Blood and gore and the blank stares of his baby and adult goats is what greeted Genesee youth Paul Astles when he went to do his chores in the barn before school Monday, March 12.
It was a full-scale slaughter of kids and adults.
“It was a mess in there,” said a fellow rancher who saw it.
Astles is the same young man who lost several goats to mountain lions in late January.
Brian Kingdon and Van Probst hang onto a monster mountain lion killed Tuesday, March 13, one day after a full-scale slaughter of goats was discovered when the young boy who owned them went out to do his morning chores.Photo by Heather Kingdon
There were four lions together on that hunt, according to Heather Kingdon, the neighbor whose border collie puppy was snatched off the porch by a lion the day before.
That lion was killed with the dog’s body still in its mouth.
Kingdon saw three lions that were probably a mother and her young, and another adult, a rather skinny female.
She was afraid this new kill was another group hunt, unheard of in mountain lions, but a professional tracker doesn’t think so.
“I saw one track, a big one,” he said before preparing for yet another night hunt Tuesday, March 13.
A lion’s modus operandi is to partially bury its kill and return to feed at a later time, probably the next night.
And that is exactly when the hunter met the biggest tomcat he’d ever seen in his life.
“It was a monster cat,” he said.
Estimates were that it weighed close to 200 pounds.
Lions do not hunt in groups, that is one thing he and the experts at the Department of Fish and Game agree on.
DFG public information officer Andrew Hughan was emphatic about that and refused to validate the possibility of a group hunt by other than a mother and her young.
“There is no history, science or evidence to support that,” he said. “Mountain lions are solitary animals.”
This makes the sixth mountain lion killed in Indian Valley since late January.
The fifth one was killed in the Williams Valley area of Greenville in late February.
To learn more and find safety tips, visit the DFG mountain lion information page at dfg.ca.gov/news/issues/lion.
Heather Kingdon authored a guest post about this experience Thursday, March 15, on thebeefjar.com. Scroll down the page to see her story titled “Guest Post: Active Environmentalist.”
Family friends set up a bank account for those interested in helping young Astles re-start his goat business. Donations may be sent to Fundraiser for Paul Astles, c/o Plumas Bank, Greenville Branch, P.O. Box 612, Greenville, CA 95947.
Sheriff Hagwood called and said his deputies have a right and a duty to dispose of such public safety threats, that the lion just being in the neighborhood where small children live is deemed such a threat. He just wished he had the ability to post a 24-hour watch in the community, but he doesn't have the staff necessary for that.
Department of Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan agreed, and said the department would stand behind that action, and that the sheriff can even call in the aid of a tracker to hunt it down if he wished.
Shannon said that he was told previously they needed an actual missing dog before a depredation permit could be issued.
Those who see a mountain lion near their homes or barns may call 911, or (888) 334-2258.
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