Video captured by Campbell River resident Tracy Bruce shows a cougar overhead at Lost Lake on July 20, 2019.

VIDEO: B.C. woman captures up-close encounter with cougar in a tree

Big cat was in a tree overhead when barking dogs alerted Tracy Bruce

A Vancouver Island woman says she’s still feeling the rush after a very close encounter with a cougar recently.

Tracy Bruce was hiking on Saturday evening with her two rescue dogs at Lost Lake, northwest of Campbell River, when the incident took place.

She was squatting down by the water to capture video of some ducks swimming by when her dogs started barking.

Suddenly she realized what they were barking at: a cougar in a tree above her head.

VIDEO: Local man rescues dog from cougars near Campbell River

READ MORE: Mother hailed as hero in Vancouver Island cougar attack

READ MORE: Cougar on Island might have been shot with bow-and-arrow

“It was five feet from me on the first branch,” Bruce said.

She recalled a surge of emotions, including panic, her mind racing as she assessed the situation. The trail was narrow, and the terrain was steep.

“We had very limited options in that moment,” she said.

The barking of her dogs apparently caused the cougar to leap higher up into the tree. She managed to capture a 23-second video and some photos of the animal before slipping away.

Lost Lake is located northwest of Campbell River on Vancouver Island. Image from Google Maps

“We backed away… I was continuing to make myself big and face the cat, and make the escape,” Bruce said. “I had read many times that you never turn your back on a cat.”

She said the encounter was amazing, and she felt “very grateful for having the opportunity to experience that in a positive way.”

“There was no harm, no foul, it was just an amazing opportunity that had a really happy ending,” she said.

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