SUNRIVER, Ore. - (Update: Comments from police chief)
Cougar tracks on a Sunriver golf course sand trap and a dead deer found nearby Friday prompted an unsuccessful search for the animal and advice from police to be cautious if they encounter it.
Around 11:15 a.m., police were called to the Sunriver north course, called the Woodlands, behind 35 Cedar Lane for a dead deer, said Sgt. Joe Patnode.
Officers were able to determine the deer was likely killed by a cougar, Patnode said.
Police searched the area for nearly 40 minutes, finding several apparent cougar tracks in the sand trap on the 14th hole fairway but not the big cat itself, he said.
The chief of Sunriver Police said it's rare to see cougars in the area but not unheard of.
"It's a yearly event in Sunriver," Chief Marc Mills said. "Not any particular time of year. We remember some just being prior to the summer, and of course, fall."
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officers were contacted and advised of the incident.
ODF&W advised that individuals avoid direct contact with the cougar, and if located avoid attempts to chase it off.
If the cougar is found, Mills said, the police will defer to ODFW, but if it's found in a place where it poses an immediate threat to people, they will have to kill it.
Members of the public are encouraged to keep their pets on a leash, and if you see or are in contact with the cougar, walk away slowly and call the police.
If you see the cougar in Sunriver, you are encouraged to contact the Sunriver Police Department at 541-593-1014.
ODFW has a page full of information about cougars at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/cougars.asp