In this time of mountain lion hysteria gone amok in North Dakota, a free pamphlet about our state's largest resident carnivores should be mandatory reading.
Available from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the 16-page color photo-laden pamphlet includes sections on cougars' history in the state, a size comparison to a bobcat, a section comparing mountain lion tracks and dog tracks, plus sections on the cats' behavior that ranges through their habitat and hunting, social and breeding patterns.
For those folks afraid to venture into remote areas out of fear of being attacked by these predators, there is a section on living with lions that includes a list of things to do and, more importantly, not do if they happen upon a lion.
Here are a few excerpts:
* "Yes, North Dakota has mountain lions."
* "Mountain lion tracks are 3-5 inches long, and generally wider than they are long."
* "... As the claws almost always show in the tracks, dog tracks generally are longer than they are wide."
* "Generally, mountain lions are solitary animals."
* "Generally, mountain lions avoid people. They prefer to live in remote and undeveloped country."
The pamphlet may not provide all of the answers, especially for the "They're everywhere! They're everywhere!" mindset, but its recent publication certainly is more informative than all of the rumors floating around out there.
(Reach outdoor writer Richard Hinton at 250-8256 or richard.hinton@;bismarcktribune.com.)