JACKSON — A couple was enjoying a quiet Sunday morning inside their Jackson home when they spotted a large mountain lion strolling through their backyard.
At first, Patrick Osgood says he thought the large cat was just a dog.
“It poked it’s head up. I said, ‘My God, that’s not a dog. That’s a mountain lion,'” Osgood told FOX40.
From the safety of his bedroom, where the glare on the windows likely prevented the animal from seeing him, Osgood was able to take pictures and video of the remarkably close encounter between man and mountain lion.
“And it was in no rush whatsoever, just sauntering along,” he said. “Yeah, it was just amazing to me that he was right there where we hang out on a daily basis.”
FOX40 spoke by telephone with a warden from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who said mountain lions typically keep themselves hidden, but they are always looking for food.
When they do come close to homes, it’s often because a food source is nearby. The Osgoods’ neighborhood has a plentiful supply of what mountain lions love to eat.
“Coyotes and, of course, lots of deer. Wild turkeys,” Osgood said.
Osgood said his neighbors had an outdoor cat but when he called to warn them about the lion they were out of town.
“And, unfortunately, when they got back last night they found a pool of blood and the cat was gone,” Osgood said.
The Osgoods alerted the Amador County Sheriff’s Department about the sighting. Now they are getting the word out to their neighbors so people can keep a close eye on their pets and kids.
“We’re a little skittish today,” Osgood told FOX40. “We realize we live in a little bit of wilderness and we have to expect that. But that was a little bit of a close call.”
According to Fish and Wildlife, mountain lions have large territories, which can span up to 100 square miles. That means the cat may have moved on.
Even so, residents of Jackson may want to keep domestic animals indoors and avoid leaving any kind of food outside.
An encounter like this is a once in a lifetime experience but for the Osgoods, once was enough.
“It was kind of awesome to see a big cat like that,” Osgood said. “Hopefully, it’s the last time we see it.”
Fish and Wildlife also says when snow falls in the foothills deer try to get away from it by going down to lower elevations. That causes a larger deer population in communities like Jackson that are just below the snow line. Where there a lot of deer, there are likely mountain lions.