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Hunter reportedly tried to get cougar carcass on airplane

LAS VEGAS – A hunter who had a successful hunting trip in Utah wasn’t so successful flying home with their trophy.  They reportedly tried to pack the carcass of a cougar into their luggage.

Officials with McCarran International say the hunter tried to board a flight around 10 last night, but, the cougar in the suitcase caused a snag in those plans.  Airport Spokesperson Melissa Nunnery says, “The TSA saw the animal and alerted the local authorities.”

Officers from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department say they inspected the bag and found the hunter had the proper Utah tags, allowing them to have the animal carcass.  So, no laws were actually broken.

However, Nunnery says the airline was not going to let the carcass be placed with the rest of the stored luggage.  “It’s up to the airline’s discretion what the passenger can have in their checked bag.  The airline asked the bag be shipped via another service,” she says, adding the hunter sent the cougar home through Fed Ex.

Wildlife officials say fully grown cougars can reach up to seven feet long and can weigh about 200 pounds.  However, juveniles can be roughly the size of a dog.  Division of Wildlife Resources Spokesman Mark Hadley says, normally, hunters don’t go for small animals.  “They’re looking for the biggest animal they can find, typically. To take a small animal would be something that most hunters would not be interested in doing.,” he says.

Hadley says most people who fly into Utah to hunt send their trappings back through a courier service.  He says taking it in a suitcase is a terrible way to ship game meat.  He says, “In order to keep meat at a condition where you’re going to have a nice meal when you get home, the meat needs to be kept refrigerated.”

(Photo Credit: Shutterstock)