane County near Fan Lake, and the landowner led him to the area where the lambs had been killed. From the evidence at the scene, Officer Spurbeck was quickly able to determine that a cougar had killed the lambs.  He requested assistance from Officer Erickson, who was able to contact Ted Kardos, a local hound hunter who was willing to respond and help.  Officer Erickson had already developed a good working relationship with Kardos, who has helped him with these types of incidents in the past.

Officer Erickson and Kardos arrived on scene around 2:30 PM.  Kardos brought two hounds with him and they quickly set out in search of the cougar. Within 15 minutes the hounds had picked up the scent and the cougar was found in a tree about five minutes later.  However, the cougar decided to take the chase back to the ground, leaving the tree after a short time.  The hounds continued the chase. Approximately five minutes later the cougar headed high up into another tree. If it wasn't for a well-placed shotgun slug, the cougar may have stayed in that tree a while longer....

Once a cougar realizes how easy it is to kill domesticated animals or livestock, it will continue to do so. And since domesticated animals and livestock are found near human dwellings, this poses a great risk to public safety. Many thanks to Ted Kardos and his hounds for helping us locate and remove this dangerous cougar before it could return to kill again.


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