From the August 2003 Idaho Observer:

Cougar carnage at the Promised Land Ranch

“Am I doing something wrong?”

by Joel Kretz

Good afternoon this is Joel Kretz from the Okanogan Farm Bureau. I've got a confession to make. After five years of nearly continual cougar attacks on my livestock and pets, I came to the conclusion that perhaps I need to take a hard look at my management practices.

Am I doing something wrong? Is the cougar carnage my fault?

After researching Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife's cougar information, I have come to the painful conclusion that yes, it is my fault, I am guilty. And if you are having cougar attacks, you too, are guilty.

In examining the causes of cougar problems the deptartment points out the error of my ways. They tell us, “Not only are people moving into dangerous animal habitat, they are planting crops and gardens that attract elk and deer, the natural prey of cougars. Moreover, they are making human settlements more attractive to predators by raising farm animals, allowing pets to run freely and leaving garbage and pet food uncovered.”

They point out that, “Unrestrained livestock and pets” are a root cause of cougar problems.

Guess it's time for me to come clean, I have committed a number of these offenses. I admit to having planted crops and gardens and I have been known to raise farm animals. I am guilty of owning “unrestrained livestock and pets” and have even left the pet food uncovered on occasion.

In my defense I would like to point out that the lions aren't eating the pet food, they are eating the pets, but I know now that's clearly my fault, and I will try to mend my ways. No more crops or gardens on this ranch, no sir!

And I am negotiating with the county to purchase and move the Agriplex to Bodie Mountain so I can properly “restrain” my cows and horses. I can feed them hay year round, purchased from a farm outside cougar territory where “crops” are still allowed to be grown. The dogs and cats will be moving inside the house and the pet food will be stored in a concrete bunker. Security will be provided by guards specially trained to “look big” in the event of a cougar attack.

I pledge to spare no expense to make the lions feel comfortable on this ranch. The only thing I know to do now is come clean, admit my sins, change my wicked ways and plead for mercy. I am hoping to be sentenced to time served. Five years in Purgatory counts for something, don't it?


Joel Kretz is president of the Okanogan county chapter of the Washington Farm Bureau where his leadership has helped to spare forest land private property owners throughout his state from being damaged by the ill-conceived and invasive Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan (The Idaho Observer, May, 2002).

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