There has been something stalking our little farm. It's a stealth shadow that moves with a quick shift of muscles. We have only seen small glimpses of his/her retreat. A chicken or two went missing. No biggie. That is almost a daily event here. Opossums, Skunks, Coyotes, everything eats chickens. We knew something else was up when Jules, our aging hound mutt, was on alert all night. She wouldn't come in the house, staying at the west end of our property barking, howling, yelling at something. We thought she was going to have another all night standoff , when to our surprise she scratched on the door for us to let her in. Before anyone could get to the door she made this unearthly cry as if she'd been hurt. Jason opened the door to see her run under the house, and a large shadow move quickly toward the creek bed. Jules didn't come out from under the house all night, despite us calling for her, offering cookies, pleading for her to just come out. I was seriously afraid that she was really hurt, and would die under the house. Early the next morning I let our giant mastiff puppy out to go to the bathroom. The sun had barely come up, and I was a little worried for his safety...because, well, because he is a dumb puppy. I stood guard while he did his business. Jules sprinted toward the door, not even looking left or right. She didn't leave the house for over twenty four hours.
A day or two later my favorite goat, Sarah, went missing. Sarah had a habit of sliding out of any pen we put her in. She was little and spry, moved like a tiny wild deer. I had bottle fed her, since her mother didn't take to nursing her, so she was very close to me. She was always around me whenever I went outside. I searched every corner of our property, and the creek that boarders us...sure she had just gotten stuck somewhere. Not a single sign of her. Gone. If there was any doubt that there was a mountain lion preying my pets up until that second, then the doubt was certainly gone at that second.
A few days later, another goat busted out. Jesus, my strapping young billy, had repeatedly rammed the gate to his pen and gotten loose. I tried to get him back in his pen with no success. I came home on a Saturday evening to find my husband's best friend "finishing him off" at bottom of the creek bed. Something had drug him down there, leaving him alive but just barely. Shooting him was the most "humane" solution. I didn't look at him for obvious reasons. I feel incredibly bad. If I had just gotten him in the pen.....but the baby was fussy, and my kids needed to eat dinner, I was tired. Excuses. Now I'm writhing with guilt. I will not get any more goats after my latest rash of death.
It has been said that mountain lions no longer exist in Oklahoma. That has been disproven recently: http://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/article.aspx?subjectid=25&articleid=20111103_25_B2_TheOkl104743 . I've also noticed that almost any "old timer" I have questioned about this subject has at least one story. The old men who farm around my area may be prone to exaggeration, but not prone to full-on lies. Despite all the death, and fear this creature in our midst has caused, I am still intrigued. I'm glad that I live in a place where something so wild and wonderful exists.