The Nevada Department of Wildlife reports a goat was killed this week by a “cat,” said the agency’s spokesman Chris Healy.
According to Healy, the area’s game warden responded to a call at a small farm on Harrigan Road, but based on the carcass left behind, he doesn’t know if a mountain lion or bobcat is responsible for the kill.
This is the first report to NDOW since winter when a rash of cat sightings occurred 10 months ago west of Fallon along the Carson River area and in the southwestern part of the county.
Residents had reported a big mountain lion roaming along the Carson River Corridor near McLean Road on Dec. 2. At the time, Sheriff Ben Trotter told the Lahontan Valley News he had received a call from a resident who had videotaped a mountain lion in the area.
Ten days later, a Churchill County resident shot a mountain lion after it attacked some ducks on his property. NDOW performed a necropsy on the cat but it was not the same mountain lion that took a goat near the Fallon RV Park on Dec. 2
Healy said last year’s killed mountain lion was a 4-year-old male weighting 110 pounds.
Healy said during the first half of December 2014, two to three mountain lions appeared to be working the Carson River corridor looking for food. Biologists, he said, estimated fewer than five mountain cats were roaming in the valley, a fact that Trotter disputed at the time. Trotter had estimated about a dozen mountain lions were still in the valley.
In early February, a Churchill County resident discovered paw tracks on his property located north of Wildes Road and an irrigation canal. He did not see the cat.
Others in the area had reported on their Facebook pages of seeing cat tracks.
Paul Ford said on Feb. 2 he saw tracks and a mallard that had been mauled.
Ford took photos of the cat tracks, and contacted the Nevada Department of Wildlife and Churchill County Sheriff’s Office.
A similar study for the Carson Range estimated a total of 14 kittens, young adults and adult cats are spread out between Spooner Summit and the Mountain Rose area, a prime habitat for the animal.
Healy maintains some of the area mountain lions will still have trouble finding food because of the fourth year of drought.
“The areas for water and food may be more restrictive for mountain cats (than last year),” Healy said.
The NDOW website says “mountain lions are adapted to a wide variety of habitats and environmental conditions found in Nevada. They prefer dense cover or rocky, rugged terrain, but also occur in desert areas.”
Trotter said individuals who see a mountain lion near populated areas should call the CCSO at 775-423-3116 or the NDOW dispatch office at 775-688-1331 or 775-688-1332.