February 3, 2023 |

Reports of at least one mountain lion stalking the hot pools in Saratoga has prompted a multi-agency search.

On Wednesday evening, Saratoga PD issued an alert on social media about a big cat seen near Veteran’s Island and the hot springs. Saratoga Police Chief Mike Morris said a dead deer kicked off the hunt.

Pictured above: File photo of a mountain lion.


While officers never laid eyes on the big cat, Chief Morris said they found paw prints in the snow. Tracking the predator, however, proved unsuccessful. Chief Morris contacted Wyoming Game and Fish Department to remove the animal by any means necessary. The Saratoga police chief said the fact that a nocturnal creature was spotted during the day and so close to people is alarming.


The hunt continued into the afternoon Wednesday. As searchers began losing daylight, Chief Morris called the Carbon County Office of Emergency Management to use their infrared-equipped drone. Even with the thermal camera system, Chief Morris said the animal wasn’t detected.


H.F. Sinclair donated the two unmanned aerial vehicles to the county last year. The drones are available to any agency in need of their specialized tracking abilities. After receiving the call from Chief Morris, Carbon County Emergency Management Coordinator Lenny Layman brought the department’s drone to town. Layman said Sheriff’s Deputy John Moore handled piloting duties.


Layman said if Deputy Moore was ever unavailable to fly the drone he would personally take over the controls. He added that the drone is a very powerful weapon in the county’s arsenal.


Chief Morris said his department only received one emergency call about the mountain lion. He said a few people were at the hot pools at the time of the sightings. When officers arrived at the scene, more people said they saw other big cats.


It is unusual to see a big cat out in the daytime, especially in the middle of a populated area. Chief Morris said the weather has pushed many prey species into town. He said the cat’s willingness to come so close to humans increases the likelihood of someone getting hurt.


Chief Morris asked the public to call emergency responders if they spot the mountain lion. He said not to approach the animal under any circumstance.


Wyoming Game and Fish personnel were unsuccessful in capturing the big cat. As of the reporting of this story, the mountain lion is still on the loose. Game and Fish have yet to respond to calls from Bigfoot 99.

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