A report from an Austin, Texas metropolitan park claimed a mountain lion was on the hiking trail. It turned out to be something else.
Some hikers claimed they saw something you wouldn’t expect to see on a suburban Austin, Texas park earlier this week. Austin Parks Department rangers investigated reports of a mountain lion on a trail at Emma Long Metropolitan Park.
As it turned out, there was no mountain lion, but instead a 3D archery target from the nearby Austin Archery Club. And it wasn’t even a mountain lion, but instead a cheetah, which the Austin Parks and Recreation Department undoubtedly stated with a bit of a smirk.
The hikers seemed adamant they saw what they claimed they saw. Michael Law said he was hiking on Turkey Creek Trail with his wife and dogs when they saw the “animal” about 20 feet away from them.
“It was huge. We thought it was a full-on lion at first,” said Law. “It was the biggest thing, like a Great Dane but twice as heavy.”
He even went as far as to describe the creature as having “a long tail and fur with darker patches. It was standing still and looking at something else.”
“We both did a double take and slowly backed up and then ran for our lives,” Law said. “I think we ran 4 miles at a 7-minute pace. It was nuts.”
You can never be too careful, and we’re likely all familiar with seeing things in the woods that might not be exactly what we think they are.
But still, we’re betting Law feels a little silly after the investigation revealed that it was an archery target. Though mountain lions are known to live throughout Texas, they usually aren’t found that close to high human population areas. Emma Long Park runs alongside the Colorado River, but is surrounded by residential areas and is a little over a mile away from a main highway.