Fish and Wildlife offer advice when encountering cougars - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fish and Wildlife offer advice when encountering cougars

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Over the weekend the state of Washington dealt with its first cougar attack since 2009. Since those records started being kept, this is now the 20th ever attack on humans.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates there are somewhere between 1,800 and 2,100 cougars throughout the state, most of the time they come out at night. For Lynda and Alex Patterson, a cougar attack is something they're familiar with.

"My niece and nephew were on a day camp and one of the kids in their group was attacked right outside of Missoula," Lynda said. 

That attack happened in in 1998, near the Marshall Mountain Ski Area. Now Lynda and Alex bring their dog with them for added protection.

The weekend's fatal attack is North America's first cougar-related fatality since 2008, and in Washington state, only the second. The last fatal attack was in 1924. So what do you do if you run across a cougar on a trail?

"It's best to travel in groups. Make some noise. If you have smaller children pick them up. Try to look as large as possible and come together if in a group," Capt. Dan Rahn with the Department of Fish and Wildlife said. 

Rahn says to fight back and try to stay on your feet. This will increase you chances of driving away a potential cougar.

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