Rural Wyoming Trail Cam Catches Rare Video Of Mountain Lion With Kittens

Wyoming resident Donald Harris got a rare treat on one of his trail cameras Saturday — a momma mountain lion with three kittens in tow.

Mark Heinz

January 02, 20243 min read

A trio of young mountain lions caught on a rural Wyoming trail camera.
A trio of young mountain lions caught on a rural Wyoming trail camera. (Courtesy Donald Harris)

One of the things Donald Harris appreciates most about rural Wyoming living is the abundance of wildlife, but seeing one of his favorite creatures, the mountain lion, has eluded him.

“You rarely see them in person. They don’t like people,” said Harris, who lives in rural Laramie County.

He’s spotted, deer, moose, occasional elk and other critters around his place, so Harris decided to start putting up trail cameras at a few key points to see what images he could catch.

His efforts paid off huge Saturday when one of his cameras caught clear video of a mother mountain lion with and assortment of three cubs in tow.

The cameras are motion-sensitive and, “I figure that the tail of the first cat going by must have kicked the camera on, and caught the footage of all of them,” he told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.

Knowing Where To Look

Harris is an avid outdoorsman, but admits he didn’t know much about the habits of mountain lions when he started setting out trail cameras.

He consulted a wildlife expert he knows for advice.

“He told me, ‘You ever see a bunch of pine cones or pine needles scraped up into a pile, and your dog sticks its nose into it and won’t let it be? That’s probably a mountain lion scrape,’” Harris said.

He found such spots, as well as some promising-looking game trails, and started setting his cameras out accordingly.

He started getting some decent photos and videos of mountain lions.

But he never expected to catch a full quartet of them all at once.

“Mountain lions usually have at least two kittens, because the survival rate for the kittens in the wild is low,” he said.

Three at once is rarity, though. What’s more, the kittens seem to have grown to an age where they have better chances of survival, he added.

Harris said he showed the video to his wildlife expert friend, who estimated them to be up to 6 months old.

“Mother mountain lions will drag their kittens around with them until the kittens are about 2 years old,” Harris said.

Appreciates The Big Cats

With the abundance of mountain lions around, Harris said that he and his wife are cautious, but not afraid.

They take reasonable precautions – such as never going out at night without lights and keeping their dog close.

But Harris said he appreciates the mountain lions and the part they play in nature’s balance.

“Around here, they’re the top predators,” he said. “There is CWD (chronic wasting disease) present in deer herds in Laramie and Albany County, and we need predators to keep the herds trimmed down.”

Deer infected with CWD can become weak, slow and disoriented, making them easier targets for mountain lions.

There haven’t been any documented cases of CWD spreading to humans that have consumed meat from infected game animals. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Wyoming Game and Fish Department recommend against eating meat from infected animals.

Harris said he’s concerned enough about CWD that he choses to hunt deer and elk elsewhere in Wyoming, and he’s grateful for every sickened deer that mountain lions eliminate.

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter