Cowichan Lake man captures rare cougar vs. wolf battle

It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride for Cowichan Lake’s Rod Mizak since he posted photos of a fight between a cougar and a wolf.

He and some friends were driving the backroads towards the San Juan area at 3 a.m. on May 21 when they came across a desperate encounter in the middle of the roadway.

“Yes, that’s where we came upon it, right in the centre. It was right there,” Mizak said.

“One of my friends said it looks like a couple of coyotes but I said no way, that’s a wolf and a cougar.

“All we had was dusty headlights to see. And actually, it was close to the new moon, too, so it was really dark.”

The friends stayed in their GMC Tracker to watch.

“We stayed in the vehicle. I just filmed it from there,” he said.

Asked if he was concerned that the two animals would stop fighting and attack the vehicle, Mizak said it was obvious to his experienced eyes that the two predators were only interested in each other.

“They knew we were there, no ifs, ands, or buts about it, but they couldn’t care less if we were there,” he said.

Mizak said he didn’t notice at the time, if there was anything else in the area, like some other kill, that could have caused the fight.

“I’m pretty backwoodsy and I could go back and there still would be traces of the whole scene, how it went down. I could find that out,” he said, adding that the area in question is “quite a well-known deer trail.”

They watched as the grim fight continued.

“It’s kind of hard to tell how long it lasted but I’d guesstimate 10 minutes. It could have possibly just started because of the positions they were in. The wolf was on top, the cougar was on the bottom and they had each other by the cheek,” Mizak said.

The night would have been very still. What kinds of sounds were they making?

“No sounds. They weren’t growling or anything,” he said.

So, no extra energy expended doing anything else but keeping themselves alive?

“That’s right. Muscle on muscle. There was no gnashing or thrashing. The cougar wasn’t kicking. It just had the wolf as close as possible. The wolf had the cougar by the side of the face, holding it down to the ground.”

The desperate struggle ended in an instant, though, as death suddenly went airborne.

“When that cougar pounced, it was just like when you see on National Geographic when they jump up and they hit the hole. Well, this cougar just leapt and hit the wolf with such accuracy, I was stunned.

“It jumped six, eight feet in the air and maybe 15-20 feet in distance. It was unbelievable.”

Mizak said the response to his photos has been astonishing.

“I’ve been overwhelmed.

People have been contacting me from all over. I have been hit from three continents: the UK, Japan, the United States, with people wanting to know more.”

Mizak stands to profit from his unique encounter, having signed over rights to the video and images to a British media content provider.