The Washington Times - November 5, 2008, 06:14PM

After the Pennsylvania Game Commission said it investigated an alleged mountain lion attack on a Lancaster County resident last month, it quickly said that tests conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab and the East Stroudsburg University in Monroe County determined the samples collected from multiple sites at the scene of the attack tested negative for blood — that is cougar blood, not that belonging to a human.

Tests conducted on a knife that Samuel Fisher, 42, of Sadsbury Township, said he used during the “attack,“ showed human blood and some old deer hair, but nothing that might have belonged to a mountain lion.


The state’s wildlife officials were called to an area where Fisher said he shot at one large cat and then was attacked and injured by a second large cat on Oct. 9.

A Pennsylvania State Police helicopter came to the area to search for whatever it was that Fisher said attacked him. The police used an infrared thermal imaging camera and also employed search dogs specifically trained to find and follow the trail of cats, but the Game Commission said there was no cat activity in the area other than a small house feline.

Now charges may be filed against Fisher for making false or fraudulent statements.

“The Game Commission has no evidence of wild, breeding populations of large cats in Pennsylvania to date,” said Doug Killough, the commission’s Southeast Region director. However, John A. Lutz, the director of the Eastern Puma Research Network in West Virginia, said that it is ridiculous for the Game Commission to deny the existence of mountain lions in Pennsylvania.

“This incident was the first, but the actions of this cougar [tells us] it could be an apparent pet cougar seen roaming the southeastern Lancaster County countryside for months,” said Lutz..

“Repeated cougar sightings have [also] been reported in the Fair Hill area in Cecil County, Md., and Nottingham in southwestern Chester County, Pa., according to residents since July 23,” he added.

Lutz also said that the Delaware Department of Natural Resources can supply proof that cougars were or still are in New Castle and Sussex counties. There’s even a video that shows a cougar crossing a field.

More on deer behavior

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries again has sent warnings to drivers that this is the time of year when deer are particularly active. That means we need to slow down, and I mean s-l-o-w down when in deer country. But just about everywhere you drive these days is deer country, so what to do?

I drive especially slow — to heck with what the drivers behind me think — as I work my way through narrow wood-surrounded country lanes during the night, or morning and early evening hours. If a deer crosses, I come to a complete halt because three or four more might be following a little farther behind. It pays to wait a while.

But if you see a “Deer Crossing” sign, I hope you’re ready to accept the fact that deer can’t read, so they’re likely to cross anywhere they feel like it. They don’t care whether there’s a sign or not.

- Gene Mueller