Indiana conservation officers say they encountered the latter when a Shelby County man told them he had photographic evidence of one of the big cats, which biologists say haven’t been confirmed in Indiana.
But it turns out the picture was a fake — and conservation officers aren’t very happy about being the victims of a hoax. They’re now deciding whether the hoaxer broke any laws, but it doesn’t appear that he did.
Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Jet Quillen said the cougar conundrum began earlier this month in the aptly named town of Bengal in western Shelby County.
On Oct. 10, conservation officer Ted Stine was called to investigate a mountain lion sighting, but couldn’t find any evidence a big cat had passed through the site.
But apparently word of the sighting got out. On Wednesday evening, a man gave Stine a picture of a big cat. Quillen said the man told him he’d taken the picture with a remote, motion-activated trail cam on property near the Shelby County sighting.
photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service