Bowhunter Shoots “Lion” on Georgia WMA:

GON Staff | October 31, 1993

The reaction was disbelief when on Sept. 28, 1993 a Brunswick man claimed he had shot a “lion” while bowhunting at Paulks Pasture WMA. Unfortunately, it was no joke. Sort of… It’s wasn’t a lion, but a man had shot a western cougar that had been released in north Florida as part of a wildlife study.

The 27-year-old man contacted Glynn County police and reported that he had shot the lion. Fred Todd with WRD met the man at the scene but found no evidence the story was legitimate.

The next day the man showed up at the Brunswick WRD office with the arrow he said was used to shoot the lion, which he described as a female because it didn’t have a mane.

WRD called Florida Game & Fish to see if any of the radio-collared western cougars they had released as part of the study were in the area of Paulks Pasture, north of Brunswick. Sure enough, one of the Florida cats was in the area.

On Sept. 29, hounds were used to tree the cougar, and it was darted with a tranquilizer gun.

The cougar, a young male, was transported to Florida and treated for a superficial wound from where the arrow had penetrated just above the backbone and passed through the cat.

Biologists decided that the cougar had established a range on Paulks Pasture, and that if he was released anywhere else, he would just return. On Oct. 8, the cat was transported back to Paulks Pasture and released again.

A total of 10 western cougars were originally released in Florida’s Pinhook Swamp area in Baker County, Fla. The study was an effort to determine if the region is suitable for establishing a wild population of the endangered Florida panther.

Another one of the study cougars was shot and killed with an arrow in Echols County near Tarver.

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