The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

January 24, 2014

It's tough to say what you really did see

Every once in a while it’s fun just to open that proverbial can of worms and see what comes out.

The other day I was shopping in Hannaford’s and someone told me he had seen a mountain lion last fall I wasn’t going to burst his bubble, so I listened intently to his story.

There have been many sightings of mountain lions in the area over the years. In the Milford area, a large, tawny colored cat was seen by quite a few people. If you ask those people today, they’ll say they saw a cougar.

I’m sure they did. Many dismiss the sightings, claiming it was released from a small campground in the area. My friend John kept one as a pet for many years. That cat never ran wild and was never released.

While hunting near Long Pond in the Adirondacks one winter day, I came across a set of what I believed to be cougar tracks in the snow. They were quite large and I could see where its tail had occasionally dragged in the deep snow.

I followed the tracks for a mile or so, but it decided to head toward Indian Lake instead of Speculator. We went to Charlie John’s Store in town that evening. A large sign was taped to the window, asking people to report all mountain lion sightings to a particular phone number.

When my wife and I ran Woodland Outfitters, a fellow came in several times and said he’d seen a black panther crossing the road near Laurens. But when a trapper brought in a fisher to have mounted, he said, “That’s what I saw!”

Back in 2011, a cougar was killed on the highway in Connecticut. It was confirmed with DNA that it had wandered all the way from South Dakota. This was a young, 140-pound male cat that didn’t have a mate. I wonder if he wandered all those miles just to find a girlfriend. As my wife would say, “Typical male.”

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Rick Brockway

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