Mountain Lion Indiscriminately Trapped in Leghold, Ten Sleep Canyon
WYOMING – MOUNTAIN LION TRAPPING INCIDENT
Salt Lick Trail, Ten Sleep Canyon
The TRAGIC FACE OF TRAPPING IN WYOMING!
What would you do while hiking and seeing this site of total destruction, like an exploded bomb? You would probably be frightened and horrified, just like this older female mountain lion fighting to escape a leghold trap set for a bobcat.
WU received a message about a trapping incident in the Ten Sleep canyon where there are purportedly mountain lions. An off-trail hike led to this devastated Juniper tree.
“The bark all around the base of it was rubbed raw and several branches were broken off. Long strings of the bark were hanging everywhere. The ground was disturbed to the point of being pulverized to a powder. Something large went round and round the tree. Certainly, a trapped animal.” Mountain lion tracks were spotted heading in that direction.
An experienced trapper friend we contacted stated:
“Wolves, coyotes and bobcats can really tear up areas and vegetation too depending on how they are caught, how much room they have to move around and how they are anchored. Sometimes the trap chain, snare cable and such help tear up the landscape too. However, if I were to guess, I sure would not disagree that a mountain lion was caught at this site. It looks like some serious damage and appears that a trap or snare would likely have been set in this type of location for cats.”
Trapping mountain lions in Wyoming is illegal. But unfortunately for wildlife, indiscriminate trapping is legal if certain animals are reported to WGFD. Mountain lions caught indiscriminately are not unusual in Wyoming. Two other incidents were recently reported…one cougar survived. Another cougar dragging a snare around its neck was killed when the swivel was caught by rocks.
The trapper found the female mountain lion in the leghold set for bobcat, and as required, reported to WGFD. The cougar was tranquilized, examined, treated, eartagged and released. With broken toes, we don’t know how she will fare in the wild, but hope she will survive with the freedom to roam.
Thanks to Bart Kroger, biologist for G&F, for the quick response and release.
Thanks to our caller for reporting this incident to initiate the search for answers.
No animal should be treated in a manner that elicits this type of horrendous reaction.
This is the tragic face of trapping in Wyoming!
She was gorgeous! I felt so privileged to see her so closely. Actually, the conditions couldn’t have been better. She was outside our cabin on the deck and we were safely inside. It was mid-day in mid January. She was a mountain lion.
“She is not huge” I whispered. “I think that she must be about 2 years old.” She slowly and very cautiously strolled about while I ogled and my husband videotaped her on his cell phone. Her face was beautiful with her cat nose and whiskers. I saw her meow twice but couldn’t hear it inside. Her tail was so long and fat! I automatically visually surrounded her with white light. This is a habit that I have developed to try to protect wild animals. I blessed her.
She continued to thrill us before crossing the creek next to our house, sitting and posing for a bit and then disappearing. “We should have shot a gun near her to scare her” I said. “She is going to get into trouble and get herself killed.”
Several weeks went by. One day I went hiking on a public recreational trail across from our cabin. Except on this day I got off the trail and went exploring. I came upon a disturbing site. A juniper tree had been ravaged by something. The bark was hanging off in strings, the lower branches were broken off and the ground underneath was pulverized into dust. Something large had been trapped here – a mountain lion? I was horrified. What a terrible way to go.
I reported my finding to the local game warden. Yes, he knew about it. A mountain lion had indeed been caught in a trap off that trail. The trapper had reported it and the U.S. Wildlife Biologist had sedated it and released it. It had broken toes. It was judged to be about 2 years old and was a female.
I was ecstatic. “Our” lion was alive. And now she was truly blessed- with life, caution, and wisdom. May she have a long life. I named her Blest.