Learn to respect and live with mountain lions.
UPDATE, 10/31: A necropsy on the killed lion showed the animal was healthy and not rabid.
TUCSON -- A warning to Arizona mountain lions from this hunter: stay hidden, cougars, or you'll be shot by paranoid bureaucrats.
Saturday, a cougar was seen by a hiker with a dog (off-leash?) in the Santa Rita Mountain's Madera Canyon. The hiker had a gun and took the right action to scare off the lion. But then Sunday, the US Forest Service and AZ Game & Fish Department tracked a lion with hunting dogs and shot it dead.
In Arizona, it seems like any seen lion is a dead lion. It's very sad and backward that these awesome animals are viewed as 'disposable' by the government, and it's absurd to think that cougars should never be seen in higher use areas the Forest Service is developing and promoting for recreation.
Like too much in American life, this is all about the money. This lion was killed in a Coronado National Forest fee area. Forest Service bureaucrats, such as Coronado Supervisor Jeanine Derby, have pushed before for quick kills of lions because they want nothing to interfere with their fee collection, like at Sabino Canyon a few years ago, where no cougar sightings were ever verified, but several cats were still targeted. More fees equals less wildlife. The agencies also have an extreme paranoid fear of liability, killing wildlife quick anytime they fear even a remote chance some irresponsible person may be hurt.
Another factor, AZ Game & Fish often looks for any excuse to kill lions or other predators because of the failed, simple-minded concept that killing cougars will result in more deer, bighorn, pronghorn or other agency preferred game species.
It's time for personal responsibility on your public lands. When you visit, then you take your chances with the wildlife that live there.
Former CA Fish and Game lieutenant Bob Turner told those worried that "you are more likely to be struck by lightning on the day of your wedding to Brad Pitt than be attacked by a mountain lion," in the San Diego Reader, Sept. 2004.
A message to hikers and other public lands users: if you care about lions, don't report any sighting to the agencies. And if you are scared of lions, which you should not be, stay home, but don't expect the government to kill them and 'sanitize' our wild lands for you.
The Arizona wild is not Disneyland.