ODFW investigates possible cougar sighting near Mount Hood snow park

    Cougar sighting near Snow Bunny Snowplay Area - KATU image.

    The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirms it took a report of a cougar sighting near Government Camp Wednesday.

    ODFW says Oregon State Police called it Wednesday afternoon and said a woman had reportedly seen a cougar near the Snow Bunny Snow Park.

    Warning signs were up Thursday at the snow park's entrance.

    "I noticed them when we walked in," said snow park visitor Shawn Bozarth. "I mean, you know, there's nothing you can really do about it. This is the wild. That's kind of what happens, right?"

    According to officials, the woman was hiking near the snow park when she encountered what she believed was a cougar.

    “She reported to the police that she made eye contact with the cougar. Its ears were back. She started backing away, pulled out a tripod and then made haste to her vehicle,” said Rick Swart from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    ODFW says the woman was not injured.

    Oregon State Police said it received the report of the cougar encounter at 12:21 p.m. and dispatched troopers to the area.

    The snow park was closed for about an hour-and-a-half while authorities conducted a search for the animal, but were not able to find it.

    Wildlife officials evaluated the site where the cougar was reportedly seen Wednesday. They found canine tracks and other tracks that they couldn’t identify immediately.

    ODFW says they’re trying to contact the woman to get her information.

    Officials say there are a lot of cougars in the area.

    The U.S. Forest Service is also aware of the reported cougar sighting and it has put up signs near the Snow Bunny Snow Park and surrounding trailheads.

    ODFW says if you ever encounter a cougar, do not turn your back on it and do not run. It says it’s best to make eye contact and back away slowly.

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