Family catches mountain lion in a fox trap

mountain lion

Family trapped a mountain lion instead of a fox. Dan Casey endures tense moments releasing the angry animal. Photo is a screen grab

A father attempting to teach his boys about trapping got a little more than he bargained for when instead of a fox they had hoped to catch and release they caught an angry mountain lion.

What Dan Casey did next was either courageous or crazy, depending on your point of view. He went to open the trap to release the wild cougar.

With his wife and two boys--Hunter, 10, and Carson, 9--watching from the safety of a pickup and his wife videotaping, Casey cautiously began opening the trap, enduring some tense moments along the way:

Casey and the boys set up the cage-like trap in a wooded area 300 yards from their house west of Rapid City, South Dakota, according to the Rapid City Journal.

They used a bigger cage lined with straw to ensure whatever they caught would be comfortable until they came to release it. They covered the trap with sticks and branches to disguise it, and baited it with canned clams.

Casey grew up on a fur farm so he had experience dealing with lynxes, bobcats, foxes, and an occasional wolf. So he’s no stranger to wild animals.

When they returned the next morning to check the trap, they found the mountain lion.

fox trap

The moment the mountain lion cautiously started stepping out of the trap. Photo is a screen grab from the video

"We will hopefully release her without getting mauled because as you can see, she is unhappy," Casey says near the start of the video.

Several times, the mountain lion hissed, lunged, and swiped a paw at Casey as he worked to unhook washer-like rings that dropped down to secure both sides of the door when the mountain like went into the trap, according to the Rapid City Journal.

Not only did Casey flinch, but so did his wife, Justin, evidenced by the jump in the video.

"My heart jumped a little bit," Dan told the Journal. "I wasn't really worried about getting mauled, but it definitely made me realize again that this was a wild animal...

"I wasn't real nervous, but I also don't want to recommend this to people. I don't want people to think there's nothing to fear. But 99 percent of the time, they're not going to bother you."

Fortunately, on this occasion, the mountain lion was more interested in returning to the wild than taking a bite out of its captors. Once Casey propped up the opening to the trap, the mountain lion eventually stepped out and pranced off into the wild.

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