Mountain lions acting aggressively in West Glenwood

Alex Zorn

Mountain lions.
Shutterstock image

Just days before the new year, Kirby Wynn watched as his terrier was snatched from outside his home in West Glenwood by what appeared to be a large dog.

When he went chasing after it, eventually catching up to the point where he was standing over it, he quickly realized it was no dog.

It was a mountain lion.

“It came right on the deck and attacked my dog,” he said.

Wynn, who works as oil and gas liaison for Garfield County, said he got within a few feet of the animal, chasing and yelling after it, before it dropped his dog and ran off.

Wynn’s dog suffered a few injuries from the attack, but is OK now. He added that he saw the big cat return about an hour after the attack.

The incident is just one of a string of attacks that left one pet dog dead and other sightings in the days since. That has wildlife officials concerned about what appear to be uncharacteristically aggressive mountain lions in the West Glenwood area.

“These lions have been exhibiting behavior not typical of lions,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer Perry Will said.

He recommends residents, especially in West Glenwood, pay special attention to pets and children playing out in back yards and in the streets.

Will said mountain lions are typically most active in early mornings and late evenings.

Earlier in the week, a mountain lion killed a deer in a West Glenwood resident’s backyard and buried the carcass in the snow. An elk calf carcass was also found in the Oasis Creek neighborhood – likely a mountain lion kill, wildlife officials said.

Using bait from the carcass, officials trapped the lion on Traver Trail near Transfer Trail on Friday morning.

The lion was euthanized, according to Will.

Will explained that traps are most effective when they use bait from one of the lion’s recent kills, because the lion will often return to its kill days after the hunt, especially in the winter time.

Other mountain lions will not typically go after prey that has been killed by another mountain lion, according to Will.

Another recent incident in West Glenwood resulted in a resident’s dog being killed.

“We definitely have mountain lions in the area that are being noticeably active at the moment,” CPW’s game warden in Glenwood Springs, Dan Cacho, said. “That being said, all of Glenwood Springs is mountain lion habitat.”

Cacho explained that decreases in local deer and elk herd populations may be pushing the lions closer to town, causing the increased activity. But he added that it could be a variety of factors.

Cacho said the quota for lion hunting in the area is already full, which is earlier than it has been filled in years past. He added that a good snow season like the one Colorado has experienced this year will typically result in better lion hunting conditions.

“We have a robust population of mountain lions in Colorado and occasionally they will come into populated areas,” said CPW public affairs officer Mike Porras.

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