The cougar must have weighed nearly 200 pounds. It was bloated after its binge on a horse and later a deer when the Burstroms finally caught up with it in Tete-Jaune.
The cougar had taken down an older and trusted gelding, Lucky, belonging to Ed Burstrom’s parents Alf and June Burstrom sometime late on Christmas Day. They discovered the horse was missing on Boxing Day. After a brief search, Ed Burstrom discovered the carcass half a kilometre away from the herd.
“It had fought an animal or animals for about 200 metres,” Ed says.
The neck and head had been licked and had frozen. There were several large punctures in the horse’s neck, and the side was torn open completely, guts spilling out and part of the ribcage missing.
The horse weighed 1,000 pounds and fought hard for its life, Ed says.
The backend of another horse was badly torn-up as well, likely the same night that Lucky was killed.
Just a few days later a deer was killed not 100 metres away from the kill site of the horse. Ed says 90 per cent of the carcass had been consumed in one night.
Michelle Burstrom says the children were learning to ride the white gelding and he was very trusting.
“He was the only one we could trust with everybody,” she says.
They’ve never had an attack like this before in the 20 some years June and Alf have lived at their current residence.
“This one was a big healthy cat in its prime,” Michelle says. “It was beautiful.”
“It’s a horrible thing to put it down,” Ed says.
They said they watched a bear eat alfalfa near their property all August and September, but since it didn’t bother them, they left it alone and it eventually went away.
The threat that the cougar would continue to kill their livestock was part of their concern. For instance, they have calves about to be born.
“If we didn’t take this cougar’s life we wouldn’t be acting responsibly towards our neighbours,” Michelle says.