A young male cougar was trapped and killed east of Bend overnight, having apparently killed two sheep in two days on a property off Chickadee Lane, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist said Friday.
ODFW district biologist Steven George said a broken leg may have led the animal to seek out easier prey than deer or elk.
George said the 2- to 3-year-old cougar had killed a farmer’s domestic sheep Wednesday at the property just east of Powell Butte Highway, prompting a calling in of U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, which deals with such issues in the area.
George said Oregon State Police game troopers were in charge of the investigation, but that after it was trapped and killed, it was brought to ODFW in Bend for examination.
“We’re pretty confident this is the animal that was causing issues,” George said, noting that it “came back yesterday and killed another one before it went into the trap.”
The cougar problem was “the first one we’ve had for a little while,” George said, 15 months after a similar trap was used to catch a cougar that was seen numerous times during daylight hours in Deschutes River Woods.
George said while the investigation is continuing, it appeared the cougar east of Bend “had an injury to it. It looked like an earlier gunshot wound to it, rather recent – within the last week. It looks older than the other shot (that killed the animal).”
With that “and a broken leg, it wasn’t able to hunt very well. That’s probably what prompted it to start hunting livestock, as opposed to” deer or elk, or other smaller mammals, as deer usually do.
“Normally, if we have injuries, we see deviation” from the cougar’s normal behavior, the biologist said. The cougars right front leg was broken, high up in the shoulder area, which meant it would “not be able to run very fast or efficiently kill.”
“Obviously, if it’s killing livestock, it will continue to do that,” George said. “We’ve seen that kind of experience.”