CODY - Last Monday, June 18, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department responded to a report of an aggressive mountain lion encounter near Dead Indian Campground on the Shoshone National Forest on the west side of Dead Indian Pass.
A Powell resident reported the incident Sunday evening, June 17 to the Cody Regional Game and Fish office. His report described an aggressive mountain lion encounter that occurred around 4 p.m. earlier that day.
The Powell resident reported that while hiking on Dead Indian Creek, a lion suddenly appeared at close range and advanced on him and his grandson in an aggressive manner. He reported that he struck the lion with a walking stick, and then fired a shot at the lion with his sidearm. According to the Powell resident, the lion then ran in the direction of other family members on the outing and additional gunshots were fired. The lion disappeared from sight and the family retreated from the area.
Powell Game Warden Chris Queen and Large Carnivore Biologists Luke Ellsbury and Kyle Bales responded to the incidence and met the Powell resident at the site of the encounter to conduct an investigation. Hounds were released on the scent trail and the injured lion was found near the site of the encounter.
Due to a gunshot injury and the circumstances of the encounter, Game and Fish personnel euthanized the lion at the site. “There is no way for us to determine what motivated the lion to behave in the manner described in the report,” Ellsbury said. “In these situations when we can’t determine what the lion’s motivation was, it is necessary to err on the side of human safety.”
A necropsy that was completed late Wednesday evening at the State Veterinary Laboratory in Laramie indicated a healthy, 73 pound yearling mountain lion with no intestinal parasites, no pre-incident injuries, and a negative rabies test.The necropsy also determined that the lion sustained a gunshot wound to the left rear leg.
In any instance when a big or trophy game animal is killed outside of a normal hunting season, an investigation is conducted by the Game and Fish. The investigation is complete and results were consistent with the account provided by the Powell resident.
The Game and Fish urges people using areas occupied by bears and lions to use caution and practice techniques to minimize close encounter situations such as making noise, traveling in groups, avoiding areas where fresh bear or lion sign is present, and carrying a defense like bear spray.
Information on what to do when a mountain lion is encountered can be found on the Game and fish website.
(Contact: Tara Teaschner (307) 587-5430)