View Full Version : Cougar Kills Morgan Hill Livestock

08-16-2006, 7:07 AM
This place is near a county park and high school. Even with dogs barking, they attacked close to the home.


Cougar Kills Morgan Hill Livestock

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

By Marilyn Dubil/Morgan Hill Times Staff Writer (marilynd@morganhilltimes.com)

Morgan Hill - County resident Nicky Austin and her family are worried about mountain lions, concerned about the safety of their goats, their own safety and the safety of those that may use Anderson County Park. And they have good reason.

Four of their goats were killed by at least one mountain lion. Three were killed early Saturday morning, and another was killed Monday night. One of the goats killed Saturday was dragged away from the house and partially eaten, and the lion came back Sunday night to eat more.

"It was just horrible," Austin said of hearing the lion's Monday night attack. "Laying in bed, listening to the screams, all the sounds."

The home is located in a rural area east of Sobrato High School on Burnett Avenue in north Morgan Hill. The property has wooded areas and a large back pasture abutting the county park. Austin's neighbors, including her grandparents' home down the road, are similar; most with animals, including horses, goats, chickens, cats and dogs.

Austin said the family has guns in the home, but she didn't want her husband to risk getting attacked himself if he went out to shoot the lion. Instead, they shined bright lights from inside the house, hoping to scare it away. It may have worked, she said, because a second goat had obviously been attacked Monday night, but was not killed.

"We could tell there must have been a struggle," she said. "You could see the saliva marks on it, and there was some hair missing on its back."

Saturday night, she said, she and her husband didn't hear a thing, even though the goats were about 100 feet from their bedroom, and the windows were open. They may have heard the dogs barking, but didn't pay any attention, she said, because they bark at the deer and pigs that come onto the property.

Two of the goats were killed near the house; the third was killed and then dragged away from the house and partially eaten.

"It was silent, quiet and fast," said Austin. "Half (of the goats) must have bolted one way, half the other, and the two that were killed were killed within 20 feet of each other. It's coming really close to the house."

Calls to county officials for information about mountain lions were not returned by press time.

Austin said she was advised by sheriff's office deputies to "remove the food source," she said, so she moved her goats to relatives' and neighbors' properties and will lock the rest of them up in her small barn at night.

Austin said she and her family have goats to control the growth of star thistle, a poisonous weed, on their property. She did have a dozen goats, which she describes as "pets, weed eaters and lawn mowers."

Austin, who works for Gilroy High School, said she often buys goats raised by Gilroy High FFA students who don't want to sell the goats for their meat.

The family has chickens on the property, but they are completely enclosed in a coop; there are also dogs and cats on the property.

Austin's three children - a 9-year-old, 6-year-old and 2-year-old - have never been allowed to play in the back pasture - closest to the park - by themselves, but now when they are outside even closer to the house, she wants to be out with them or for them to be within sight, she said.

"I know people aren't lion food, but people aren't shark food either," she said. "You just don't know how bold they might get."

She said she is also worried about people using Anderson Park, like joggers entering the park alone at dusk, which she has seen. Even cross-country teams from Live Oak High and Sobrato High using the park for training concerns her, she said, because "who knows how it might behave if one of the kids stumbled over it." She would like to see a more effective warning system, she added.

"The park has a sign that warns you that you are entering mountain lion territory, but how much more effective would an bright neon sign be, one that says, 'Four goats killed in three days,' something like that," Austin said.

08-16-2006, 7:10 AM
Crossbows work real good for removing mountian lions that attack livestock.

08-16-2006, 10:32 AM
Whoever lets a 9,6 and 2 year old play in cougar country by themselves is a little loopy . Don't know what they expect anybody to do about the mountain lions, maybe keep people from living in cougar habitat.Oh well, next dry season maybe their House will burn down and their d*mn goats with it.

08-16-2006, 10:33 AM
And if we were allowed to hunt these "magnificent creatures" then I believe that they would be afraid of man instead of knowing that they get a free meal anytime they come in contact with us or one of our homesteads. There are mountain lion all over the state. Anywhere that there are humans or um.. other animals like deer, there are cats. A few years back they did a deer relocation from Angel Island and deposited these deer, with no real survival skills, into the area similar to morgan hill. They tagged the deer and were amazed that after a year only 1 of them was still alive. I suspect there were many cougars with full bellies that year. Your tax dollars at work.

GIVE us 100 deer?!?! woo hoo! Party time tonight!(cougar thoughts)


08-16-2006, 12:29 PM
This doesn't cause particular alarm or panic; we live in the mountains, and expect lions.

This is how people should think,live in the wilderness expect wild animals. I had a good pic of a lion not more than 100yds from dorms here full of juicy plump airmen.:D was i surprised? nope. theres plenty of deer in the area to attract lions, thats just what it is like living close to the hills.

08-16-2006, 12:31 PM
It is not as rural as you think, but lying just outside the main city of Silicon Valley...and Mt. Lions have a 200sq mile range???

google map (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Sobrato+High+School,+Morgan+Hill,+CA&ie=UTF8&ll=37.169072,-121.650753&spn=0.120648,0.2314&t=h&om=1)

08-16-2006, 12:49 PM

I dont know about you but If a mountian lion attacks my livestock or gets anywhere near it I will kill it END OF STORY.

I don't consider this a crime.

If you do your (IMO) way off base and out of touch with reality.

SemiAutoSam's is telling others what he has done in the past and what he would do in the future when the preditors come around.

What I am saying is by no means advice.

08-16-2006, 6:26 PM
Scare it HELL Ill BLOW its damn head off Iím not into this touchy feely BS When I see a predator about to kill my animals im not going to waste time to call some gov employee I can handle things on my property and the way I do it is remove the predator.

Are you concerned that I kill rattlesnakes also?

Iím sure if you had young children and animals that you had $ and time and work into you would see it a bit differently.

I suppose the good thing about where I hang my hat is the police, county sheriff is not concerned with those that shoot on their land so my killing a cougar won't even be known by anyone but myself and my taxidermist.

08-16-2006, 7:09 PM
1. Shoot
2. Shovel
3. Shhhh...

08-16-2006, 7:23 PM
1. Shoot
2. Shovel
3. Shhhh...

Right what do you think backhoes were made for.

I might have bought it to dig the trenches for the footings for my home but it comes in handy for alot of other things also. Not only bury dead cats but also Ive used it to put up walls and move a somewhat light safe (with alot of steel in the front bucket) but also pull and install engines.

08-16-2006, 8:02 PM
You know, I don't think I've hear that one before.
You should sign up for one of those t-shirt websites, like cafepress,
and sell it

08-16-2006, 8:34 PM
Here is some interesting data:

List of Mountain Lion Attacks On People in California (http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_attacks_ca.html)

List of Mountain Lion Encounters With People in California (http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_encounters_ca.html)

08-16-2006, 9:24 PM
I have a close friend that lives down the street from this area. For the record, the area is NOT in the hills or out in BFE.. its within the city limits and in unincorportated santa clara county. Sobrato HS is off of monterey highway and cochrane rd and is located on the outer city limits of morgan hill. There have been numerous sightings of mt. lions throughout the county and in the majority of incidents, when the lion is in close contact with humans, the DFG will come in and either attempt to trap it with a cage and relocate it or put the lion down. Palo Alto PD took one down about a year ago and I believe there was another shot by DFG in SC county within the last 6-8 months.

County animal control will make every attempt to have the lion relocated if possible, but in these instances, when humans and wildlife come in such close contact, the animal will usually lose out. My personal opinion is that you get what you pay for.. when you live in agricultural/mountain land and move into these animals habitat, you will have encounters. When you introduce an easy food source its a almost a guarentee that you will have predators there, whether its a coyote or a mt. lion.

and yes... I work for sc county in the ag/environmental resources management division that oversees animal control so I know both sides of the story.

08-17-2006, 12:02 PM
T If you come onto the lion while it is pursueing, hurting or killing livestock, you may kill it without permit. Note that "pursueing" does not include the lion sitting there and staring at the goat longingly. If you kill a lion like this, you have to notify the DFG by phone within 72 hours, otherwise it's back into the slammer for a year. The DFG will come, investigate, and take the lion carcass away (they are required by law to take it!).

So, my approach would be NVGs on my head, and an IR red dot on my PTR-91 (so that I don't have a "sniper scope"). Next time the lion takes down one of my goats, it bends down to start eating and never gets up again.

DFG gets called that night. "Hey, I shot a mountain lion while it had its mouth full of my goat."

Looks pretty cut and dried to me.

08-17-2006, 3:20 PM
You cant have a 3 round burst on your AR but you can have a ANPVS4 or better I bought one direct from the MFG. it was in the area of 2400.00 but if you want something bad enough you scrimp and save.