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Old 10-13-2019, 11:20 PM
 
9 posts, read 8,269 times
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My husband and I are looking to move our family to Issaquah - found a large (4 acre) property we are very interested in near Cougar Mountain Zoo. I’m looking to understand what we’re getting ourselves into with regards to the wildlife over there, specifically of the more “carnivorous” variety.
To be completely honest, we’re city folk - more accustomed to the suburbs (currently living in Burien). The most wildlife we see are raccoons or a very infrequent coyote sighting. I understand that investing in bear-proof garbage cans and keeping your property clear of food that would draw bears or cougars to your house are simple ways to help. But i’m Looking for a more clear understanding of how to manage our kids and dogs. We have 4 kids (11, 8, 4, and and infant)...and two smallish (under 30 pound dogs). Do we avoid letting them out at night? Can I let me 4 year old run in the yard, mid day, unattended? Can my 8 year old run out to the car to grab her homework at dusk? Just what exactly are the realities of co-habitating with wildlife in this particular area?
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Old 10-14-2019, 12:56 AM
 
Location: Independent Republic of Ballard
6,853 posts, read 5,323,504 times
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There has only been one recent attack by a cougar on the Eastside, and that was out by North Bend, in the Cascades foot hills, not near Issaquah. See: https://www.outsideonline.com/231213...-cougar-attack

I've never heard of a bear attack here. Coyotes are more a threat to small pets. I wouldn't worry about it too much, outside of taking sensible precautions when in the "woods" (whistle, bear spray, going in pairs/groups, etc.). In almost all cases, they are more afraid of us than we should be of them. There have been only two fatal cougar attacks in Washington in the last 100 years: 1927 and 2018.

Last edited by CrazyDonkey; 10-14-2019 at 01:05 AM..
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:56 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
30,856 posts, read 56,242,556 times
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Even the more densely populated areas of Sammamish and the Issaquah Highlands have a lot of coyote activity, raccoons, cougars, and yes, occasional bears. I would not let a cat or small dog out after dusk except in a well fenced back yard. I leave for work at 4:30am and see coyotes at least 1-2 times a week. There have been bears sighted during the day, my wife and I saw one along a trail in the Fall City area, in a more rural setting like near Cougar Mountain.
If you want to live in an area with wildlife there are precautions to be made for pets, and even more so for children. While attacks are rare, they do happen.
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:53 AM
 
Location: WA
586 posts, read 1,862,098 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
If you want to live in an area with wildlife there are precautions to be made for pets, and even more so for children. While attacks are rare, they do happen.

Best advice. Even eagles can carry off small dogs, and you want to take common sense precautions. Educate yourself and kids on how to be safe and be aware, but don't live in fear.
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Old 10-14-2019, 12:07 PM
 
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We are on a nearby mtn and have several trail cams on our property and greenbelt beyond. Yes, we regularly have coyotes, deer, bobcat, bears and even an elk on video. It is called being aware of your surroundings and being conscientious with your trash. Keep your animals indoors or minimum indoors at night. Outdoor cats disappear in the highest numbers...some people can't seem to grasp that and are eternally shocked when a cat goes missing. You will be fine just be aware of your environment and when certain animals tend to roam. And the bears do figure out the trash schedule ....
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:41 PM
 
9 posts, read 8,269 times
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Ok, great! Sounds like I’ve got a firm grasp of what the situation is. The property seems to have a 3 foot chainlink fence around most of the perimeter. I think my main concern is if I can/should let the younger kids out alone to play. Right now, where we currently live, I would never think twice about letting my 4 year old go in the yard on the swing set, or to garden - she goes out there alone all the time. But I’m worried it might be foolish to do that in these parts of a Issaquah. Would a taller fence help to keep a cougar or bear out in the rare chance one came near our property? I don’t want to live in fear...but I can’t exactly teach a 3 or 4 year old how to manage a cougar in the yard.
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,506 posts, read 5,340,233 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcatrussell View Post
Ok, great! Sounds like I’ve got a firm grasp of what the situation is. The property seems to have a 3 foot chainlink fence around most of the perimeter. I think my main concern is if I can/should let the younger kids out alone to play. Right now, where we currently live, I would never think twice about letting my 4 year old go in the yard on the swing set, or to garden - she goes out there alone all the time. But I’m worried it might be foolish to do that in these parts of a Issaquah. Would a taller fence help to keep a cougar or bear out in the rare chance one came near our property? I don’t want to live in fear...but I can’t exactly teach a 3 or 4 year old how to manage a cougar in the yard.
I don't think it's worth the expense, personally. I've only heard of one cougar in Issaquah in the 9 years I've lived here. It was recent and it was at the most southeastern edge of Issaquah Highlands along the I-90 corridor which has a more direct passage with the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie forest. Cougars would only have one entrance, really, to Cougar mountain, from a southeast direction, and at that they would have to cross both 900 and Issy-Hobart rds. There is too much development directly east and north for them to pass through. I'm not saying it's impossible, but if the next sighting isn't for another 9 years then your little 4 year old will be a teenager. Just trying to add perspective.

In the Issy Highlands we have many bear sightings every summer and many of our homes back up to the greenbelts and with such small properties, homes are just a mere couple yards from the property lines.
I've personally seen them three times this year. I've never heard of a bear attack here. People will use social media to alert others if there is a bear. I think the main concern are the small pets, not the preschoolers. And honestly, the more at risk are the bears and not the people.

Bear Smart King County Program - Western Wildlife Outreach
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Independent Republic of Ballard
6,853 posts, read 5,323,504 times
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Yes, as long as the preschooler is within earshot, as opposed to within sight at all ties, I don't think there's reason to fear. Perhaps, just to allay your own irrational fears, you could create a smaller enclosure (deck/patio, playset, and garden) to keep the kid from wandering too far, rather than erecting a wall (with moat?) to surround the whole property.
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Rochester, WA
6,566 posts, read 3,715,937 times
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I live in a fairly rural area - not in your neck of the woods... but the woods may be similar.

I'm actually in the South Sound, South of Olympia, and our place borders a couple thousand acres of timber land on one side, but we're within a mile of areas that are quite residential with homes, small yards, and families with kids. We have a wildlife camera, and frequently see lots of wildlife. We've photographed cougar, bears, and coyotes, all recently this summer... (pics posted here: Wildlife Camera pictures! What's in your back yard? :-))

I say all this to let you know that I understand the concern, and it may well be justified. We do though, have a number of vulnerable critters ourselves, goats, chickens, sheep, horses, who are out all day every day less than a hundred yards from where those pictures were taken. And we have not had a problem her ...yet.

As a precaution, I would recommend good fencing, a big dog who is often out in the yard, lights and activity. Most of these animals are shy, and as long as the supply of other food is good, you should not have a problem with them. But I would definitely be more concerned at night with the little ones, and the small pooches, than during the day.

And get a camera and point it out there, so you know what's out there when you're not looking. If nothing else, it's really interesting!
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:41 PM
 
Location: The Emerald City
1,498 posts, read 4,514,420 times
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I see lots of sign's saying, "Bears spotted in the area". Never saw one in person though. I hear coyotes all the time at night. I walk at nite from time to time on trails and never encountered anything scary.
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