Mountain lion attacking livestock?
Muskingum County neighbors, Sally Metzger and Sherry Pickens, believe that a mountain lion is at large and preying on the cattle on Pickens' ranch.
The women became aware of the lion several months ago.
Metzger had been visiting her friend when she stepped outside at about 6:30 in the evening to head home. She looked across the road at the field and spotted the animal about 300 yards away.
"I said, 'Sherry, what's that in your field?' She said, 'That's a lion."
That was "the Friday after Easter."
They found the sight unnerving, but they put it at the back of their minds.
Then, in the past 15 days, four calves have been killed.
And, just a week ago, a cow was attacked, receiving a vicious laceration on its nostril.
On Monday, a hunter familiar with mountain lions, also known as cougars, stopped at Pickens' farm to investigate.
"He took one look [at the cow's wound] and said, 'Yep, that's a cat attack,'" Metzger said.
Pickens' son, J. J. Black, said that some people may believe the calves were attacked by coyotes.
"But the hunter said coyotes don't take on a full-grown cow," J.J. said.
Last fall, another cow was attacked, its face so severely injured that one of its eyes had popped out.
Pickens described the cat as a buckskin color, about 3 to 4 feet long and about 2 1/2 feet tall.
The hunter, who requested anonymity, said he definitely believes that there is a big cat on the prowl in the area.
Portions of the 300-acre farm are very rugged, with outcroppings of large rocks ideal for a secretive mountain lion, he said.
The hunter suggested that Pickens buy a donkey or two to mix in with the herd. Once the donkey bonds with the herd, it will be protective of the cattle. He also advised Pickens to take precautions for personal safety.
"He said she shouldn't walk around out here without a firearm," Metzger said.
*Thanks to Bernie and Nancy Snodgrass for alerting us to this danger! I was going to head down there next weekend, but might need to invest in a rifle first!