Eureka residents have been feeling on the uneasy side since last week when a mountain lion was spotted in town as early as Monday, Sept. 30.
Eureka County Sheriff Ken Jones received word of two credible sightings of the large cat around the area of the lower ball field at the Eureka Little Field. Jones confirmed those reports when he ventured out in that area and spotted the lion himself.
“I personally saw a lion within an hour and a half of showing up at the ball field on Monday,” Jones said.
By Tuesday morning, orange flyers were seen around the community notifying the public of the sightings, while advising them to keep their children supervised and pets secure until the situation was resolved.
While it’s not unusual for mountain lions to move in this area, this particular one was not aggressive and wasn’t seen for at least 36 hours after the initial sighting.
That’s before Jones saw it again on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
“I saw the lion for the second time on Wednesday in the same area,” he said. “I was very confident that this was the same animal that we saw on Monday.”
There were reports of outdoor recess being cancelled at the elementary school during the week, as well as one local team’s soccer practice. Another rumor was that armed citizen’s stood watch over an outdoor sporting event, while the Nevada Department of Wildlife was nowhere to be found.
“NDOW has been notified through our office throughout the week of everything that had transpired in town,” Jones said. “And on Thursday (Oct. 3) I advised the school superintendent to not have the kids out on that day.”
The towns’ anxiety seemed to be calming down after the lion disappeared for two days after the Wednesday sighting, but they were back on alert on Saturday when it was seen again at the same place.
And this time it wasn’t alone.
“As of Saturday morning we had contact with a female lion and her two kittens at the ball field,” Jones said. “I deployed myself and our Sheriff Deputies to the area. With fear of the resident’s safety with these three cats in town, I discharged my rifle in the area of the mountain lions and did not hit them.”
The shots seemed to have startled the large animals enough to leave the area, as Jones said on Tuesday that they haven’t seen them since that day.
“We’ve had no additional sightings with the mountain lions since our encounter with them on Saturday,” he said. “I’m confident that they have moved on.”
Before last week, the last time a mountain lion was reported in the area was roughly a year ago according to Jones. That cat was eventually killed by a motor vehicle on the highway.