Of the three large predatory animals, the timber wolf was the greatest menace, the bear a big nuisance, and the cougar only an occasional poacher. Cougars did not usually molest livestock under the close protection of the owner. But if such a thing did happen, a spunky dog could tree the big cat where it could be shot. Cougars, however, did kill a lot of wild game. A cougar needs one elk or deer a week, plus rabbits, mice, and raccoons it may encounter.
A cougar has the ability to sneak up within striking distance of a deer or elk. Apparently man interests him, but does not arouse his predatory appetite. He does not smell good to eat. On rare occasions cougars have killed and eaten humans, but if they considered people their prey, very few of us would be left to know it.
If you were walking through the forests on the western side of the Olympic Peninsula in early days, a place to sleep and meals at the end of each day's journey had to be secured somehow. Corks and Clallam Bay early had what were called hotels. Otherwise all the vast region between the Straits of Juan de Fuca and Grays Harbor was without service for traveler. Of course, when the road came into Quinault that changed the situation south of that river; but the area north was long, roadless, and, except for Forks, hotel-less. Consequently when a stranger arrived and asked to stop, you opened the door, gave him meals and the best bed available. Certain homesteads became known as "stopping places."
Settlers who lived along the brawling river where trails crossed it, were also in duty bound to set the travelers across the stream in a canoe. A man came to such a stream and hollered mightily until someone answered and came across to get him.
While many houses were located on the river bank, our canoe crossing was probably a quarter of a mile from the house. On rainy days it took a real voice to carry that far. But our pack of hounds had keen ears and would soon begin to bark. Whereupon someone would go outside and listen intently for a halloo.
Naturally a traveler tried to get to a homestead at night where the people were sober and clean and where there was a good cook. There were a few white bachelor's establishments that were to be avoided if possible. Occasionally a flood or some other mischance would leave a man marooned in some Indian village, which most white men did not like. The Indians lived almost exclusively on products of the sea, and knew and cared little about preservatives. Whale oil was used freely in their foods, and the whole camp smelled fishy. or, perchance, the wayfarer might find himself foodless in some deserted cabin, or under a leaning tree where there might be a partially dry spot.