A Campbell River, B.C., man is still in disbelief after a pair of cougars stalked him and his dog Thursday.
Mike Germunstad was riding his all-terrain vehicle along the back roads of Vancouver Island’s Lower Quinsam Lake and cleaning up garbage left by backwoods revellers with his dog Shorty by his side.
He was picking up cans near an old, dilapidated cabin, when he saw a terrifying sight: two big cats creeping up on him and Shorty, blocking their only path out of the area.
“I thought, ‘I’m in trouble here,’ ” Germunstad recounted. “It was a cougar and then the second one came right up behind it.”
Germunstad recorded the encounter on a GoPro camera.
At first he and Shorty had some distance between the animals — but then the pooch started getting curious.
After a few minutes, one of the cougars attacked.
Watch as the cougar encounter unfolds:
“I grabbed Shorty by the scruff of the neck just in time,” Germunstad said.
“I lifted him straight up over my head and the cougar actually slammed into my leg.”
After the initial melee, a 15-minute standoff followed where the cats blocked Germunstad and Shorty’s path out. Then, Germunstad said, the predators slunk off. He jumped into his ATV and sped off with Shorty.
“It could have been really ugly.”
Germunstad called conservation officers who posted signs in the area warning of the cougars.
But Germunstad has since been back and found more discarded cans.
That tells him people aren’t getting the message about the dangers in the backwoods.
He worries further encounters could endanger people and cougars.
“I don’t want to see anything happen to those animals,” he said. “We’re out here in their neighbourhood. It’s their home.”
CBC News reached out to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service for comment on this story, but did not immediately hear back.