I had the worst scare of my life last night. I was leaving my home in Belfair for Seattle at about 2:00am. My wife and I are "swing shift people" and I was headed to the city for work. A little background: Our house is on a couple acres that back up to the Tahuya State Forest. We have deer in our yard almost daily and have seen bear and cougar prints from time to time. A large cougar seemed to be hanging around our yard way too much a few years ago. We saw it slinking off silently several times but haven't seen any tracks or scat in at least six months. At least a couple times a year a pack of eight or ten coyotes will come up the drive in the middle of the night, yipping and carrying on, and disappear into the forest behind the house. The middle of last week my wife came face to face with an adult bobcat, about fifteen feet from her in the driveway. It froze and just stared at her for a couple minutes before springing off into the brush. Our driveway is a 600 foot long "S" curved blind strip of tarmac. It's pretty steep at 15 degrees the whole way up, and with a wall of brush on each side. I've got a beefy gate at the bottom and it's always locked whether we're there or not. To give you an idea, each of the two footings contains 2k pounds of concrete and 200 pounds of rebar. It's currently a manual gate and takes some time and effort to open or close, at least a minute either way. OK, back to last night: I'd loaded up my Pathfinder with the stuff that needed to go to Seattle with me. Mrs.510 had been cleaning up some debris in the driveway with a couple flood lights on. She said she was going to water the plants on the deck and then go inside for the night. I gave her a kiss and a hug and headed down the driveway in the noisy 'ol Pathfinder. I stopped about 10 feet short of the gate and re-arranged some crap that was sliding off the passenger's seat. I left the truck running as I got out and closed the door. As I turned to head down to open the gate I thought I heard something up at the house and stopped. I turned my head a little, and over the rumble of my Pathy's rusted out exhaust I heard the most blood-curdling scream ever. My heart stopped. I instantly thought that a bear or cougar was attacking my wife. I paused for about a tenth of a second to decide if it would be faster to run up the driveway or open the gate, flip a U-turn and put the hammer down back up the hill. I have a debilitating spine condition and just walking up the driveway about kills me some times. I said out loud,"F___ it!" and started running up the driveway. I yelled to Mrs.510 several times as I ran but didn't get an answer. My heart sank further. I grabbed my tac light in my left hand and drew my XD45C as I ran up the hill. By 2/3 of the way both of my feet were numb and I had ice-hot daggers running down the backs of both legs but that did not slow me down. When I rounded the bend about 100 feet below the house she finally heard me and yelled back. Thank God she was on the deck and was safe! She was really freaked out. She tried to tell me what had happened but all that came out were stutters. I was still about 75 feet below the house so I started the rest of the way up to her. She finally got out the word "STOP" so I did. She pointed to the back yard and yelled, "C-C-COUGAR!" I yelled back, "Are you OK?" She replied with, "Yes." Whew... The world sped back up and I could hear my heart pounding in my ears now. I stood in the driveway for a few minutes, XD in hand, as we both gathered ourselves back together. When she calmed down she asked if I'd heard 'that'? I said I'd heard her scream and ran up the drive as fast as I could. She said that she hadn't screamed, or even said a word since I got in the truck to leave. WTF???? I asked if she didn't scream, who did? She said the cougar screamed. She couldn't figure out how I'd heard it over the truck as I don't hear very well to begin with. I told her I heard what sounded like an awful scream from her, about five seconds long. As it turns out I had heard the loudest (or maybe lowest-toned) five seconds of a fifteen second shrill scream from a cougar in the back yard, 30 feet from my wife! She had walked up the sidewalk and turned to go up the stairs onto the deck. As she started up the steps she must have startled the big cat and it let out this gigantic scream. She said she spun around and saw a blur of tan with a long, thick tail vanish into the dark behind the garage, screaming on the run. I did a bunch more cougar research on the web today and found a couple cougar scream sound bytes. The only references to screaming I found were mating calls from females in heat. I played the sound bytes over the phone and she said it sounded like the same animal except what she heard sounded both scared and pissed. Things I learned/what to do different if it happens again/how to stop it from happening again: 1) Get back into the truck, shove it into 4 low, and back up hard into the trees/brush/rocks to hammer out a brutal U-turn. Vehicles are pretty good for scaring off wildlife and make excellent portable shelter from attacking animals. 2) Always have the .308 Saiga close at hand in the woods. It's usually in the truck when I travel between houses, this time it wasn't. If this had been a bear attack maybe the .45 would have ended it, maybe not. 3) Get another dog. We had to put our GSD down a few years ago and it nearly killed Mrs.510. She hasn't been "ready" for another dog. I think she might be now. 4) Call the game warden and get a nuisance cougar removal permit. He told me several years ago he'd issue me one if I got a rifle in 30-30 or bigger, my 12 gauge with slugs wasn't good enough?!? Has to be a center fire rifle bigger than .223. I ordered my .308 that week but we never saw the cougar again, and rarely any sign. Three years or so ago I had several long talks with this warden. At his request I called him each time we had a sighting. He told me some stuff to do to help keep cougars away and we've done them all, except for getting another dog. At that time he told me I could shoot it on sight on my own property as long as it didn't turn and leave when it saw me. I'm not one to think that taking out apex predators is generally a good thing to do and cougar attacks on humans are incredibly rare. He convinced me that if it kept hanging around it might completely lose it's fear of humans and it would only be a matter of time before it attacked someone. I'm going to call him this week about that permit. So, what do you guys think? How could I have done better? Given a legal opportunity, would you kill this cougar? Mods: If this should be in a different sub-forum please move it.