Viral video shows risky release of trapped mountain lion

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RAPID CITY—A video that shows the release of a trapped mountain lion has gone viral. According to the Rapid City Journal, it all started when Dan Casey decided to introduce his sons to the art of trapping.

Experienced outdoorsman, Casey, led his sons, Hunter and Carson, to a forested area not far from their home in South Dakota. Casey told the Rapid City Journal that he figured by placing some canned clams inside the cage-like trap, he’d be able to lure in a fox or bobcat.

When the Casey family returned to the trap, their plan was to release whatever was inside. However, the trap contained an angry mountain lion. While Casey didn’t want to tangle with the big cat, he knew he needed to release it because trapping mountain lions is illegal in South Dakota.

“We will hopefully release her without getting mauled,” Casey said in a video. “Because as you can see, she is unhappy.”

As Casey’s wife and sons waited in the truck, filming the action, he went about freeing the mountain lion. Initially, he used sticks to prop up the trap’s locking mechanism. Then, with the door freely hanging on its hinges, he wedged a stick under it to give the mountain lion a clear avenue for escape.

Casey slowly walked to the rear of the trap and waited for the mountain lion to make its move. Most people would be reluctant to have nothing separating them from an irate predator, but Casey said that he felt confident that the mountain lion wouldn’t attack.

Sure enough, after surveying the situation, the cat bounded from the trap and into the trees.

Mike Kintigh, of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks, told the Rapid City Journal that Casey handled the situation well. Kintigh said it’s best to enlist the help of a state officer because they’re trained in release techniques and are also armed with tranquilizer guns.

Casey’s wife said she has a theory for why the video has gone viral.

“They’re probably more interested in the crazy person in front of the cage, rather than the mountain lion," she said.

About the Author: Grant Olsen -----------------------------

Grant Olsen joined the contributor team in 2012. He covers outdoor adventures, travel, product reviews and other interesting things. You can contact him at

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