Almost 30,000 acres and 14 hiking trails, mostly south of Zigzag and Government Camp in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness area of Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest, have been closed after a cougar was blamed for killing a hiker last week, as reported by Woodall’s Camground Management.
Officials began hunting Thursday morning, September 13th, using mule teams and four trained dogs, for the cougar believed to have killed 55-year-old Diana Bober, whose body was discovered along the Hunchback Trail on Monday.
No recent cougar sign such as tracks, scat, or scratches was detected in the area, officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a news release.
Searchers also saw very few signs of cougar’s prey, like deer.
“It’s very important that we started our search at the site where Diana was found,” said Brian Wolfer, ODFW watershed manager who is leading the capture effort. “The cougar wasn’t there. Tomorrow we will expand our search into a new area.”
“This does have every indication that this is the first fatal attack of a human by a cougar in Oregon,” said Brian Wolfer, watershed manager with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The closure will remain in place for 30 days but could be rescinded early or extended depending on circumstances of the hunt. Read more, including tips to stay safe if you encounter a cougar and view a map of the closed area, at Statesman Journal.