BLUFFDALE – Wildlife officials are surprised at the number of mountain lion sightings along the Wasatch Front this winter. Another was spotted in Bluffdale this morning and it forced students at Bluffdale Elementary School to shelter in place.
After being spotted at a park near the school, the cougar got trapped in an irrigation culvert on Kent LeGrande Jolley’s property. Many people would be afraid to see a predator like that near their home, but, not Jolley.
“It was exciting,” he laughed. “I’m a hunter, so it was exciting to see an animal like that.”
The cougar didn’t know a large metal grate was on one end of the culvert, making it impossible for it to escape.
Jolley says, “It was mainly down at one end, trying to get out. It actually was, at one time, biting the rebar to try and get out, but, he was pretty secure.”
Eventually, wildlife crews used a small explosive, like an M80, to scare the mountain lion into a trap at the other end of the pipe. The cat was later taken away.
“I’m a little surprised we’ve had as many sightings as we’ve had,” according to Scott Root with the Division of Wildlife Resources. This most recent sighting makes roughly half a dozen this winter.
The cats are going into urban areas mostly to follow their favorite food source, deer. So, Root says he wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of these mountain lions.
“We do have deer that are ‘resident deer,’ so there is always that chance that a mountain lion could be attracted to town for that reason,” Root adds.
If you see one, Root says you should avoid making quick movements to get away. Plus, “They should respond to bear spray, or pepper spray,” he adds.
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