Port Angeles man says he was ‘prepared to die’ during cougar encounter

A Port Angeles man encountered a cougar inside the Olympic National Park and survived.

Bart Brown’s unlucky encounter with the cougar happened last Saturday.

Brown came upon the cougar as he was walking back from his favorite fishing hole, Lake Angeles, in the Olympic National Park.

Jason Knight, the co-founder of the Alderleaf Wilderness College, trains people on how to survive an encounter with a cougar. It is something that he now knows all too well.

“She’s sitting on the edge of the trail,” Brown said. “And when I looked over, I stopped her dead in her tracks, like she slid over a little bit, you know?”

Brown was at the start of his three-hour hike out of the Olympic National Park when he came upon the cougar. It was his first encounter after years of fishing at Lake Angeles.

“And we had a stare down,” Brown said. “And ... I gripped my flashlight really tight, you know, I’m like, I’m prepared to die. She is, she was about to attack me. I’m serious. I’m dead serious.”

“I’m not surprised,” said Jason Knight, of Brown’s experience, “because there are so many humans and we are always hiking into their territory, their habitat all the time.”

Knight, the owner of the Alderleaf Wilderness College and a wildlife expert, says cougars or mountain lions live among us.

“They usually see us,” said Knight. “We don’t see them. But if there’s a time that you do see one, if it’s not running the other direction to get away from you, the appropriate response is to be aggressive towards it.”

“It was going to be me or her, right?” said Brown. “And so I charged her. I charged the cougar. Yes, I did.”

Brown said he believed the cougar would come after him.

“It’s one of them life or death situations and I felt like I was going to die,” he said. “Like I was prepared to die. I’m going to fight this cougar and I know I’m not going to win, you know. But I’m going to try.”

He says the big cat backed off a bit long enough for him to snap this picture.

“She gets down and she looks at me and I look at her, too, we’re in it, we’re in a death stare,” said Brown. “I’m like, here we go. I muster the courage. I charged her again. We played chicken and I won. And she took off down the mountain.”

Took off down the mountain leaving Brown to wonder about it all. It turned out that he did exactly what he needed to do to survive.

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