How to kill a Mountain Lion.


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Smoke
March 9, 2004, 07:50 PM
A couple of months ago, the neighbor reported seeing a mountain lion cross the pasture near my house. Said he was going to work 4:30am and saw it cross the fence and head toward my house. I discounted his report because it was early in the morning and dark and this guy is a pharmacist and I think he takes some of the drugs he's supposed to be selling.

Well, last night, around 2:30 in the morning I heard what I thought was a cat scream right outside my window. Then I heard drumming of feet and what sounded like a scuffle. Needless to say I unloaded out of the bed. I looked out all the windows but couldn't see anything. Moon was very bright.

Later this morning when I got up, I found one of my Australian Shepherd was very stove up. His fur was all matted around his neck on both sides. No blood or punctures that I could find, but he had a rough time with something. After scouting the ground I found a cat track. There is no doubt it was a large cat (not a house cat) but I haven't seen enough cougar tracks to say. Could have been a bobcat.

I'm surprised a cat would come this close to the house with dogs around. If it was a mountain lion, why isn't this dog in pieces or gone? Has anyone had any success calling or trapping mountain lions? I need all the tips I can get.

Any other ways to confirm what type of cat this might be?

Smoke

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Baba Louie
March 9, 2004, 07:57 PM
http://lynx.uio.no/catfolk/nsacrl01.htm
I know a lady here in Las Vegas who has a Caracal as a pet. He's gotten out once or twice in the past and she found him wandering around the neighborhood... got to him before a riled up neighbor. Bigger than a pussycat, looks like a cougar, tame and friendly, knows that people mean love and food...

Maybe you got a neighbor with one? Or someone decided to dump their's near your place?

c_yeager
March 9, 2004, 08:02 PM
If you do end up in a position where you feel you need to shoot it i would adise the "shoot, shovel, and shutup" approach. Im not sure how it works in texas. But is WA they frown on killing them without the proper paperwork filed beforehand.

Jack R
March 9, 2004, 08:41 PM
Hope the mutt's get to sleep indoor's till this critter is taking a dirt nap

H&Hhunter
March 9, 2004, 11:31 PM
In Texas a mountain Lion is listed as a non protected varmint. Shoot him. Calling is very iffy on Lions and the success rate is very low. Trapping can be done but I don't know enough about it to suggest anything.

I've got access to a pack of hounds we'd catch that critter for you but you've got to have alot of space to run em it just won't work in the burbs.

A lion track looks alot like a BIG dog track sans any claw marks as they usually walk with the claws retarcted. they are also rounder than a dog and have a tri section main pad almost like a human hand print. A big male will have paws prints about the size of a large mans balled up fist and an average female has paws about the size of a large dog.

The sure fire way to know if it is a lion however is to look for a scratch. A lion will cover it's dung just like a house cat by scratching dirt over the scat pile. if you find one of these scratches and the it looks like it was done with paws that speard out as wide as your fingers it is a lion. If the scratch is small like the size of a dogs paw it's a Bobcat. Coyotes will sometimes scratch too but the difference is pretty obvious from paw prints and shape dogs tend to have longer skinnier paws and the toe nail marks or are clearly seen in conjuction with the paw pad.

generally speaking when a lion takes a dog it's a quick quiet and deadly affair. Unless the cat is a sub adult who doesn't know how to kill effciently yet.

Stand_Watie
March 10, 2004, 02:49 AM
Is the track still visible? If it is and you had a digital picture next to a ruler I could ask one of my neighbors to rule it out being a bobcat/dog/coyote.

Double Naught Spy
March 10, 2004, 06:31 AM
Smoke, mtn lion behavior is such that it is NOT surprising that the animal might venture close to your home and if your dog was in a scrape with it that it isn't dead.

First, mtn lions, like other predators, go where the food is. While they tend to avoid getting close enough to civilization very often, their usual nocturnal endeavors will often go unnoticed when they do. In Bosque County, I am guessing, you are probably not in a high traffic area and there is still plenty of uncultivated land, scrub, oak, and bottomland that would make for good habitat.

Just because mtn. lions are not commonly seen does not mean that approaching homes and dogs is outside their range of activity. No doubt there is some reason for the approach, such as locally available food, even if not on your property, but maybe that your property is between the animal's home and the food supply.

Second, your dog's matted fur isn't necessarily the result of a large cat. If your dog had tussled with a cat, it should be scraped up, clawed. Aside from neck biting, often done to kill and drag prey, a cat will sink its claws in an animal that is fighting. If the cat wasn't trying to eat your dog, then it likely would not be doing the biting of the neck to kill it and your dog would show claw scratches from fighting.

The lack of evidence on the dog seems to be more indicative of another animal at work other than a cat. Keep in mind that other carnivores also go for the neck and many dogs play and wrestle with neck biting each other. When not intending to kill, dogs will neck bite and control another dog. This can be done without bleeding.

In short, I am guessing from your description of the events that because your neighbor saw a large cat and your dog was out of sorts with a hair problem, you went searching for cat tracks and found one. The cat track may be 100% valid, but you have assumed that the cat did the dirty deed. You mentioned nothing about seeing any dog tracks or the tracks of any other animals. You had to have seen dog tracks as you have dogs.

If the cat wanted your dog, assuming the cat was healthy, your dog would be gone now.

Art Eatman
March 10, 2004, 09:19 AM
Another name for "Dog" is "Lion Bait". :) A number of years back, a lion came into a utility room of a rural house north of Study Butte and killed a chained-up dog, tearing it from its collar. And, there are a couple of more recent stories of lions and house dogs. They'll grab house cats, as well, in daylight and in front of a witness, yet! They're sometimes quite brazen.

While a lion will leap down on a deer, that's to knock it to the ground and let the lion get a strangle-hold on the neck. That's why you read about wounds to the head or face when a lion attacks a human; we don't have as long a neck as a deer.

H&H, there's a resident mama lion living on a mountain just south of my house. Her boyfriend, Handsome Stranger, is a big-footed character. When I put my clenched fist palm-down in his footprint, there's an inch more of his footprint all around the outside of my fist. Mama is currently teaching a half-grown how to hunt.

An old rag soaked in bacon grease is definitely an attractant.

Art

H&Hhunter
March 10, 2004, 11:33 AM
Handsome Stranger, is a big-footed character. When I put my clenched fist palm-down in his footprint, there's an inch more of his footprint all around the outside of my fist.

Art,

That sounds like a real good cat.

Smoke
March 10, 2004, 11:50 AM
In Bosque County, I am guessing, you are probably not in a high traffic area and there is still plenty of uncultivated land, scrub, oak, and bottomland that would make for good habitat.

True, I have seen lions here in years past...not at myhouse though. Several lions were killed a few miles north of the ranch about 7-8 years ago. It's very brushy on to my north (neighbors property that reported seeing the cat initially). I don't doubt that a cat is roaming the area, just suprised that one would venture that close to the house.

In short, I am guessing from your description of the events that because your neighbor saw a large cat and your dog was out of sorts with a hair problem, you went searching for cat tracks and found one. ...QUOTE]

That and and the sound like a cat screaming that woke me up initially.

[QUOTE]The cat track may be 100% valid, but you have assumed that the cat did the dirty deed. You mentioned nothing about seeing any dog tracks or the tracks of any other animals. You had to have seen dog tracks as you have dogs.

Yes there were lots of dog tracks around, only one that appeared to be a cat track and it was decidely larger than any of my dogs tracks, though nowhere near as large as the one Art describes.

If the cat wanted your dog, assuming the cat was healthy, your dog would be gone now.

Thats exactly what I thought.

How about this scenario... cat is sneaking up the side of the house. DOg is sneaking up the other side and they meet at my window. Cat screams. Dog shi...uh, is as surprised as the cat. Short scuffle with maybe only some sore muscles and small claw punctures that I can't find. (Have you ever seen the winter coat on an Aussie?) Both leave A.S.A.P?

And judging by the size of the track, it may be a bobcat. I took a picture of the track last night but couldn't get good definition, I'll try again this afternoon (and try to put a tape measure down this time)

I'm having my doubts. But from prints I found on the internet this dang sure looks like a cat track. Stay tuned.

Black92LX
March 10, 2004, 12:59 PM
don't mountain lions work soley on the element of surprise???
i was always told if ever attacked by a mountain lion make as much noise as possible and fight back as hard as you can. once they realize the element of surprise is gone they take off.

i am no expert but you say you are in the burbs. but lets say this cat has been tromping around for a few days even a week maybe. concrete is HELL on sharp claws. say the cat wasn't able to get a good enough grip on your pup the first time and your dog made enough noise and bit the cat a good one the cat may have just him alone. the cat lost the element of surprise and din't feel like sticking around for a fight.

or am i just way off here??

Smoke
March 10, 2004, 02:16 PM
...but you say you are in the burbs.

This ain't the 'burbs, brother.

I tired to get an aerial photo of the area but Terraserver is down. I'll put it up as soon as I can. I'm only three miles from town, but this is not a developed area. There are a few houses within a mile. There are no houses to the north of me for several miles, none to the west and not many to the south.

Smoke

Guns_and_Labs
March 10, 2004, 03:34 PM
Can't add much to the foregoing, except to say that I had a shepherd mix that got into two confirmed fights (I saw one, and tracked the other) with big 'cats while we lived in New Mexico, and didn't have visible damage. There were some claw marks completely covered by the dog's coat, and the 'cat was never able to get a good shot at the dog's neck. It can happen.

Art Eatman
March 10, 2004, 04:37 PM
Black92LX, surprise is a key element for all predators. But, you're correct as to noise. And, stand tall and keep your arms out. Look as large as possible. It is surmised that a couple of the people killed by lions had knelt down to re-tie their shoelaces.

As near as I can tell from the various reports, lions seem to have a sense of "proper size" for prey. A child or a kneeling person seems about the right size; an erect adult human "just ain't quite right". :)

Heck, H&H, I'll see if Handsome Stranger is around, right now. The weather's perfect, with lows around 55 and it's 85 outside, right now. Lotsa moon...You oughta come on down, if he's here. :) It's pretty much a bait and sit deal. (I keep talking, and to heck with you; I'll get ambitious and go check him out for myself...)

:D, Art

H&Hhunter
March 10, 2004, 07:49 PM
Heck, H&H, I'll see if Handsome Stranger is around, right now. The weather's perfect, with lows around 55 and it's 85 outside, right now. Lotsa moon...You oughta come on down, if he's here. It's pretty much a bait and sit deal. (I keep talking, and to heck with you; I'll get ambitious and go check him out for myself...)

Art,

You know that I pride myself on being a gentleman, however, I've been known to shove ladies and kids aside when it comes to taking a shot at a good cat.

I once took a guy out hunting and I saw a cat cross canyon I tried to get his attention but he just wouldn't listen. he later claimed that the muzzle blast had deafened him. He also claims that I shot the cat to get his attention then alerted him to the fact that there was a cat over there.

Something like BOOM BOOM hey look at that cat!!!:)

Tell you what though partner I'd love to came down and give him a try. Sounds like he may be an eight footer if his feet match his body. I know that there are some god awfull big cats down in your oart of the world and my current record is 7'10". I just can't break the old 8 foot mark for myself.:D

Double Naught Spy
March 10, 2004, 08:28 PM
Guns_and_Labs, while I don't doubt a dog can get in a scuffle with a cat and not have much in the way of marks, not with the fur matted around on the dog's neck as Smoke described. Matted fur isn't from a warning nip. That would require some prolonged contact, probably with a goodly amount of saliva. Otherwise in the absence of saliva, the fur is just depressed and then returns to position. I am having trouble imagining a dog being held in the mouth of a mountain lion and not thrashing about about such that either the lion chomps him to death by simpling squeezing, or paws/claws him into submission while maintaining the chomp.

As described, the encounter sounds way too brief to produce the matted fur on the neck. My guess is that there is something else going on here other than the cat.

Smoke, as for moutain lions not being near your house previously, but just to your north, mountain lions can cover many miles in a given night. Arizona data (see http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado/scrd/news/2003/mtlionfaq.htm) has them traveling as much as 25 miles a night with 50-75 square miles as a home range.

4v50 Gary
March 10, 2004, 09:40 PM
Exciting story Smoke. Post a pic please.

What Art says about dogs & mountain lions are true. Up in the Sierra Nevadas, they're all over the place. I was sitting by the campfire with my brother when an ungodly scream pierced the night's darkness. Wot was that? My brother looks at me calmly and said, "Somebody's dog just got it from a cat." We retrieved our rifles and felt a little safer that night.

Art Eatman
March 10, 2004, 09:40 PM
Between doing income tax, working backhoe and doing miscellaneous chores, I ran out of steam, this evening. I'll go down to the south pasture and set out some bait, tomorrow. See if the big-footed guy is around. :)

Art

Larry Ashcraft
March 10, 2004, 09:52 PM
H&H and Art,

We expect some awesome pics from THIS adventure... :D

Kestrel
March 11, 2004, 12:10 AM
Later this morning when I got up, I found one of my Australian Shepherd was very stove up. His fur was all matted around his neck on both sides. No blood or punctures that I could find, but he had a rough time with something.

Smoke,

Is your dog a drinker? He could have been on an all-night drunk. Aussies do have a wild streak.

(Of course, after seeing that cat, maybe he hit the bottle...)

Just kidding. Aussies are one of the very smartest dogs.

I would love to see some pictures of the dead cat, when you find him. Maybe one of you and your dog, next to the cat.

AUadvisor
March 11, 2004, 04:21 AM
First of all, I would recommend getting a real dog. My roomate of my last year in college had an Australian shepard, that thing sucked, it insitsted on drinking water out of the toilet no matter how many times we showed it the water bowl in the kitchen. No doubt it was fairly smart, maybe too smart for its own good. It was scared of any and everything except that damn toilet, somthin must have been mighty special in that thing!!

Kestrel
March 11, 2004, 12:06 PM
AUadviser,

One thing you never do, is criticize a man's woman, a man's gun, OR HIS DOG.

Australian Shepards are great dogs. One of the most intelligent, athletic dogs around. Very loyal.

Steve

Greybeard
March 11, 2004, 03:09 PM
Quote: "One thing you never do, is criticize a man's woman, a man's gun, OR HIS DOG."

Yea Steve, I was thinkin' the same this morning when I read that. Just not enough coffee in me at the time to fool with pecking it out - or trying to say it tactfully. I suppose when another man resorts to such, "tactfully" can sometimes go out the window, huh? ;)

Smoke
March 11, 2004, 04:38 PM
Greybeard and SteveW13,

I will alwyas have Australian Shepherds, they work extremely well for me.
And don't worry about AUadvisor, I disregarded his comments, after all...he is from Alabama.

Smoke


:D

Smoke
March 11, 2004, 06:42 PM
Aerial Photo of surrounding country (http://www.terraserver.com/imagery/image_usgs.asp?cpx=-97.60644527202207&cpy=31.75980099043277&usgs_res=13&view=A&t=pan)

If you notice the pie shaped roads in teh center of the pic....I'm at point of the triangle. FYI

http://home.earthlink.net/~rogerwparks/cat%20track.jpg

Here is what I thought was a cat track....comments? Its the best pic I could take.

Smoke

munk
March 11, 2004, 11:44 PM
There is often lion trouble in the part of Eastern Montana I live in. Guy up the road hunts them for profit. I can ask him about your problem- the local Indians use him for depredation hunts- to rid themselves of a problem lion. Game and fish have used him also.

I can't judge the tracks- I'm ignorant. But if it were my house, and there were tracks around, and I lived in Texas and it was legal to remove this nusiance, I would.

The cat will mostly likely revisit. I'd make one of those visits his last.

There are two stuffed lions in the local plumber's shop. They both weigh over a 160 pounds. They are nothing you want to mess with.

Do you have kids?




munk

Art Eatman
March 12, 2004, 12:02 PM
Yeah, Smoke, that looks like a cat track. Round, and no claw marks.

Lion tracks are just like your garden variety house cat, but a lot bigger. Measuring across my fist and relying a bit on memory, Handsome Stranger's footprint is about six inches across. (My fist plus 3/4" either side.) A half-grown will run about four inches.

Bobcat tracks can be, oh, I guess three inches across, but not much more. They're sorta big-footed for their size. 25 to 35 pounds, from what I've seen here in Texas. Bigger up north.

Dog or coyote tracks are longer than they are wide, and the claw marks show. Coyote tracks are porportionally narrower than a dog's.

Coons, badgers and skunks typically show splayed "fingers" and a bit of claw marks. The fingers of a coon track are usually very obvious, moreso than badger or skunk.

Update: It rained all day yesterday and much of the night. Think "MUD!" And now Terlingua Creek is running, so I'm staying inside. Maybeso tomorrow I'll go looking for HS sign. Watching about 20 blue quail scratching around the yard, and goofing off on the Internet. The quail are getting heavily into lust.

:), Art

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