GARDEN CITY, Utah -- A group of family and friends from Ogden who were staying at a cabin near the shore of Bear Lake in Utah were shocked to see a cougar hiding underneath a residence, and one of the men managed to capture footage of the cat before the animal was relocated.
“Mountain lions are one of those creatures you think you’re never going to see," Kyle Stringham said of the experience.
But Stringham, his friends, and his family got to see one up close and personal on New Year’s Day.
Stringham said: “At about 9:30 in the morning, my buddy's wife comes running down the stairs (he's the owner of the cabin) and she starts screaming, ‘Shut all the doors, get the kids and the dogs inside.’”
Something had run under the deck of the house next door, and Kyle went to check it out, and to record some video.
“We didn't stay there that long--10, 15 seconds then left," he said.
Officials with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources went and looked under the cabin, where they found a mountain lion. They tried making noise to spook the cat from its spot, but, when that didn’t work, they used tranquilizers to subdue the animal.
"They got face-to-face with the mountain lion and basically proceeded to get it with some tranquilizers," Stringham said. “They actually had to use quite a bit [of tranquilizers] because the mountain lion was so big."
The cat was so big they could not safely drag it out from beneath the cabin, so they removed decking to lift the cat from above.
"The paws, the paws on that thing were huge, they were really big, and the head was pretty large as well, so they were pretty concerned," Stringham said.
Stringham said the officials had things under control and were able to get the cat moved safely.
“They got it out of the deck, you know, pulled it out carefully, drug it over to a cage,” he said. “Then they got it tagged. The mountain lion was out enough that my little girl was able to pet it on the head. He actually offered to let the kids touch it, and we were like, ‘Really?’”
This will hopefully be the animal's last human encounter. DWR personnel loaded the lion into a transport tube and relocated her to an undisclosed, but far away location.