The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 8 - 10/21/99
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
G&F wants help tracking big cat down.
by Rob Shaul
Pinedale's resident mountain lion was spotted again this week and the Game & Fish is asking for help in capturing the big cat.
The lion was seen early Monday morning patrolling up on the hill near the Pinedale cemetery, reports Game Warden Dennis Almquist. The lion crossed the road and headed toward the Faler's parking lot. A young kid saw it fighting with a house cat, and reportedly shot it with a BB gun, running it off, says Mr. Almquist, who responded to the call with Town of Pinedale Animal Control Officer Julie Early.
Dennis believes the cat is a young lion because the house cat was able to hold it off for some time. As reported in last week's paper, the lion has been sighted in and near Pinedale several times in the last few weeks and apparently is not just passing through the area. Due to this fact, the Game & Fish is making efforts to capture and remove the animal, says biologist Doug McWhirter. However, capturing a mountain lion this time of year is difficult.
Lions tend to feed only on their own fresh kills, so baiting is not effective in capturing the animals, says Mr. McWhirter. Trapping methods that work well with bears won't work with lions.
The most effective technique for capturing lions involves the use of hounds, which will follow a scent trail and eventually tree the cat. However, the best conditions are found following a fresh snow, which we have had very little of lately. This is where help from the public is requested. "If we can get the information immediately following a sighting, we may have a chance to put a dog on the scent trail and have some luck treeing this cat," says Mr. Almquist.
Even this approach has its difficulties, says Mr. McWhirter, as hounds running loose could encounter problems with traffic and roadways, or perhaps tree every house cat they run across. To deal with these problems, the dogs will have to be leashed, which decreases their ability to pressure the lion.
Regardless, the G&F feel it necessary to attempt to capture this lion. Mr. Almquist advises that "everyone should take precautions, especially with small children." He continues that while the lion is not a major threat, and people shouldn't get overly alarmed, the G&F "wants to get it out of here as soon as possible."
If residents do sight the lion, the G&F asks that they call one of these numbers as soon as possible: Pinedale G&F office - 367-4353; Dennis Almquist - 367-2470; Duke Early - 367-4704; Doug McWhirter - 367-2710; Sheriff's Office - 367-4378; State Agency Law Enforcement Communication System - 1-800-442-2767.
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