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Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Young Cougar on the Prowl

You might remember that I managed to check a wildlife camera just before our really big snowstorm 9 days ago, and I discovered that a cougar (a.k.a. "mountain lion") had been there.

I wasn't too surprised about the cougar presence because the elk herd had been nearby as the storm arrived and after it. My widest angle lens captured only part of the big herd.

It took a week until I could check any other cameras due to the deep snow. When I did, I found out that the young cougar had stayed in the area for at least a couple of days. He visited another clearing where many cougars have left their scent marks over the years.

It was snowing as he arrived in the clearing, and you can see that snow had accumulated on his tail which he perpetually holds out behind him.

He spent some time sniffing around and then turned to leave. This photo shows why I think he or she is a young cougar. You can see faint bars on the upper inside of the front left leg. Those bars are usually present in cougar kittens but not adults. They can remain, barely visible, until the animal is about 2 years old.
My guess is that this animal is an independent young adult who is searching for a territory to call his/her own. It's possible that there's an open area (not claimed by other adult cougars) near us because cougar activity has fallen off dramatically in the past 4 months or so. I've wondered if one of our "resident" cougars was hurt or died.

In the clearing that this cougar visited on 2/1, I also have a camera that takes video. I combined all the trail cam stills and video into a compilation video for you that you can watch here or at Youtube.

The site where this cougar visited most recently is almost right on a route that Shyla and I use for snow biking - and it was during daylight. That's all the more reason for me to continually keep Shyla's recall and other training skills sharp!


  1. What a well-formed animal! That long tail is something. Hopefully, the elk herd will keep its attention away from you and Shyla.

  2. How cool! Enjoyed this episode of the Rocky Mountain Shyla show!

    Keep Calm & Bark On!

    Murphy & Stanley

  3. That cougar is such a wonderful critter!

  4. Your photo and videos are amazing -- He's really beautiful and looks well fed and quite regal! And of course I agree with you about keeping Shyla's skills sharp!

  5. Beautiful animal. Hope he doesn't decide to linger near your biking trail.

  6. He's awesome. And how nice to see them with out the collar.

  7. Love the picture of the elk herd and wow the cat looks so healthy and strong
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  8. He is huge and beautiful, we liked the elk herd also. stella rose

  9. Oh my what a magnificent cat. Your videos and photos are excellent.
    Hugs madi and mom

  10. Beautiful. So majestic. (A little different from the snarfing Shyla!)

  11. Wow,, beautiful photos! Beautiful cougar!

  12. Wow, that's lovely! What does the pup think about cougar-smell on her route?


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