Due to a tragedy, talk of mountain lions is reaching a feverish pitch in our neck of the woods. Two family dogs were out in a fenced yard, and one was killed by a mountain lion just 30' from the house within the confines of the fenced area. When the owner came outside, the lion was "caching" the dog's body (covering it with snow or debris to hide it), and the other dog was going berserk close to the lion. The owner heroically saved his second dog, thank goodness. However, it's terrible that even one dog was lost.
Rumor has it that a mountain lion has been killed to prevent any more tragedies. According to the rumor, the lion who killed the dog was wearing a GPS collar, making it possible for the lion to be killed relatively quickly after the tragedy. It is possible that this one mountain lion was solely responsible for the flurry of reports of dogs being attacked by mountain lions. In past similar situations, killing one lion has stopped the attacks.
I am more aware of mountain lions than your average resident. My trail cameras capture mountain lions living like they're supposed to rather than sneaking up close to houses. I captured this pair of photos a few months ago far from any houses. First, a hulking bull elk passed a trail camera.
Indeed, just last week, a mountain lion killed a young bull elk, with just "spike" antlers, in our neck of the woods. I didn't find the elk carcass until a mountain lion's favorite parts had been devoured so the he had probably abandoned it.
If you've never seen it, a few years ago, I captured footage of a mountain lion at his cache of a deer carcass. You can watch Part 1 and Part 2, if you have never seen them.
I pointed a trail camera at the carcass that I found this week. When I checked it the next day, I found that coyotes fed on the remaining meat and bones all night long. For most of the night, four coyotes surrounded the carcass.
Because almost all mountain lions stick to their natural prey - deer and elk - we can feel relatively confident that they'll leave us alone while we hike, bike, and play in the forest. There's a good chance that they secretly watch us sometimes, but they let us pass peaceably.
Every now and then, a mountain lion develops a taste for domestic animals, like alpacas, llamas, miniature horses, ponies, and dogs. The attacks end either for seemingly no reason or after a mountain lion caught in an attack is killed.
Tonight, out on our trails, a big storm is starting. The snow was falling as the Duo and I took our evening hike. As we hiked, I was wondering how the wild animals, including the mountain lions, would fare in the storm. I think the Duo was simply wondering if I'd let them play in the beautiful fluffy snowflakes.
P.S. I just learned that the rumor about officials killing a mountain lion was wrong. In fact, our wildlife officials say that one mountain lion killed another lion in the area where the above-mentioned dog died. Moreover, I learned that a second dog was killed by a lion, within a half mile of the first, a few days ago.