(Photo by Josh DeLeenheer)

On Sunday night, a Saanich homeowner encountered a cougar trying to kill a deer in his backyard.

The resident and his family then scared away the big cat before it was able to eat its dinner, on their property in the 2600 block of Queenswood Dr.

“It had just attacked a deer when the homeowner scared it off,” said Sgt. Julie Fast of Saanich Police.  “The cougar ran down towards the ocean and left the deer laying on the ground.”

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But this wasn’t the only time a cougar was spotted by Saanich residents in the past three days.

Second and third encounters

At around 4:15 p.m. on Monday, March 18th, a man reported seeing a cougar walking around Rithets Bog off Chatterton Way.

He first thought the animal was a dog, but now believes it was a cougar based on the animal’s low profile and movement. Luckily, it was not aggressive and did not pay attention to the man as he walked by.

This morning, at around 2 a.m., a resident in the area of Hillcrest Avenue and King Alfred Court saw a cougar run into the bushes.

There is no information about whether or not the animal in the second and third sightings is the same one that tried unsuccessfully to eat a deer in Cadboro Bay on Sunday night.

In all three cases, the cougar(s) in question was not located by police, and BC Conservation Officer Service have been notified of these sightings.

If a cougar is reported near your property, Saanich Police recommends calling the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277 and your local police department. If you are inside when you spot a cougar, stay inside, and ensure your family and pets are also inside.

What to do if you encounter a cougar:

Never approach a cougar. Although cougars will normally avoid a confrontation, all cougars are unpredictable. Cougars feeding on a kill may be dangerous.

  • Always give a cougar an avenue of escape.
  • Stay calm. Talk to the cougar in a confident voice.
  • Pick all children up off the ground immediately. Children frighten easily, and their rapid movements may provoke an attack.
  • Do not run. Try to back away from the cougar slowly. Sudden movement or flight may trigger an instinctive attack.
  • Do not turn your back on the cougar. Face the cougar and remain upright.
  • Do all you can to enlarge your image. Don’t crouch down or try to hide. Pick up sticks or branches and wave them about.

If a cougar behaves aggressively:

  • Arm yourself with a large stick, throw rocks, speak loudly and firmly. Convince the cougar that you are a threat, not prey.
  • If cougar attacks, fight back! Many people have survived cougar attacks by fighting back with anything, including rocks, sticks, bare fists, and fishing poles.

With files from Adam Chan.