'Monster' cougar tagged in Washington may be state's largest

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington state wildlife biologists have caught and tagged a 197-pound cougar.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the biologists tagged the massive cat on Monday north of Chewelah.

State carnivore research scientist Brian Kertson called the cat a monster. He said it's so muscular that the first tranquilizer dart he shot at it popped out as the cat flexed.

Kertson says it's the largest cougar caught in Washington state — as far as he knows. Bart George, a wildlife biologist for the Kalispel Tribe, said the cougar was eating mostly elk.

The cougar was released after it was tagged.

It was captured as part of a predator/prey study. Kertson has captured 20 cougars and collared 16 since December 2016.

On average, tom cougars weigh between 150 and 155 pounds.