Several mountain lion attacks put an end to this farmer’s 30 year tradition.
John Locatelli has owned sheep for over 30 years, but he surprisingly gave up this lifestyle after a detrimental event last year. His entire herd was killed by a mountain lion.
In under two days, one mountain lion killed nine of his sheep. When he called the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the mountain lion could not be found. Locatelli didn’t give up, and instead acquired some more sheep, a guard dog, and kept the sheep in an enclosure at night, thinking that would work.
The mountain lion hadn’t travelled far and soon came back to kill three more of the new sheep. After that, John Locatelli sold his two remaining sheep and the dog. Even after setting traps, he never saw the mountain lion.
Special Permit to Kill Mountain Lions
While hunting mountain lions in California is illegal, you can get a special permit for these kinds of situations. You have limited time and radius to kill the cat. This is put in place to protect the small farmer and prevent trophy hunting.
Locatelli isn’t the only small farmer experience big cat problems. Susan McCrary-Huff has had 10 of her goats killed in the last five years.
Since 2010, all eight of the mountain lions that were killed with special permits were males.