A neighbor's horse was killed last night. Signs point to a cougar. Normally a cougar wouldn't attack a full-grown horse, especially with the spring crop of young calves to choose from, but the evidence on the horse's body and in the area where the horse was found point to a surprise encounter in a gully. The horse panicked and fled into a barbed wire fence and thus set off the cat's hunting instinct. What followed was a battle that left the horse dead and mutilated and partially eaten.
Another neighbor with a trackhoe dug a deep hole and buried the horse. The horse's owners are traumatized, of course, as much by the gruesome way in which the horse died as in the actual loss of the animal.
All children in the neighborhood have been instructed to stay close to home and not go wandering in the woods or even to our pond. I locked Matilda, our Jersey cow, in the milking pen for the night, but unfortunately we don't have a barn big enough for our Dexter cattle to be locked in (it's one thing to tuck themselves into the barn to escape bad weather; it's another thing to lock three adult and two juvenile animals in the barn with no means of escape). We have a loaded shotgun by the door and about six flashlights nearby, as well as both our revolvers. All other livestock owners in our neighborhood are taking similar precautions.
Country living. You take the good with the bad.