Published Jul 23. 2007 - 16 years ago
Updated or edited Aug 8. 2015

Pictures, with a scary story to go along with them

I decided to go to a place that I had never fished before, Naver Creek. I'd driven by it many times while going hunting, but had never stopped to try it out. Today was the day.

When I arrived I got my gear together and started to walk across the bridge to the trail down to the creek when I saw a deer crossing the creek down stream of me [b:217b9c144a]Picture #1[/b:217b9c144a]. I made my way up stream fishing the different pools and runs and catching the odd smaller rainbow, 12-14 inch fish. The stream took a hard turn to the left and the area opened right up.

There were lots of great pools and I stopped to fish one next to a larger rock face [b:217b9c144a]Picture #3[/b:217b9c144a]. (I'll explain why I skipped pic #2 in a few lines) I released one beautiful rainbow and had several other rises to my dry fly. I turned around and started to make my way up stream again when I saw some larger animal tracks in the soft sand to my left. I walked up looking around at the moose and deer tracks when literally 20 feet in front of me under a couple of downed trees, [b:217b9c144a]Picture #2[/b:217b9c144a] something spooked out of it's hiding spot. All of a sudden I see it exploding out the back of the slash pile, a rather large Cougar (Picture #2 is taken from the exact spot I was standing when the cat took off running, I kid you not). It ran at great speed away from me, I dropped my fly rod pulled my shotgun down from my shoulder, fired a bear banger over it's head and immediately gave the shotgun a pump and chambered a load of buck shot. The bear banger exploded and I heard the big cat running away for quite a distance. I stood there for a minute or two in a little bit of shock. It was at that point that I realized that if the big cat had decided to fight and not flee, he was so close that he would have been on me before I could have got the shotgun down off my shoulder. Me thinks I was very close to a nasty situation. The other thing that freaked me out a bit was the fact that he watched me fish the pool at the rock face for 10-15 min and was only about 35 metres from me even then. It was at that point that I decided to head back to the truck with my shotgun in my hand not over my shoulder....... ;)

As I walked across the bridge heading for the truck, another fly fisherman drove up and I relayed what happened to him, he decide to go fish elsewhere with a cougar in the area.
I then drove another 5 kms to Yardley lake, it has a nice camp spot on it with nice tables, to cook up some lunch, have a beer and calm myself down a bit. After that I decided that I'd probably used up all my luck for one day and headed home.

When everything was going on, I actually wasn't freaked at all. I've spent a lot of my free time playing around out in the bush and this isn't my first close call. I've hunted and handled guns for over 30 years and it been a very long time since I got "buck fever". It was after the fact that I realized that the situation could have been far worse, for either myself or the cat. I bet ya I had shaky hands for a good 45 minutes after I got to Yardley Lake for that beer and lunch.

I have a feeling that he was just watching me, like cougars tend to do, and when I walked up to the slash pile I became a threat not prey. I came right at him and it may have unnerved him, even though I actually didn't know he was there. After looking at the spot and all the deer and moose tracks going by the slash pile, it's clear that it was his ambush spot. I'll never know of coarse if he actually intended to go after me as I walked past heading up stream, but I'll never look at a slash pile the same again. Funny thing is, I do want to go back and fish that area again, I was having a blast until the kitty ruined the day for me.

Now that is just the forth cougar I've ever seen in the wild. Now it makes ya think, just how many times have I been that close to a cat and never even knew he was there???????


The cougar was hiding in that dark spot at the base of the two trees. He bolted out to the left across that sand at the edge of the picture.


You are one lucky guy for a...

You are one lucky guy for a number of reasons. First for me is that you got to see a Cougar. Second is that you survived a close encounter of the first kind. I have seen Bobcats but a Cougar would be superb. In Belize I stayed on a huge ranch. They brushed the roads at sunset so they could see what they had prowling around the next morning. One morning we had Jaguar tracks on several of the roads that we were on the night before. I was excited just to think that one of them might have been watching me that night. And scared.

While fishing in the Shenandoahs I have seen about ten Black Bears over the last five years. They will spook you, too. At least we don't have Grizzlies and Moose down here. But Copperheads are all over the place around here. My wife and I saw a beauty this past Saturday on Bull Run.

Grant Banes's picture



Now that a few days have gone by, I do feel that even seeing a big cat was a cool experience and I am glad that neither of us had a bad outcome.

We have lots of bears, both Blacks and Griz, and moose up here. I see probably 40-50 bears a year with all the time I spend either fishing or hunting. This year they have been a little more elusive, I've only seen maybe a dozen all total. One of them has been hanging around the house the last couple of weeks. (I live out in the sticks) Bears never really bother me, you can read them pretty accurately and I've never really had a huge problem with a bear. I did have to bean one in the head with a softball sized rock a couple years ago when it made a couple false charges at me across the river I was fishing. Cats on the other hand are stealthy and very intelligent predators. It's a good thing that we humans don't taste all that good to animals.... :wink:


Log in or register to pre-fill name on comments, add videos, user pictures and more.
Read more about why you should register.