A cougar was allegedly spotted devouring a turkey on a Vernon resident’s property Friday morning. (WildSafe BC photo)

Cougar allegedly kills turkey in Okanagan residents’ backyard

Incident allegedly took place at property on Harbour Heights Road in Okanagan Landing

A Vernon couple reportedly witnessed a cougar devour a wild turkey from their deck on Friday morning.

Dave Henry, a resident living in Harbour Heights near the Vernon Yacht Club, posted news of the sighting in the Vernon Rant and Rave Facebook page around 10:00 a.m.

Henry’s wife, Jill, was shovelling the deck when a commotion suddenly broke out in her back yard.

“We get wild turkeys every day and there was a whole bunch of them,” she explained. “All of a sudden all the turkeys just flew through the air, higher than I’ve ever seen them fly, and they went to the tops of the really tall pine trees.”

Jill ran inside, and from her window she could see a cougar in her back yard with a bird in its mouth.

“He was huge,” said Jill. “I think it was a male because he was so big … this thing was five or six feet long.”

Jill said she screamed to her husband, who was shovelling the driveway on the other side of the house, to get inside.

“It was crazy,” she said. “I’m still shaken.”

The Henry’s think the cougar was likely hiding in a tree beside their house, stalking the turkeys or the deer that are often in their yard. For Jill, it’s a chilling thought.

“I’m thinking ‘oh my god, that thing’s up in the tree and I’m out on the deck, and that’ tree’s over the deck.,’” she said.

The Henrys have sent out an email to an organizer of a Neighbourhood Watch in the area, and expect a notice to be sent around soon.

The local Conservation Officer Service said it is aware of the incident.

“We have received reports of Cougar sightings on trail cameras and security cameras in this area,” said Vernon Conservation Officer Tanner Beck in an email.

“At this time the Cougar is behaving naturally and targeting natural prey. Residents should be reminded to secure livestock and or pets during dusk, dawn and night when Cougars are most active.”

If residents do come across the cougar, Beck says it’s best to make the encounter as uncomfortable as possible.

“If the Cougar is sighted it would be beneficial to safely haze it to make the encounter unpleasant for it and keep its fear of humans intact.”

Conservation has also been made aware of a few Black Bear sightings around Coldstream, which are not uncommon during warmer winter temperatures.

Other nearby residents have reported cougar sightings within the last two weeks, supposing it to be the same cougar seen Friday.

“He’s been rolling around everywhere, he stalked our house on Juniper for two days this past week,” wrote Sierra Pippus on Facebook.

READ MORE: Caution urged as bear spotted in several Vernon neighbourhoods

READ MORE: Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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