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Mountain lion leaves Wanship man with sore toe

Published July 17, 2011 11:24 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Wildlife officials are searching for a mountain lion that took a swipe at a Wanship man.

The man was working Friday in his driveway alongside a fence when he heard a noise, Division of Wildlife Resources Conservation Officer Bruce Johnson said Sunday evening.

"He turns around, and he's face to face with an adult mountain lion," Johnson said.

The man started to kick the mountain lion, which swatted at the man's leg.

"It felt threatened," Johnson said.

The man then kicked the mountain lion in the teeth, Johnson said, and one of the cat's fangs punctured the sole of his Crocs-style shoe. The mountain lion turned and ran away, though not at full speed, Johnson said.

The man chased the cat into a neighbor's backyard and called authorities.

Wildlife officers tried to track the mountain lion to destroy it, Johnson said. Some behaviors exhibited by the lion were characteristic of a high-risk animal, he said. It appeared in a residential area, which is "not typical," and it did not immediately flee the man, Johnson said.

"In circumstances where there's just a surprise, ... we could have a lessened response. We could ... use nonlethal bullets or chase it with dogs for a day, out of the area, so it would know it didn't want to be in that area," Johnson said. "In a residential area where these homes are at, it shouldn't have been there to begin with."

Johnson urged residents to be wary of the wildcat and call authorities immediately if they see it in the Wanship area.

The man's only injury was to a toe that was struck when the mountain lion's tooth punctured his shoe," Johnson said.