by James W
(Dundas, Ontario, Canada)
I went fishing at Burns Conservation Area north of Burlington (south of Moffat) about 20 years ago very early one morning (I got there while it was still dark... just before the first light appeared).
Anyway, I got my fishing rod set up, walked over to the edge of the pond and was about to start fishing when something caught my eye moving behind me.
I turned around to see a Cougar running along the treeline behind me (only about 10-15 steps away...maybe 30-45 feet), past my location, and a little further before it turned and ran into the woods and disappeared.
I had a great view of it for 10 to 15 seconds and it was definitely a cougar...there is zero doubt.
I was amazed at how big these things are. When its body 'stretched' while running (think of a cat running .... its spine compresses and then springs forward), it was extremely long. And that doesn't include the very long tail these have.
I'd have to guess that it was at least 7-8 feet long nose to tail when stretched out. I was shocked to say the least.
I didn't realize just how rare these are in Ontario (they were considered extinct here), although I knew it was very strange.
I let the MNR know a few years later once I read online that the MNR is investigating the possibility of them being in Ontario, and have since learned that there have been, in fact, a few sightings of these animals around Ontario (a few years after my sighting there were some other sightings of a cougar in the town of Moffat, just up the road from Burns Conservation Area).
Knowing what I know now, I should have let the MNR know right away so they could have looked for tracks (it likely made some in the soft ground).
As I was alone, I'm happy my first sign of the cougar wasn't the feeling of it landing on my back! (hopefully that wasn't its plan before I turned around...it was running toward my location and it surely knew I was there as I was standing out in the open.)
The exact location was the treeline at the back side of the pond. I was near the middle and it ran past me from the right (when facing treeline), and continued to the far left side of the pond before heading into the woods.
Thank you for sending us this report of your Cougar sighting - how exciting, and our readers will love hearing about your experience!