Victor Svimonoff was eating dinner with his wife at 7:30 Tuesday night in his Harbor Hills home when he spied the cougar walking across his driveway.
“I’ve seen a few cats over the years, but this was the biggest; about 200 pounds,” said Svimonoff, who lives at the top of Napa Lane, about a third of a mile from Highway 101.
“It came down off the hill and across my driveway. He didn’t seem to care much about anything; not trying to be sneaky at all. Like he was out for a stroll,” he said.
When the cougar headed down toward a neighbor’s property, where there are livestock, Svimonoff called the neighbor, who quickly ushered the animals into a barn.
It’s not uncommon to spot cougars, bears and other predators in and around the Brookings-Harbor area.
Last year, a motorist spotted a cougar about 5 miles east of town near the Riverside market on North Bank Chetco River Road.
In 2015, a cougar attacked a goat living inside a 6-foot livestock fence on property on Duley Creek off Carpenterville Road.
Cougars have also been reported once or twice near Harris Beach State Park in recent years, usually in late summer months.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offer the following tips in the case of a cougar encounter: Speak in a firm, loud voice and make yourself look as large as possible; do not run.
Protect small children, keep pets on a leash, and stay calm. Cougars often retreat if given the chance.
Officials advise residents not to feed wildlife or leave food for their pets in a place where wild animals can get it to reduce the number of wildlife-human encounters.
Sightings of cougars and bears near residential areas should be reported to local ODFW officials at 503-947-6301 or Oregon State Police at 541-247-6641.