Sunday, May 24, 2009

Glorious Return

Yesterday the family took a day trip to our favorite camping place. Monongahela National Forest has a special place in my heart, as it was the place my family went for every camping adventure when I was growing up. The Mon is specially important to prove the existence of the Eastern Cougar. This is because in the Monongahela National Forest has large expanses of generally untamed, wild forests where the mountain lions have the greatest possibility of existing today. Some believe (as I do) that the Eastern Cougar never left the "Mon."

Roddy and I spent 3 hours looking over the place and setting up 3 trail cameras in the best possible places on our property up there near the Mon. These are where there have been a variety of sightings from the family over the past 20 years of mountain lions.

Not only did we set up a trail camera on the path that a mountain lion would like to walk through, we placed hair traps on trees opposite of the trail cameras. The hair traps are to collect hair from any animal which rubs against the tree as it passes by. To better our chances of a mountain lion stopping by, we sprayed the tree with cougar "in heat" scent lure to attract them by. If one in the area smells the scent, it will stop by the tree. Maybe it will rub against the hair trap and we will get a hair DNA sample. Simultaneously, the trail camera which is pointed at the hair trap will take a photo of the cougar.We are returning to retrieve the cameras in July, so if you check back in Late July, we will see what we captured on film. Cross your fingers!

* please not that the cameras are on private land, the scent lures are not "baiting" the animals, and the hair traps are noninvasive, DNA collection devices.

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