It was 3:30 a.m. when Terry Mobberley was shaken out of sleep by a haunting noise.
Something wasn’t quite right in North Qualicum.
“I heard a cat yowl of a volume I’ve never heard before,” Mobberley said last week.
He went to his kitchen door and then heard some more disconcerting sounds.
“I could hear a bunch of running deer and I could also hear a thumping sound.”
Mobberley had suspected by now there was a cougar on his property at the end of Cortes Road near the Little Qualicum River estuary.
With children living nearby and a horse-riding facility, Mobberley didn’t wait long to make some calls to neighbours and authorities.
When the sun rose, Mobberley decided to investigate.
“Certainly I had heightened alert,” he said of his state of mind before and during the walk around his acreage. “And I did put together a 20-gauge shotgun for my little walkabout.”
He found a large deer partially eaten. He, and the conservation officers who got to his place before noon, figured it must have been a large cat because of the size of the deer and the four-foot-high retaining wall over which the deer was carried.
Cougars, like many predators, will cache their kills. This big cat had one meal and Mobberley figures the deer was good for at least a few more.
“We assumed the cougar would be back,” he said. “But we made the decision that the cougar should be just left alone.”
Mobberley said the conservation officers removed the deer carcass. He said he hasn’t heard or seen the cougar since.
“I did a morning walkabout (the next day) and I even let our cat out reluctantly, but it was all quiet.”
UPDATE: Mobberley said the big cat returned on Friday night.
He found another freshy eaten, partially covered deer kill and a partially eaten, large racoon. Conservation officers attended and removed the carcasses.
“Once again, our discussions concluded that the cougar was behaving naturally and that nothing would be served by attempting to capture this particular animal,” Mobberley wrote in an e-mail to The NEWS.
“So, apart from heightened vigilance, my biggest concern remains the health and well-being of our . . . cat Max.”