Cougar treed in Fairview
captured, but had broken
leg, had to be euthanized
By Robert Stevens
Jan. 18, 2018
FAIRVIEW—A tenacious cougar fought until the end in a Fairview tree until captured by wildlife resource officers.
In the process, the animal was tranquilized, roped and, finally, caged. Sadly, the animal was discovered to have a broken front leg—which is hypothesized as one of the reasons it was down from the mountains and prowling in town.
After assessment by Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) biologists, the big cat had to be euthanized.
It all began on Friday night, Jan. 12, when DWR Sgt. Matt Briggs responded to an emergency call about a cougar in a tree at a Fairview home.
The cougar—a 2-3-year-old male weighing approximately 150 lbs., according to DWR officers—had lodged itself up in a tall tree on the property of Rodney and Janice Brinkerhoff, 255 S. 100 East.
Janice and many others in the neighborhood got to watch the spectacle.
“I never really felt scared,” she said, “but there were a lot of people in my front yard.”
Briggs called in for backup DWR officers from Spanish Fork so a tranquilizer gun could be utilized to subdue the big cat.
When the backup arrived, the officers landed a solid hit on the animal’s hip, Janice said, but right after, the cat leaped higher into the tree—climbing further out of reach from the DWR officers.
To take away the cougar’s advantage of holding the higher ground, the officers brought a CentraCom bucket truck onto the scene. One who had experience with the animals went up in the bucket to try to secure the big cat with a lariat—a noose on a long pole.
Janice said the officers were able to get the cougar secured with the lariat and into the truck’s bucket, but as they brought the animal to the ground it slipped out of the lariat and ran for cover under the bucket truck, where it lay down, heavily sedated.
With careful coaxing, Briggs and the other officers were able to cover the cougar with a tarp and from there move it into a cage. The animal was taken away for assessment by DWR officials.
“It was certainly exciting,” Janice said.
Briggs says the animal could have been in town prowling for easy prey due to its broken leg, which Briggs says was a pre-existing condition when the DWR officers arrived to manage the tree-lodged cougar. If it had been totally healthy, it is possible it may never have ranged down from its usual hunting grounds and ended up in the Brinkerhoff’s tree.