More than one person has spotted a cougar in 15 years

Par Mario Pitre
More than one person has spotted a cougar in 15 years
John Viau

The recent sightings of a cougar in Chateauguay Valley have just added themselves to several other such observations that have been corroborated in the past 15 years.

That’s what is affirmed by John Viau, a resident of Chemin de la Ferme in Ormstown, who himself lived through such an experience on a few occasions. Questioned close-up about these appearances, Viau – a retired journalist – himself has filed several documentations from people who attest having seen the animal.

The hunter tells of having seen the cougar for the first time on February 9, 2003, when he found himself on his hunting roost in the Covey Hill sector.

«I heard a slight sound come from below me. Sure that it was a coyote responding to my calls, I slowly and quietly turned around in my chair. I nearly fell out of my tree stand. A large mountain lion was peering up into my tree!  Staring intently and perfectly immobile, except for his long twitching tail, he seemed to be studying me and perhaps pondering whether or not to attack…It had a tawny reddish brown coat and I guess it weighed about 150 to 180 pounds and measured approximately six feet in length! I clicked off the safety and at the sound of the safety releasing, it took off in huge eight-foot bounds into the scrub brush on the New York State side of the International Border.»

On another occasion, on February 16, 2012 at about 8:30 p.m., on coming back from Malone, he and his wife once more saw the same type of animal in the midst of Route 374, near the Herdman border station.

«I had the big cat in my view for at least five minutes and I could see it clearly as it stood transfixed in my bright high beams.»

In his role as a journalist, Viau says he obtained numerous attestations from people certifying the presence of cougar(s) in the region; one from Donald Hooker in October of 2011, and one from Donnie Wattie the following month close to the Powerscourt covered bridge, and one from Gay Cloake in the summer of 2014 on range Botreaux.

He also confirms the position of the Wildlife Ministry, to the effect that it is forbidden to kill a cougar, a species that is in danger of disappearing. «I totally agree but perhaps with this exception. If a mountain lion decided to have me or a loved one for dinner, I might just object rather strongly», he says.

Translated by Dan Rosenburg

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