On January 4, 2012 a man in Southeast Missouri captured a young adult mountain lion in a live trap. The man, being a county commissioner and well versed in the law, did not kill the big cat but rather transported him to the nearest Conservation department office.
After seeing the cougar, the conversation department sprang into action and alerted the Mountain Lion Response Team. That’s right Missouri, a state that insists that the last wild mountain lion was killed back in 1920 and who insists that there are no mountain lions in the state, has a special response team to deal with the phantom creatures.
Within an hour the team arrived at the Reynolds Co. conversation office to view the captured lion. Their first act was to inspect the lion, to ascertain whether or not the cat was a pet. They did not elaborate upon their method of learning whether the cat was a pet though I have my own ideas as to how they did it. I’m thinking that the lowest ranking member of the response team attempted to pet the animal and got mauled, which led to the findings that it was indeed a wild mountain lion….our government at work.
The cougar was seven foot long and weighed almost a hundred and thirty pounds. They figured his age at about two years old….a young adult nearing his hunting prime. Now for most people who saw this item on their news this was one of those unimportant, filler spots between the big news stories about Brad Pitt’s latest movie or which politician shot himself in the foot that day.
However, for a lot of farmers and ranchers in my area this story was big news. You see the cat was captured a mere fifty miles from my ranch and well within the hunting range of the cougar. Almosta Ranch and a few others close by had suffered livestock loss from this cougar and we were all relieved that it was finally captured. That relief was short-lived though.
The Missouri Conservation office, in its infinite wisdom, saw fit to merely examine the cat then drove it about twenty miles CLOSER to my ranch and turned it loose. Without one thought to the mayhem they are allowing to happen, these fools set a grown mountain lion loose in an area populated by ranches and livestock. This is much the same as driving Ted Bundy to the nearest women’s college sorority house and turning him loose, telling him: “Now you behave yourself.”
Ted would do what’s natural for Ted….so will this cougar.
This is yet another example of a government agency that has little regard for the people it is supposed to serve. They do not care at all about the future losses of ranchers like myself or my neighbors, after all, we don’t control enough votes or money to stir sympathy in any government official. Now one of us, or more than one, will end up losing more cattle or horses to this killer and in the end it will be one of us who has to stop the killing.
Now, thanks to the Conversation department, I will have to continue to carry a gun with me when I walk fence line back in the deep woods. When I first heard of the capture I thought those days were behind me. Now, in these beginning days of the new year, one thing I have to look forward to is the fact that soon death, in the form of this released cougar will visit Almosta ranch or one of the ranches of my neighbors and friends. I only hope that when it does, we are able to put a stop to the killing in the only way that is permanent.
Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with what the results of a cougar attack looks like or you missed my past blog on the subject, here are pictures of the filly the killer took on my ranch. Keep in mind as you view the pictures, that the poor little horse was still alive when I got to her and it was up to me to end her suffering.
Let’s have a round of applause for the Missouri Conservation department….government at its finest.