The Foot Doctor

At the age of 67, I learned that Podiatrists have value. With a really bad ankle that I broke in a car accident 46 years prior, an occasional cortisone shot sometimes makes life bearable. A rub down of athlete’s foot cream doesn’t hurt and cutting rock hard toenails is a real benefit.

My doctor is not an outdoorsman, but he likes to ask me questions. Often he asks about mountain lions. I suppose he asks because I’m the only person he knows who has ever seen a mountain lion.

I’m now 68 and still going, he is of similar age to me and he has asked me lots of outdoor questions about hunting and mountain lions, in fact they are one of his favorite subjects.

He lives on the edge of town and there has been mountain lion activity in his neighborhood.

On my visit today, we talked about my toenail fungus, possible ankle surgery and mountain lions.

His first mountain lion question was fairly well-developed.

“Do you think that there will ever be a change to the law that makes mountain lions endangered?” he asked.

“Mountain lions are not endangered in California, just fully protected,” I responded. “Lions are extremely sneaky. When they hear a person coming, they hide and peak from behind a bush or rock. The public knows nothing about lions,”

What I didn’t say is that a lion will hide until the person is gone, or obviously sees them, which seldom happens. If a lion catches your eye at close range, it will stare at you fearlessly or run to the nearest bush. If it stares at you, you will look for something to shoot it with, in self-defense.

“OK, do you think public pressure will cause them to be hunted again?”

“The public knows nothing about mountain lions,” I responded. “The issue is purely political. The public knows nothing.”

Then he said something vague about the public being mislead.

Atwoods trip 041

Nice house guest.

I told him that even people who spend a lot of time in the woods almost never see a lion. Very few people know anything substantial about lions. The fully protected status of California lions only makes the problem worse.

There is no management of lions in our state. There is no money to manage lions. It’s as if lions don’t exist. That’s the way it will be until something changes and that is not likely to happen.

If you want to see a mountain lion, go somewhere where they’re hunted.