Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer Rob Howe was on the phone getting directions from a colleague when he captured a rare sight.
He had lost cellphone reception while on the job patrolling and watching elk hunters in the backcountry near Victor, in Eastern Idaho, and had pulled off the road so he could hear his colleague better. That’s when he saw a predator cooly walking down the road in front of him.
“My God, it’s a mountain lion,” Howe said, according to a press release from Idaho Fish and Game.
Mountain lions are fairly common in Idaho, but are reclusive and often go unnoticed.
Howe had seen cougars before, caught in traps or treed by hunters, but had never seen one walking around its territory. He said part of him would have liked to just watch the cat and not record it, but he wanted to share the rare encounter with others.
“I don’t expect that to happen again. It’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said. “Chalk it up to bad cell coverage.”