Sightings of mountain lions are exceptional

Mountain lions have been in the information a large amount this slide and winter season. The media blitz got begun back in mid-October, when a YouTube movie surfaced depicting the bizarre come upon of a Utah gentleman who crossed paths with a feminine cat with cubs on what appeared to be a remote mountain highway.

No one got hurt in the deal, but the conference was much from welcoming as the cougar escorted the male, Kyle Burgess, back down the trail — absent from her younger kinds — with intimidating suits of rage.

Burgess played it sensible in the course of the ordeal. He backed absent slowly and gradually, all the while creating loud noises and trying to make himself appear greater to discourage the cat’s threatening innovations. At 1 position, he picked up a rock and hurled it at the cat, which eventually despatched the animal packing.

By some means, Burgess managed the composure to record the shut come across making use of his cellphone. The 6-minute video clip went viral in shorter purchase, creating a viewing frenzy that at final count had climbed to almost 6.5 million.

City walkabout

The concrete jungles of Dallas and Collin counties are a prolonged way from Utah, but photos and video of a mountain lion gathered on path cameras involving Nov. 22 and Dec. 7 by two citizens in Rowlett and Princeton created a media buzz in excess of wildlife not like any the northeast Texas area has ever seen.

The footage, supported by confirmed tracks and other indicators, lends credence to the concept that mountain lions are exceptionally cellular and in some cases know no boundaries when they choose to go on a walkabout, despite their recluse nature.

Although there is no way to be certain, gurus with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Office imagine the cat sighted in Dallas and Collin counties — about 25 miles apart — is the very same one particular that was shot Dec. 12 by a Hunt County deer hunter, about 25 miles northeast of Princeton.

Texas has its share of mountain lions with the biggest figures identified in the distant Trans-Pecos location of West Texas. The cats also have been documented in parts of the South Texas Plains, the Hill Region and the rugged canyons close to the Panhandle, according to TPWD.

Sightings are from time to time reported in areas of eastern Texas, but only a handful have been confirmed over the yrs.

Trevor Tanner of Destiny was among the the TPWD wildlife experts left scratching their heads soon after path camera footage and tracks confirmed the Rowlett sighting around Lake Ray Hubbard was certainly the serious offer — a first for Dallas County in modern moments.

Tanner was associated in the investigation around Dalrock Highway, wherever a couple’s activity digital camera captured what seemed to be a massive cat strolling by under the go over of darkness.

“I’ve labored for TPWD for nearly 18 a long time, and I simply cannot inform you how numerous phone calls about mountain lion sightings I have experienced in which none of them have turned up any form of favourable proof,” he claimed. “To get the to start with good evidence from along edge of Lake Ray Hubbard in Rowlett kind of left us all wondering, ‘How in the heck did a cat wind up there?’”

The veteran wildlife biologist also evaluated the site in the vicinity of Princeton around two weeks afterwards, exactly where a game camera positioned in a wooded region east of town by a non-public landowner captured a photograph of a mountain lion.

Tanner reported it was not extensive just after he arrived to inspect the web-site that he found possible proof to assist the photograph as the very first confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Collin County in many years.

“We hadn’t absent 30 yards from the truck when I started observing deer fur on the ground, suitable on top rated of the grass,” he said. “I realized correct then that we wanted to begin searching around for a deer carcass that experienced been stashed.”

The research ultimately led to a number of carcass pieces strewn about. There is no way to be selected, but the biologist believes the cat may well have killed and dined on the white-tailed buck right before coyotes assisted them selves to the remains. He mentioned they found a devoured deer shoulder, backbone, rib cage and aspect of a hind leg.

Massive cat shot

The biologist reported Hunt County fell into the blend the subsequent weekend, when a deer hunter on personal assets close to Celeste encountered a mountain lion even though manning a deer blind. Tanner reported the hunter shot the cat, a 160-pound male, at all around 4:30 p.m. The cat was was about 6 to 8 a long time-outdated, Tanner stated.

It didn’t sit effectively with some folks when term circulated that the mountain lion experienced been killed, but it doesn’t alter the reality the accredited hunter was legal in pulling the set off. In Texas, mountain lions are categorized as nongame animals with no closed time or laws that guard them. They are on the identical nongame listing as armadillos, bobcats, coyotes, flying squirrels, frogs, ground squirrels, porcupines, prairie canines, rabbits and freshwater turtles, but considerably a lot more mysterious.

If the trio of sightings in the 3 adjoining counties have been in fact the similar animal, it is only natural to marvel wherever a cat that had turn out to be considerably of an urban legend might have occur from. And the place it may have been headed when it was shot.

Individuals are inquiries that will never ever be answered. Nor will any individual ever know what the large male may perhaps have experienced for dinner through its walkabout journey, but Tanner has a quite good strategy.

It’s uncertain there ended up any horses or cattle on the menu, the biologist stated.

“Mountain lions are opportunistic, but they typically really don’t want to hazard obtaining damage likely soon after a food,” Tanner mentioned. “They have obtained to make a major get rid of just about every seven to 10 days. Their key diet program is white-tailed deer and lesser animals like rabbits or young pigs. They usually aren’t heading to assault an adult horse or cow. A fowl or calf, probably. Smaller livestock like goats and sheep, most definitely. Bobcats do as perfectly.”

Raccoon meal

Raccoons are on the strike record for mountain lions, as properly. My great pal Randy Dearman of Onalaska can vouch for that.

Dearman is previous bass professional who spends much of the slide and wintertime searching for huge bucks in Coahuila, Mexico. His 12,000-acre lease operates for miles together the Rio Grande.

Dearman created an intriguing discovery on one particular of his recreation cameras when he frequented the assets just right after Thanksgiving. The SD card contained more than a dozen illustrations or photos of a pair of mountain lions possessing their way with numerous raccoons that had collected beneath 1 of his corn feeders. The time stamps on the shots point out the Thanksgiving morning feast lasted for extra than three hrs.

“I feel the cats have uncovered to hunt all around the feeders, generally for the deer,” Dearman said. He said they were being right after the raccoons that night time and it seemed like a actually undesirable night time to be a raccoon.

Matt Williams is a freelance writer based mostly in Nacogdoches. He can be attained by e-mail, [email protected].

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