Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Face-to-face with a lion

Rancher Dale Wellnitz trailed fresh mountain lion tracks across his northwest Nebraska ranchstead before they seemed to vanish near the barn. “Where in the devil did he go?” Wellnitz said he wondered. Perplexed, Wellnitz leaned down and looked under a horse trailer parked in a lean-to shed on the side of the barn. Wellnitz got his answer. Peering straight back at him was a mountain lion lying about 10 feet away under the trailer. “So I eased back out of there, went to the house and had my wife call the game warden,’’ Wellnitz said. Less than an hour later, the cougar was dead, shot after Heath Packett, a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission conservation officer, flushed it out of the shed. The cat was killed because Packett determined that its proximity to the house and the people on the ranch made it a safety more

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