I write to comment on the fine article by Ned Oliver from Sunday, Sept. 30 concerning the existence or actually the non- existence of a breeding population of mountain lions in Berkshire County. My "Field Guide to the Mammals" states " Its habitat is rugged m o u n t a i n s , f o r e s t s and swamps, feeds largely on deer and may move only 70 to 100 miles from its birthplace." The habitat description does fit our region quite well. The guide also offers an illustrated population map showing no breeding populations existing east of the Rockies except for a known population center in southern Florida.
The state wildlife biologist declares that all the sightings plus the cat that was hit by a car in Milford, Ct., are of transients. They are just mountain lions passing through. I looked up transients and they are described as one who only stays a short time just passing through somewhat tourist like. So there is a good chance the mountain lions will head back to the existing population in Florida.
I can see them staying through the summer. It was a delightful Tanglewood season as the weather was perfect. Jacob's Pillow was awesome as well. If the lions do indeed just pass through then maybe I can start making left-hand turns in Lee and maybe I can sit and have my coffee at the general store instead of getting it to go. But maybe they will stay the winter. We have treated them pretty well. God knows we have not shot at any of them and there are plenty of deer for them to eat (except in Zone 2). My wife, myself and two of my neighbors have seen the transient lions this summer on our street in Becket. My wife has seen the transient tourist lions many times and God knows, I am not going to tell her any different. And I am not going to tell the state biologist he is wrong either. He is from the government and we all know they are always right too. What's a guy to do? Just call me, "stuck in the middle in Becket."
MARK A. HANFORD Becket