REDDING, Calif. - A Whitmore man captured a rare site on camera, a mountain lion attacking a wild deer on a ranch in French Gulch, footage even the department of Fish and Wildlife found fascinating.
Randy Spade said he wasn't expecting to capture the scene last week but was excited to share his passion for nature and posted the video on YouTube.
"We just got lucky as far as being able to catch everything and have it perfectly framed. When I put the chip in the little pictures come up and I see the picture of the deer and a picture of the mountain lion, but I didn't know if I actually caught the [attack]," said Spade.
In the video you can see the mountain lion creep up on an unsuspecting deer, while drinking from a watering trough, making the final blow in mere seconds.
When Jennifer Carlson a California Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist for the Shasta-Trinity unit saw the video for the first time she though it was impressive.
"To just see the eyes on the lion in the background and just how quickly it moved in on the deer and took it down was the impressive part," said Carlson.
She said mountain lions are not uncommon in the Northstate but added that seeing an attack is rare let alone capturing it on camera. Carlson mentioned mountain lions will typically only attack small prey and the threat to human life was low.
"Lion attacks are very rare. There have been attacks in southern California but up here in the northern region they have been few and far between," said Carlson.
The ranch belongs to a family friend of Spade's who lets him place several cameras to capture wild animals. Spade said this was not the first time he's seen mountain lions and even caught a bear once in January 2012.
There aren't livestock on the ranch but Spade said the watering trough is left over for when there were cattle on the property. He said they have a love-hate relationship with the mountains lions but leave each other alone for now.