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Cat of God

I recently managed to photograph my holy grail, the cougar (Puma concolor). The cougar goes by many different names in the various habitats it is found in from Yukon to Patagonia. Interesting that the Chicksaw name for this animal "Ko-Icto" means "Cat of God". Cat of God indeed, second largest cat in the Americas after the jaguar.  I saw my first cougar in April of 2016 while returning from Grande Cache north of Hinton, Alberta. The cougar leaped out of the ditch on one side of the road and within a few seconds pounced into the bush on the other side of the road.  I didn't have enough time to even reach my camera that day, but at least I had seen one and could personally confirm the existence of these amazing creatures - in my proverbial back yard.

A year later while out driving in a March snowstorm I spotted a large adult male cougar resting about 30 yards from the road. I was able to get some photos of him hunkered down in the snow and some with him perched on a rocky outcrop. This encounter will certainly be a hard act to follow! 

 I believe the cougar has buried his kill under the bank of snow visible in front of him, either an elk or a Bighorn Sheep. 

I believe the cougar has buried his kill under the bank of snow visible in front of him, either an elk or a Bighorn Sheep. 

 This cougar has some damage to his ears as can be seen in this photo. 

This cougar has some damage to his ears as can be seen in this photo. 

 Mountain Lion in a "mountainous" environment. 

Mountain Lion in a "mountainous" environment.