Mountain Lion Reported in Wimberley
Hays County Precinct 3 Constable Ray Helm has confirmed on Facebook that a mountain lion killed a deer in Blue Hole Regional Park in nearby Wimberley.
As of October 2017, Liz Bates, a New Braunfels-based wildlife specialist with Texas Parks & Wildlife, said there were no confirmed sightings in the Comal County.
Wrote Helm on Feb. 26: “Deputy Keith Tomlin went out and investigated it today and confirmed it was a mountain lion kill. He has been working with wildlife his whole life and recognized the way this deer was killed, that it was a cat. We have put up some trail cams in the park to try to confirm it. Deputy Keith Tomlin has also gotten the same report last week of a deer killed the same way off Flight Acres. The cat returned the next night and finished its meal.”
Residents Urged Not to Panic
He urged residents not to panic because there are plenty of deer for mountain lions to eat. Also, they avoid people.
“Keep pepper spray or some hornet spray while you walk the parks. The biologists say they have a big area, up to 60 miles they cover. I tend not to believe that in this area with the hand-fed deer.
“If you spot one you are welcome to call us to reort the sighting … There have been sightings in the Woodcreek North area and Woodcreek the past several years. We will not harm these cats unless they become an immediate threat.”
He added, in a comment: “I have read a great deal on these cats, they are smarter than us most of the time.”
Large Puncture and Scratch Marks Found
Helm said Tomlin has been around mountain lions most of his life, and confirmed the dead deer “had two large punctures to the back of the skull and neck, about three inches wide and two to three inches deep. The scratch marks or claw marks down the hind quarters were about 10 inches long and about six inches wide. That is too big for a bobcat and could not have been a dog or coyote.”
“I have only seen two in my life here in Texas,” Helm posted. “The first one was small, maybe 80 to 100 pounds. The last one I saw was 150 easy. Both of these were in South Texas. My wife was hunting over in Sandy, Texas a few years ago. Her stepdad was in the blind with her and she came out, she said it was small, maybe 80 pounds. I would think they would be close in size and genetics for the area. The others I have seen killed around the state all varied in size.”
TPWD Is Wrong – “The Cats Are Here”
A resident who commented said her neighbor saw an approximately 80-pound mountain lion cross his pasture.
“They compared it to the height and weight of their dog. I called and reported it to Texas Parks & Wildlife and inquired about the possibility of putting out a trap. About a week later the trapper they referred called me and basically told me there is no such thing as a mountain lion in Hays County. Please make sure Texas Parks and Wildlife is aware mountain lions exist in Hays County.”
Responded Helm: “We have gotten that feedback from them in the past. The cats are here.”
He said he was somewhat surprised that this Facebook thread went viral.
What Bates Said:
“There has not been any confirmed mountain lion sightings in Comal County.
“I do occasionally get reports from residents about mountain lion sightings but none of these sightings have been confirmed. Texas Parks & Wildlife does take reports of mountain lion sightings. We like to keep track of sightings even if we cannot confirm them.
“I encourage residents to take pictures of any evidence of a mountain lion. If they suspect one in the area they can set up a game camera. If they see a track they suspect belongs to a mountain lion they can take a photo of the track with something next to it to judge the size of the track (dollar bill, pen, etc.). They are welcome to email me the photos as well as contact me if they have a sighting and would like to make a report: firstname.lastname@example.org
“We have two breeding populations in Texas. One in South Texas and one in West Texas. There have been mountain lions confirmed occasionally in the Hill Country but these have been further west in the Hill Country.”
For more information about Texas mountain lions, click here.
If you do encounter a mountain lion, Texas Parks & Wildlife suggests that you:
- Pick up all children off the ground immediately.
- Do NOT approach the lion.
- Stay calm. Talk calmly and move slowly.
- Face the lion and remain in an upright position.
- Do not turn your back on the lion. Back away slowly.
- Do not run.
- Do all you can to enlarge your image. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
- If the lion is aggressive, throw rocks, sticks, or anything you can get your hands on.
- If the lion attacks, fight back. Fighting back can drive off lions.
About Mountain Lions (Puma concolor):
The mountain lion is a large, slender cat with a smallish head and noticeably long tail. Its fur is a light, tawny brown color which can appear gray or almost black, depending on light conditions. Mountain lions are also called cougars, pumas, panthers, painters and catamounts.
They are relatively uncommon, secretive animals who occasionally kill livestock or dogs. Favorite prey include deer and wild hogs.
In Texas, the mountain lion is found in portions of the Hill Country. Sighting and kill reports indicate that mountain lions now occur in more counties than they did 10 years ago, and appear to be expanding their range into central Texas.