by Shawn Skipper - Monday, March 14, 2016
North America's biggest cats are elusive beasts and, as such, not a lot of folks have ever had an up-close and personal encounter with one. Yes, there are hunters among us that give chase, where legal—but not many, and even then, the mountain lion doesn't make things easy. I've actually seen a cougar in the wild on two occasions (on back to back days, no less), though they never got closer than 60 yards or so. So, like most of our readers, I suspect, I've certainly never been within two or three feet of an angry lion. The same can't be said for at least one Utah conservation officer, based on the video I've embedded above.
Filmed in December, but only just now making its rounds on the Internet, the video shows a game warden and local trapper battling to release a cougar from a bobcat trap. The trapper, upon realizing he'd caught the wrong kind of cat, reported it to the state's Division of Wildlife Resources. Though catching a mountain lion in a trap that's designed for bobcats and coyotes isn't common, it does happen, and Utah requires that such incidents be reported. The state even offers help releasing lions, given the danger it presents. Officer Mark Ekins responded and assisted in letting the cougar go, which was fortunate—the trapper doesn't look nearly as prepared for the job. Ekins, though, had apparently overseen his fair share of cougar releases, and manages the situation with ease. That said, there were a moments that I'd consider a close call.
Watch the incident yourself with the video embedded above, or by clicking here.
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