Yosemites Mountain Lion is probably the most misunderstood mammal in the Sierra. These big cats range from Canada to South America but are almost never seen. They have a great fear of man, and do their best to avoid him.
Mountain lions are carnivores, and without a doubt the Mule Deer is their favorite prey. But they are not really very picky, and will eat bobcats, raccoons, and even skunks. In the rare cases when lions have become cattle-killers, it was often found that they were old or crippled and were no longer able to catch their natural food.
In many ways they resemble big, overgrown house-cats. Their tracks are similar but are many times larger, and their big paws help them to move silently.
When hunting one may creep along with his belly almost scraping the ground. He may also crouch motionless except for the twitching of the end of his long tail as he watches his prey. You may have seen your own cat exhibit these same kinds of hunting characteristics!
These big cats have a variety of names. They are known as "panther", "cougar", "catamount", "painter", and "puma", but the name "mountain lion" probably describes them the best.
For her family’s home, the mother lion often chooses a cave among the rocks. This makes a good safe home for her babies. Two or three kittens are usually born in the springtime, but they may come at just about any season.
The little ones have black spots on their yellow-brown coats with black stripes on the tops of their long tails. As they grow older, longer fur grows in and covers their baby spots. By the time they are a year old they take on either the reddish-brown or the grayish-brown of their parents. Like all kittens, the babies are playful and the mother will often romp with them.
Yosemites Mountain Lions are usually quiet, but they may utter a low growl, a hiss, or might make a high, whistling sound. You may have heard stories about the scream of the mountain lion. Naturalists who have studied them now believe that about 99 percent of the screams that are thought to be lions are actually made by some other animal.
Yosemites Mountain Lion plays an important role in nature. By feeding on the mule deer they prevent them from becoming too numerous. You aren't likely to see one in the wild, but it is good to know that in the national parks they are being protected. Now we can be sure that they will not become extinct like the Grizzly bear and Plains wolf that once lived here too.
Bill Berry was one of the premier wildlife artists of his time. His use of the pen and ink medium captured his subjects with a life-like realism rarely seen today.
This beautiful set of high quality prints, capture four of the larger mammals of the Sierra. Three of these, the Mountain Coyote, Mule Deer and Black Bear are quite commonly seen. The fourth, the Mountain Lion, almost never.
Each print is 11 x 14 in size and printed on heavy stock. Beautiful framed!Place your cursor over the image below and then follow the link to get your set today! (Perfect for babies room).
“In the early 20th century, today’s scientific methods of wildlife management were a distant dream. Hunting and killing the native predators like wolves and the mountain lion was considered necessary. It was thought that controlling the predator population not only protected livestock and decreased the likelihood of attacks on humans but increased the population of deer and elk for hunters.
In 1915 a bounty was offered for the big cat. The bounty was $20 for a male and an extra $5 was paid for a female. In some southern counties where the lion problem was perceived to be more serious, the bounty was sometimes twice as much.
A man named Jay Bruce, recovering from a recent business failing, decided to take advantage of the opportunity. With his two good hunting dogs, he would drive as far as the truck would take them, and then let the dogs out. The sound of his yapping dogs would change when they had spotted their prey and Bruce would know that they had something.
He was so successful as a cougar hunter, that the California Fish and Game Commission became aware of him. In 1918 he became the first State Mountain Lion hunter. He was responsible for hunting throughout the state where ever cougar activity was suspected. In this new position he was paid $25 per week, plus the going rate for bounties as well as being allowed to keep and sell the pelts.
He eventually became such a celebrity that he was asked to be a regular contributor of the stories of his hunts for both Field and Stream and Outdoor Life magazines.
After 30 years with the Fish and Game Commission, he retired. As the State Mountain Lion Hunter he had killed 669 mountain lions. In 1953 he wrote what would become a best-selling book, his autobiography entitled ‘Cougar Killer’.”