Cougar sighting near Prescott Park, warning for hikers

MEDFORD, Ore.– A recent cougar sighting warning was sent out yesterday by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. This time in a neighborhood near Prescott Park which is a big area for hikers.

While the sighting may not affect most in the area, it’s still a good idea to be aware of the possible case of running into a cougar. NBC5 News spoke with some hikers enjoying the day out at the park with some having no idea about the sighting. Still, several said it isn’t stopping them from enjoying the outdoors.

“Take advantage of it. It’s just part of nature,” said hiker Danford Moore.

Words of advice from one of two hikers who visit southern Oregon every few months to enjoy its natural beauty. While the recent cougar sightings were news to them, it was by no means a deterrent.

“You just be careful, keep your eyes open and try to be smart,” said Becky Sandrik. “If there are signs posted, you pay real close attention.”

Both avid hikers, Moore and Sandrik have encountered plenty of wildlife on their trips. Bears, bobcats, wolves – all of these animals, they say, comes with the territory. It’s all a part of being in nature, especially when neighborhoods begin move further into the hills.

Both say they’ve been lucky to never have run into a cougar as Moore describes they can be “aggressive and they’re really territorial.”

But they know what to do if they ever happen to run into one.

“With cougars be big and be loud, like get big,” said Moore. “Get as big as you can and be loud!”

That’s exactly what Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife advises as well. According to the agency, there also have never been any recorded cougar attacks on people in Oregon.

Other residents in the area told NBC5 News that cougars aren’t a major problem. It’s just something they’ve learned to deal with as they build their homes around what was once the cougars territory.

As for hikers like Moore and Sandrik, even cougars shouldn’t stop people from taking a hike.

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