Tuesday, January 08, 2013

lions in winter

Earlier this week Kelly noticed the mountain lion tracks through our back yard. Large, clawless paws with long, bounding spaces between prints. He had probably been chasing the deer, whose tracks also crossed the two-foot deep snow through the yard. It must have been a couple nights before, but not too long, because the lion’s path crossed over the top of the tracks I’d made out to the shed and back around the first of the year.

I say “he” mainly because, as some friends here have told us, it’s often the young male lions, recently separated from their mothers, still without a territory of their own, who sometimes end up wandering hungry into and around town. Especially when the temperature drops below zero and just sits there for week after week, as it is now.

This is what happened last month, when Charlie Stevens was shoveling snow out of his driveway and accidentally scared a young lion out of his front window well. (We used to live right across the street from Charlie, when we first moved to town years ago.) Anyway, that lion climbed a tree on the other side of the block and spent most of the day up there, drawing a big crowd of dogs, neighborhood kids, police and DNR trucks, and a TV crew, until someone came and shot him down.

related: lion hunt, school lions, tracks

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