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Golfer teed off by encounter with cougar

"Bill Hurley can be excused if he played something less than the ideal round of golf Tuesday morning. Just as the Port Orchard man prepared to take his turn on Trophy Lake Golf and Casting’s first tee, he was distracted by the sight of a cougar less than 40 feet from where he stood.“He was walking along the road, and when a car came by he kind of crouched down in a ditch,” Hurley said. “When the car was gone, he got up and walked into the woods.”Hurley said he reported the incident to the Trophy Lake groundskeeper, who told him there had been a similar cougar sighting at the course in August.“You’d think they might have mentioned that,” Hurley said. “What was I supposed to do if it attacked--defend myself with a 2 iron?”Hurley described the cougar as a full-grown adult male. “A beautiful animal, maybe five feet long. A real big boy,” Hurley said. “I was just really glad he was heading in the other direction.”The golf course is on Southwest Lake Flora Road, southwest of Port Orchard.“In September and October, we get a lot of cougar sightings,” said Isabel Van Vladricken of the sate Department of Fish and Wildlife. “This is a little late in the season, but not unusual.”Van Vladricken said young cougars born in the spring are heading off on their own for the first time in the fall, and they frequently wander into populated areas. Adult cougars generally range from 48 to 52 inches in length, meaning the Trophy Lake cougar is probably not a youngster.“It could be the same animal someone saw in August, or maybe not,” Van Vladricken said. “There’s a lot more of them out there than you might realize.”"

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