Mountain lion tracked in Old Town |

Mountain lion tracked in Old Town

Animal eludes capture as searchers comb hillside

by Jay Hamburger
Jay Hamburger/Park Record State wildlife officers used dogs to search for a mountain lion on a hillside above Daly Avenue midday on Saturday after sightings over several days. The animal eluded capture.

Park City police officers and state wildlife officers midday on Saturday attempted to track a mountain lion in the southern reaches of Old Town but did not find the animal as they searched a hillside just above residences along Daly Avenue

The Park City Police Department said there were sightings of a mountain lion on Thursday, Friday and Saturday on a ridge on the east side of Daly Avenue and nearby the ridge. The police and state Division of Wildlife Resources officers climbed the hillside behind a row of Daly Avenue houses. The division brought three hound dogs to track the mountain lion.

The emergency vehicles were parked along Daly Avenue, and the officers and the dogs could be seen and heard occasionally from the street as they moved along the hillside. Several people gathered to watch the search from the street.

Brent Kasza, a Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officer who responded, said one of the earlier sightings was reported by a construction crew. He said the searchers on Saturday found numerous tracks of dogs but did not find fresh tracks of a mountain lion. The authorities canvassed the hillside from Daly Avenue to Marsac Avenue, working their way approximately one quarter of a mile southward from a location that is approximately on the 100 block of Daly Avenue.

Kasza said the division will continue to monitor the area of the sightings for at least a few weeks.

“Right now, we can’t find it. We would have loved to have located that cat today,” he said.

He said wildlife officers do not intend to kill the mountain lion if it is found since there have been no reports of the animal acting in an aggressive manner toward people or pets. If it is found, the division would first attempt to chase it out of the area with dogs, he said. The second option would be tranquilizing and relocating the mountain lion, Kasza said.

Kasza said safety precautions should be taken. People should keep tabs on pets and not feed pets outdoors. If someone encounters a mountain lion, they should stand their ground and then back away. Someone should not run away from a mountain lion, something that could trigger the animal’s natural instincts to chase prey. Should a mountain lion attack, a person should fight back.

Kasza said the Park City area is normal habitat for mountain lions. The Police Department occasionally receives reports of sightings, including on the edge of neighborhoods and sometimes on or close to residential streets. The Police Department number is 615-5500.

“This is not an irregular thing,” Kasza said, adding, “I don’t want anyone to panic.”

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