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Richard Mackie

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This tape is part of the Salt Spring Island Historical Society Collection and comprises an address to its members, entitled ‘Cougars’.
Mr. Mackie outlines the role of the cougar in the history of Vancouver Island.

Accession Number Interviewer Salt Spring Island Historical Society address
Date March 13, 1990 Location
Media tape Audio CD mp3
ID 61 Topic




Unknown Speaker 0:23
This, this casting intrigued by a cougar hound sorry by a by a government biologist. And they're going to shoot it with a tranquilizer in order to take it off and

Unknown Speaker 0:38
put it out of a settled area. But the Cougar in the past weren't quite as lucky as this because it survived for a long time, Cougar were shot

Unknown Speaker 1:02
by people, by farmers. But I don't want to talk about the biology of Cougar. I want to talk about the history, their history. And I want to talk about our response to them. And I also want to talk about Vancouver Island seeing these animals as a reflection of settlement of our settlement of this this part of the world sorry, back oh, there Oh, that's good. Yeah, that's true. Exactly like a light on the back. No, no, that's fine. That's good. I didn't see that. But everyone has a cougar story. I'm sure that

Unknown Speaker 1:57
everywhere I go on, on Vancouver Island, I meet people who have something to say about Cougars

Unknown Speaker 2:03
Cougar. I'm sure that many people here could talk about stories as well. Best Story I've heard put your justification story here this one. This was a comes from Tofino where Jacob iron deficient

Unknown Speaker 2:30
type of sound and he fishes he thought he saw a dog swimming as a dog so into the water so he went over to it and and it tried to claim quote, but he spent 10 minutes hitting it with the crank before the coder would leave. They're determined creatures

Unknown Speaker 3:08
focus I want you to imagine Vancouver Island 150 years ago, 200 years ago before before any logging have taken place before any white settlement. That's a painting by Emily Carr.

Unknown Speaker 3:34
As is this

Unknown Speaker 3:43
the whole island was inhabited by COVID. At that time, this was their habitat. They they lived in the dense forest. They preyed on deer and rabbits and other small mammals. And at that point, there were only at that time, the Indians only looked around the edge of the aisle. They didn't do that in the interior, although they had free trails. Prehistoric trails there was one that went from, from Berkeley sound across to qualicum. And there was one that went from Fort Rupert on the north end of the island from from Kochi, these are so so the Indians didn't actually live on the coast as much as we, as we think they did. They actually went into the interior. And as they went in to the interior they met And so we got Cougar in Indian myth

Unknown Speaker 5:04
Indian mythology that woman on the figure on the right is is is known as summit she's also she also goes by the name as as the wild woman of the woods

Unknown Speaker 5:27
and she's also called cannibal women this is an Emily therapy and it's actually accidentally carved out a dynamic poses that's not this is a village up to he painted the wrong figure that you can see she's putting the old cat size in the bush in the background because she thought it was and this thing this this is a this this this this figure in the boat in Indian mythology although it's not stated that obviously this is this is a representation you see she's got a family cars that are the kind of cat looking face

Unknown Speaker 6:28
but there's no there's no cooler cooler I don't think there's not like they're frog

Unknown Speaker 6:47
and in myth in Indian mythology this this figure this character was supposed to be children parents would say they would tell their small children that story designer story don't go into the woods alone where or

Unknown Speaker 7:10
get you and that's very interesting because because all the cases in North America where a cougar

Unknown Speaker 7:26
kill people the children and families like the Cougar has mistaken the child trade creature so there there's a continuity and

Unknown Speaker 7:51
that's the same catalyst for Prince George but it wasn't just but it's not just a cat that may look like a cat going about its own business. That's what it thinks but unfortunately people from it not just Indians but we ourselves have have used have have interpreted the cat in Ireland we've made it part of our theology we've done is we've got the we put a bounty on for 100 years which meant people people hunted Daniel Smith, Cougar Jones Cougar Annie which is nice for us I don't suppose it's very nice. It was nice for the Cougar

Unknown Speaker 9:02
This is a is is is a an illustration from a book by by Douglas Cole and Maria Pippin. It's It's amazing. It's an 18th century explorer that sound

Unknown Speaker 9:22
these these early these first non Indian explorers met they heard about this. They didn't call him Captain Vancouver so James Stewart, who was who was held captive by the NACA

Unknown Speaker 9:49
display described a species of large Wildcat or tiger gas. But these these lands, these people who have came by See, didn't really go on. They didn't get. So they didn't know they didn't get a chance to encounter the Cougars.

Unknown Speaker 10:19
The people who did encounter the Cougar were the were the perpetrators. These big companies people. That is sport Victoria. That's the Hudson's Bay Company flag. It's not the Stars and Stripes that's looking from the Inner Harbor onto towards work Street. It's a painting by by an American named Alden, Captain Alden, who was with an American ship.

Unknown Speaker 10:45
From from the mid 1840s. These these perpetrators came first things they were mainly mainly fever but an average of two to Kuiper belts made their way were traded and made their way to England.

Unknown Speaker 11:15
The odd cat with the OCT was shot and traded to the company in Chinook jargon, which was the Hudson's Bay Company language to the Cougar was known as highest plus plus highest because plus we know that you can figure that

Unknown Speaker 11:49
out another view port Victoria that later on there were four posts on sport Victoria, there was an island and they all they all serve they all from each place exploration period the island in the 1840s 50s that's a little bit later that's that's Victoria in 1860s by an artist by Michael pine

Unknown Speaker 12:38
I can guarantee you haven't seen that before, depending on the world friend's house in a coma for Rupert, up on the hill the Indian village report rumored on the on the front front

Unknown Speaker 12:59
that's for Rupert again after the stockades have been taken down with Henry aren't sitting there with his half Timberwolf daughter

Unknown Speaker 13:24
he's and that's Nanaimo. Do these posts where we're where the Cougar were traded by from Indians and then came to these places was sent to England. And this man, the man on the left man here is that there was a big company clerk. And in 1850, he led an expedition across the grounds on an Indian Trail from from qualicum. On the first night out, it just arrived from Scotland on the first night out, he he was camped at a at the Nelson qualicum. River. And there he he found when he arrived that the village had been had had recently been some major Indians and the whole of the town have been killed. But so he kept nearby sort of awful. He kept nearby in the woods in the woods and at night he heard the scream of Cougars of a cougar. I've never heard it, but apparently it's a distinctive sound.

Unknown Speaker 15:02
But but it didn't really stop him he went ahead and as you can see it turned out all right but everywhere you look in the records from from the from the frigerator you find the references that Everywhere you look

Unknown Speaker 15:26
you can pick up an old newspaper without without reading stories without hearing about about a cougar handsome Cougar straying into into into white set into non Indian settlements and what really started it was logging what logging did was it

Unknown Speaker 15:52
it interfered with with Cooper habits. Fact they think that even though there are more pooter

Unknown Speaker 15:59
than there were before before, the reason for that is to cut down the big trees say the green growth underneath philosophy and that provides more food for deer and deer the principle food of a cougar so the deer population went up and so did the Cougar population. And then loggers made settlements up in the mountains. And there was a Friday when they when they found all these Cougar flags it's amazing around but in fact, they had created them. This is from the Department of Agriculture report from the year from 1900 and it shows land that could even be that could conceivably basically Saltspring island because that's a little bit later on. There's more more loggers making Cougar habitat in the world nice and more. The I found a figure that shows that that that between that in the in the whole decade of the 360 million board feet of lumber site aging by the 1930s 25 affiliates for 75. And I don't know what they cut into making 80 But it must mean so it's a massive assault on the island on the on the Cougar habitat.

Unknown Speaker 18:01
And what happened in return was that a bounty with the government put it to put a bounty on the nation 64 of Kindle and eventually went up to $40 You had to bring the years of the Coover to the to the government agent

Unknown Speaker 18:29
and that's what they were around the coastline. That's what they were doing. They were making agriculture an agricultural landscape.

Unknown Speaker 18:41
They were of course this is supposed to be Salzburg I don't know if anyone identifies it, but it's it's from the Department of Agriculture.

Unknown Speaker 18:55
Maybe someone can identify that. But they bring sheep farmers bring your livestock bringing sheep and then of course Cougar come down from the hillsides and they they see these wonderful sheep and cotton more trouble bounty went up

Unknown Speaker 19:29
please put this input because it's a nice picture really that the man on the right is Jack fan and the first director of the Provincial Museum. And the man on the left is Albert Maynard, and they're Cougar hunters. So this was the competition with Cooper had their deer hunter wheelies a deer. Here we have some competition

Unknown Speaker 19:56
that's a fake background. So with increased logging the the incidence of Cougar human interaction increased here's this is from an 8090 publication showing 200 hours of work and this is a it's very out of date map 1983 But

Unknown Speaker 20:35
I've since found a lot more there's add a month for Cook County Carruthers came from India where their parents was in British India a lot of these cooker hundreds or were were English

Unknown Speaker 21:07
came from English communities on the island and a few of them even had had had Fox on in the background

Unknown Speaker 21:22
these This is Gordon head Sorry cadboro Bay it says that's a cougar killed in 99 and these people thought they didn't quite know how to carry it

Unknown Speaker 21:37
see what they've done they put it strung it up I haven't seen any other photos like that quite like this manual recognize

Unknown Speaker 21:56
his name as well as stark I took this either from the from from the Hamilton book or from 20 He was this man was born in born in Kentucky or Mississippian came at the age of two with his parents to Salzburg and became a quite a well known Cougar Hunter on the island apparently he he said that the Cougar like like spring lamb more than that

Unknown Speaker 22:49
got this one from one of the same from the Hamilton or the 20 people saying that they're supposed to be a resident Cougar population

Unknown Speaker 23:06
they swim from they did so that's where they come from so they're not well that's good to know

Unknown Speaker 23:22

Unknown Speaker 23:28
these are our members of the Garner family from one of the same books and the Atkinson boys sorry increment increment boys Fulford higher voltage battery

Unknown Speaker 23:58
and they may not have been I don't suppose that they were but it just shows the people who are in the firemen wanted to keep the predators away from their

Unknown Speaker 24:13
their crops. That's okay. This wasn't just a male sport. As you can see this activity this woman is her name is Patty Patty Colvin and this is from the cover of a recent

Unknown Speaker 24:34
book memories never bought through the couch and valley. She was born

Unknown Speaker 24:42
in 1889. I don't know the history behind this creature. The death of this was the pictures of it all. In fact, every local history book has a has a picture like this every book on the coast of DC

Unknown Speaker 25:06
I think the reason why there were there were so many women involved in this activity is that they were especially before the First World War, there was a great deal of settlement in remote areas like the West

Unknown Speaker 25:35
and and the these women also have learned how to use it, especially if they had children and their husbands were away at work. Working somewhere they had to move and they have a cougar turned up on the veranda they had failed to protect themselves. This woman here is a Charlotte Mason from from from Cedar Cottage. Mile eight West Coast drill. That was her address. She had English rock gardens. She also had goats. This Cougar was killing her coat and this is from a book by Chris

Unknown Speaker 26:36
and she this this woman is is Cooper Annie from both bases. And she's probably the most famous Cougar Hunter ever. Although he only killed around 100 Some people killed 1800 15. She died in 1985 at the age of 97. Her death was reported on CBC News. And it was the only time that Vancouver Island, CBC News and maybe even British Columbia. Sorry. She lived in a boat basin north of Tofino. She was born in in England. And she she was she came from a privileged background. But she married a man who was a drunk although he was the son of the fish

Unknown Speaker 28:01
and they came to Canada and they settled I think on Vargas and then he died. And she married those legends about her I don't know how true any of these are, but she died and he died and she married again. Every time she remarried she very old husband but she grew up with flowers

Unknown Speaker 28:41
so is if you want we're going to tell it if you're going to write her biography you'd have to call it from Belgravia to both

Unknown Speaker 28:48
bases. Well, she's most famous because well, good question. I guess because she, she was people interviewed or people knew about her. The mokwena went up and down the west coast of the island. The ship Yes. The shipping equipment and it took tourists I think it was on the regular stop

Unknown Speaker 29:27
and they bought flowers from people wrote stories about there is another Cougar. Cougar Smith. Coming up is also very well known

Unknown Speaker 29:51
that character, I'm going to leave you guessing for a minute as to who he is. He's a you can see my slides. The most famous Cougar attack that ever happened was in 1960s a couch with two children. Tony fire and Dorian Ashburnham were walking and they and a cougar stalked them for 30 minutes.

Unknown Speaker 30:21
It turns out it was an old blind it decided they were worth investigating and after half an hour the Cougar jumped Tony and Doreen picked up a branch or something and hit the gas Bang was preacher prevented it from from Syria seriously injuring their cousin and in then the Cougar was shot by a parent who is this man? This is Henry today because this was seen as as a case of heroine

Unknown Speaker 31:29
she one story won the the Albert medal was getting the Albert medal for splendors down to the fighting

Unknown Speaker 31:46
and the head of the Cougar ID apparently is mounted in Queen Margaret school and authorial and still as the story made they the Nike 26 girls own annual

Unknown Speaker 32:07
is a true

Unknown Speaker 32:19
story right

Unknown Speaker 32:30
this man is called Jim doer. And he killed 1600 Cougar 18 He holds the record. He was a government Cougar hunter.

Unknown Speaker 32:44
He was born in Scotland in 94. He was he operated in the central island area and his family is still around where the Percy Doer was practical

Unknown Speaker 33:07
this man is here. This this unassuming looking man Cougar Annie are are the two most two best known. Known Cooper hundreds this man named Cecil Smith. He came from from Comox he was born in England like so many of the rest of them. I suppose many people who were born and he came to Canada and his his name was Cecil his first name. He hunted Cougar from eat killed. He killed only 900 cats. But he hunted between the 1890s and the 1950s. And it was this man who who? Who was used as the model by Roderick Haig Brown in his book cancer.

Unknown Speaker 34:08
I forget the name of the character now but take Brown went hunting with him fictionalize the hunt and wrote a book about it was one of his first books.

Unknown Speaker 34:24
And it was a hunting way before a brown became a conservationist making 30 He does not also have Cougar Smith. Also hunted with this man. Hamilton Lang Lang was wizard was a writer and he wrote stories and I forget the other titles. You They they would go off for four or five days with with Smith's with a bit of food up into the mountains and they would get on there in the search Cougar Lange was also a photographer and took pictures of the entire series of Cougar pictures this that's that's Cougar Smith there on the log changing thoughts and there's one of those towns that would be that might be Campbell lake or somewhere it looks like up and behind almost

Unknown Speaker 35:57
that's the shack where they sort of base camp they use it Smith was his break. Apparently that is that that's $120 worth $20 $40 For Coover it didn't matter if they were they were covered

Unknown Speaker 36:40
but things changed in the in 1957 the bounty was taken off the Cougar for I think partly because people were beginning to think that it was a bit excessive

Unknown Speaker 37:13
but they also it occurred to to the to the government and if they classified Cougar games that are not abandoned.

Unknown Speaker 37:27
Attract attract hunters they have to issue a permit purchase so they could get they got money instead of hanging it out. So the days of Cougar hunting ended quite abruptly there were no longer people called the Cougar lizard

Unknown Speaker 37:59
although the Cougar continues to be a mess, but this these people here are Lynn and Dave Hancock. This is an illustration from Lynn Hancock's book I love love affair with a cougar from 1978. And they found they got hold of this was Cougar I think for the logger and brought it up and then Dave Hancock was on a lecture tour with with a cougar killed and that led to the breakup of their marriage. She was very attached with a cat so she she wrote a book about a love affair because she loves his cat

Unknown Speaker 39:08
now when a cougar scene spotted a cougar hunters sent in but it's a cougar, a cougar hunter with a with a tranquilizer. This man is Danly from the Nymo he's a government credit three officer something and he back cougar is alive and which probably accounts for the expression on Dan Lee's face. But it's been drugged and he's going to take it off into the into some remote place where to release it. This is from an illustration from an article by Bruce Obie at Western wildlife he was The only official Cougar Hunter on Vancouver Island time and that that's the same Coover from the first slide he's been from this is Prince George again so you have to forgive forgive me for that but that cat that could have been vandalized in the tree and fell you know it's it's helped us so these two government biologists have to climb up and rescue

Unknown Speaker 40:40
I don't know that's a big that's an enormous

Unknown Speaker 40:51
and that's the same the same cover again later it's been in bandit or something

Unknown Speaker 41:08
so you can see that the cat the cougar is still with us. They still there it's only our perception

Unknown Speaker 41:28
that's really all I have to say. Thank you