Posts Tagged ‘capturing mountain lions’

December 15th marks the beginning of the Gros Ventre closure and the end of our capture season.  We recollared three cats, uncollared one cat and put a new collar on a big male that we found cruising through the study area.  Catching mountain lions consists of scouring the landscape, finding a fresh track, following the trail until you know the cougar is close, releasing barking dogs that send the cat up a tree, tranquilizing the cat while its in the tree, safely lowering it down, taking measurements, blood samples, putting on a collar, reversing the drugs and watching the cat walk away.  It is an intensive effort!  We spent 6 days trying to catch up to another male that we never did reach.  We hiked 12 hours each day over mountains, deep snow, into the dark but never could catch up to him.  It is hard work but also really fun to get to be part of the capture team and to spend all day following tracks of mountain lions.  It is also awesome to spend time with the houndsmen and watch the dogs do their thing.  Check out Boone Smith on NatGeo Wild.  He has a variety of TV projects and is a member of the Smith family – a fourth generation houndsman.  We are really lucky to get to work with him and his family.

Here are some pictures from the past month of adventures.


This is a fun random thing that you might find in elk country. It is a chunk of ice that gets compacted in the hoof then falls off. These weird ice chunks may stick around long after the tracks have blown away.


Nice badger track in the snow.


Curious cats. Here are the tracks of F109 checking out an old back country cabin.


People wonder if the cats get beat up during the capture process. F47 went and killed this adult moose just a few days after we recollared her. Its the first time we’ve documented a female cougar killing an adult moose on this project. I guess she is feeling ok!


Water shrew tracks. Like a normal shrew but much bigger.


Cool imprint of a raven landing.


Big scrape from our new big male, M85.


M85. This was a wild capture. Out until 3am in -20 degree weather.


Tracks of F51 on the left with one of her kittens on the right.


Beautiful day in the Gros Ventre.


Otter sliding on the snow.


Tracking trick shots. From left to right: coyote, wolf and red fox.


Sunrise in the Gros Ventre.


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