This is a great book I read a couple of years ago. The author, who lives in Boulder, Colorado has a most interesting Op-Ed in the NYT today about a 140-pound cougar that was killed when it was hit by a car on Wilbur Cross Parkway near Greenwich, Connecticut. Big surprise since Eastern cougars are officially extinct in Connecticut. According to DNA tests this cougar was not an Eastern cougar but was a Black Hills cougar that apparently wandered to Connecticut, a distance of at least 1,500 miles.
Hiking with a dog is popular and fun, but carries with it a bit of a risk. Dogs are seen as prey by cougars, and might attract one to your hike. That doesn’t necessarily present a danger to the hiker but the loss of a beloved dog in the blink of eye will certainly ruin the pleasure of the hike. A Google search will reveal that cougar attacks on humans are numerous, and often deadly. California, where hunting them is banned, is especially dangerous. There may be a connection.
Even if you hike for years in cougar country without ever seeing one, as the author above says about his daily walks near his home in Colorado, it is a near certainty that you have been seen by cougars many times. You have probably been very close to one and never known it. With the increase in the deer population just about everywhere, cougars are everywhere also. The author makes a point that this may be a good thing because more people, especially motorcyclists, are killed or injured in deer collisions on the highway than in cougar attacks.