Wildlife Encounters Spike During Summer Months

As a Seattle personal injury lawyer, I often write about safety issues such as car accidents, distracted driving, crib safety and helmet laws.  However, I came across an interesting news article, that sheds light on a different kind of personal injury: wildlife encounters.  During the summer months, the increased activity of wildlife actually creates a road hazard for drivers.  In fact, just last week a small bear cub was struck by a car traveling along Highway 104.  Not long before that happened, a car crashed into a deer on Highway 16 in Ollala.  The accident left the woman in the car with critical injuries.

In the North Kitsap Area, cougar sightings have caused a stir among residents.  “It’s the time of year people are out more.  The cougars are always out. Every year around this time we start to get a lot more calls than normal,” says State Patrol Trooper Kirsta Hedstrom.  While suffering a personal injury as a result of a cougar attack is rare, it’s something to watch out for during the summer months when yearlings are out and about.  Fish and Wildlife officers offer this advice to avoid a confrontation with a bear or cougar.

  • Don’t leave your children unsupervised.
  • Keep your bushes and hedges cropped so animals won’t hide behind them.
  • Don’t plant vegetation that deer will eat.
  • Feed your domestic animals inside and don’t leave their food bowls outside.
  • Don’t leave food out for wild animals and use a garbage can with a tight fitting lid.
  • Keep outdoor livestock like chickens in secured pens.
  • Close off open areas underneath a porch or deck which could be used as a hiding place for a wild animal.

If you do encounter a wild animal like a cougar, do not run away.  Face the animal, make yourself look as big as possible and speak firmly while slowly backing away.