Authorities seek teen suspects after report of fatal cougar stoning

Posted at 2:39 PM, Feb 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-15 16:42:43-05

UTAH COUNTY – Officials said a man and his daughter hiking in Payson Canyon saw a group of teens near a tree, and when they approached the tree the teens fled and the pair found the bloodied, still-warm body of a cougar.

The incident occurred on January 26, and the man told authorities they approached the tree when they saw the group of male teens, but the teens ran away; the man told officials the animal was dead at the base of the tree with rocks around it.

Shawn Bagley is a conservation officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and he said the father told officials he and his daughter tried to pursue the teens but could not find them. After failing to catch them, the father called authorities to report the killing.

Bagley said cougars are not endangered animals but are protected. Under current rules, a permit is required to harvest a cougar.

The DWR is offering a reward in the case, and anyone with information about the killing is asked to contact the DWR tip line, 1-800-662-3337. Tips can also be reported online.