Mountain Lion Sighting in East Haddam, Again

Animal Control Officer Mike Olzacki is asking for your help in tracking sightings of mountain lions in East Haddam. A recent call reported one in Moodus.


Back in October of last year, East Haddam Animal Control Officer Michael Olzacki was on his way to a residential animal-control call when he spotted what he says was a just off Route 149 and Creek Row, along the power-line corridor.

"I was shocked to see the animal in East Haddam; really shocked," Olzacki said at the time. Since then, he has continued to get “numerous reports of a mountain lion in our area.”

As recent as two Sundays ago, Olzacki said a resident reported a mountain lion sighting “between Moodus Auto Center and the senior housing.”

After decades of reports, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), however, has only been able to confirm one mountain lion sighting in the state; the one last year where a mountain lion was .

The process for confirming a mountain lion sighting through DEEP includes positive identification such as a body, photographic evidence or track identification. is also analyzed for possible identification.

Mountain lions have a rounded face, are tawny in color and have a distinguishable long, heavy tail. They are large predators weighing anywhere from 80 to 180 pounds. The mountain lion has been called cougar, puma, catamount and sometimes panther. Along with animals like deer, coyotes and raccoons, mountain lions like to prey on small livestock such as chickens and goats, hunting at night or in the early hours of the morning.

Olzacki believes what he saw in October was identifiable as a mountain lion and is currently looking for information on additional possible sightings from residents. He can be reached at 860-790-0574.

What do you think? Have you spotted what might be a mountain lion in East Haddam? Or, could it have been another large animal?


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Belle April 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM
And what is the plan for it when you find it?!!! Is it safe to assume you people will kill it. SHAME, SHAME.....
dick parker April 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Past summer saw mountain lion 2 days in a row in morning--not questionable-- coming out of power lines just before circle at 82 & 151 in East Haddam (now closed restaurant). Dick Parker
Michael Hayes (Editor) April 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Does no one have a camera?
Pam Rubenbauer April 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I think Belle is right. Once it is confirmed, there will be erstwhile "hunters" out there looking for a trophy. Leave this poor animal alone if indeed it's out there. I know it must be a thrill to see it, if that's what is being seen. But this cougar and other wild animals were here long before we were. It doesn't seek out humans intentionally. Has anyone reported their backyard chickens being taken? How about other small animals, cats, small dogs? Surely, this animal is opportunistic. It wouldn't pass up an easy meal. Go online and read about its behavior patterns, and use common sense. But leave this animal alone. Live and let live.
Ex Republican April 26, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Don't forget Mr. Fox. He loves chickens and cats!
Chico's Bail Bonds April 26, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Saw one cross 154 by the pilot house last summer. No doubt.
Wendy Vincent April 26, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I should remind folks that Hunting mountain lions is illegal. The animal is on the endangered species list and people caught hunting mountain lions will be fined and potentially serve jail time. Also, if you see one, please do not try to approach it! Instead, grab your camera and zoom in!
Pam Rubenbauer April 26, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Since when does legality play into hunting trophy fervor? Most true hunters are responsible but there are a few whom you wouldn't consider "hunter," and it's this group I refer to. I don't think CT has a specific mountain lion regulation on the books. Please advise if we do. Not that it would deter someone from committing an illegal act.
Wendy Vincent April 26, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I have a message into to the DEEP to get the specifics about what is officially on the books. A representative I spoke with last October had indicated that it was illegal, but let me confirm details for you.
Belle April 26, 2012 at 03:24 PM
It will not matter...too many people "too afraid of it" and someone will find an excuse to destroy it. Now, now, if it was now spotted by Moodus Auto...we have the Sr. Center, a daycare, the elementary school, our animals, our children... blah, blah. It will surely meet an ill-fate...Sounds like its headed my way....yup there's a cow farmer over here and I know DARN WELL...what those boys will do to it!
Emil T. April 26, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Emil T. 11:54 am on Thursday, April 26, 2012 I would like to remind everyone that hunters are in favor of the laws and in conservation. The other offenders that you refer to are not hunters, but simply poachers. There is a big differnece, dont get us confused. A hunter....
Pam Rubenbauer April 26, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Emil, You are quite right. I stand corrected. But I think I qualified my statement by using the term, responsible. I know many hunters but no poachers, at least, I hope not. I hope poachers will leave this beautiful, wild creature alone.
JH April 26, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Having lived in South Dakota (Cat country) for 3 years, and being an avid outdoorsmen even though South Dakota had a hunting season for Big Cats, I never ever saw one, saw plenty of sign they were around but they are extremely elusive, and unless food is scarce in the wild they stay well away from mankind... the "Old Wive's tale" of They are more afraid of you than you are of it, definitely applies to Mountain Lions, and unless the game is scarce, or the Animal is sick, good luck finding one, even in these urbanized rural environments of Connecticut. However, that being said, because the chance of the animal being sick, and not afraid of you, be wary when walking in the woods, especially do not try and Run from it, you run, you trigger their instinct that you are now Prey, and they can and do kill humans
Skeptic April 26, 2012 at 07:18 PM
JH, you were making so much sense and then threw your lot in with these kookar-kooks who believe this tripe. Tell them how tiny Connecticut's "open spaces" are. Not much snow last winter, but in a snowy winter there'd be plenty of tracks, but nobody ever seems to find them.
Ilene Coman April 26, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Wendy, it doesn't matter if it's illegal to kill mountain lions....look at the 80 plus year old man who killed the mama black bear recently because she was raiding his bird feeder. He got arrested but it wasn't taken very seriously. The judge let him off the hook without having to answer for what he did. It doesn't matter what age the man is, he shouldn't have gotten away with killing an animal that wasn't even threatening his life in any way. He took a life because he didn't like the mama bear bothering his bird feeder...a very poor excuse, especially when it's illegal to kill bears in CT! Since the man got away with it, it pretty well proves that the state's laws against killing certain wildlife aren't taken seriously. The bear killer's age shouldn't have mattered. He knew exactly what he was doing when he shot the bear, who was traveling with her cub. And because he got away with it, other people will probably follow his lead, shooting black bears when they aren't hurting anyone. If there is indeed a mountain lion in East Haddam, it wouldn't matter if it's illegal to shoot them, you know that there will be those who will relish the thought of being the one to kill it! It's a shame but that's the way it is! If we're lucky enough to have a mountain lion in our town and state, it should be left alone!!!
Emil T. April 26, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Hello.. I hope so too; there is no need to hunt this animal at this time. I would love an opportunity to actually see one. The one first seen here in East Haddam, came thru the back end of my property line. I look every day, hopping to get a glimpse of one, but I have to be realistic. I think that they have been here for many, many years. All my life, here in Connecticut, there have been many reports of these animals; so I do believe there is a small population here, in spite of the State claiming that they are not resident in CT. As a hunter I consider anyone not obeying the Fish and game laws of the State of CT (or any other State) as a poacher who should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I do believe that we are going to have trouble with our bear population because people are not going to be responsible with their garbage and the bear is going to be at fault when an accident happens, not the ignorant people who will leave trash around to confuse the bear… he will always take advantage of an easy meal.
Pam Rubenbauer April 26, 2012 at 08:30 PM
First off, Belle, Colman, JH, you all got it right. Skeptic, where have you been? Very few April snow storms. So, let's assume for arguement's sake that we DO have a mountain lion in our tiny patch of open space. What do we do? Let it live as JH says, elusively and avoiding human contact? Or do we hunt it down and kill it like that foolish old man bear killer in West Hartford? He should have seen the inside of a jail. Anyway, let's enjoy these discussions and let the big cat take out a few deer, raccoons, possums and live out its existence in our tiny state. It's nature. Remember? It's nice to think we're not so urbanized that diverse wildlife can't exist here any longer. I hope it walks through my property. I'd love to see it. In fact, I'm keeping my camera ready, flash and all. I'm on the case.
Emil T. April 26, 2012 at 08:39 PM
I have my camera ready too... Would be a nice treat to get a photo. I feel the same way; I want the wood to be woods and full of adventure. I would love to see the wolf back also. I was lucky enough on a hunting trip to Canada to got a very close up photo of a timber wolf. Glad that I packed a camera in my back pak... I look at frequently and enjoy it very much.
Skeptic April 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Who said snow in April? If there are cougars here they wouldn't fly south for the winter, they'd stick around and in a snowy winter there would be tracks. But there haven't been. Nor has anyone found scat or the carcass of a deer or livestock killed by a large predator. But you kookar-kooks can just go on believing whatever it is you want to believe. You do have some entertainment value.
Belle April 27, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Ditto to IIene and Emil T, what a sight it would be to have the opportunity to behold such a creature. Everywhere I have heard of sightings I look so closely into the woods just to get a glimpse. It will be a sad day if someone destroys it and gets away with it.....I certainly would give a peace of my mind to the one that does. PEACE TO THIS BEAUTIFUL CREATURE!
JH April 27, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Skeptic, don't be throwing me into the lot with the nut jobs. The odds of there being one in Connecticut are small, however evidence does point they have been here recently... dead carcass on the side of the road is pretty convincing evidence, and where there is one (nut jobs included) there are usually more than one. So when I do go for a walk in the woods, even if its in the summer, or this fall when I'm out hunting, if I see it, and feel threatened, albiet mankind has tried numerous times to kill me, so it will take a lot to have me feel threatened... I will survive, or I'll be kitten chow
Karen's Dog Training Blog April 28, 2012 at 12:58 PM
If you report sightings to the DEEP, they will keep track of the numbers. At some point, they will use those numbers to try to get a hunting season on them. DEEP collects sightings of black bears and those numbers were used to try to have bear hunting in CT. I would say - report nothing to DEEP -
Skeptic April 28, 2012 at 02:03 PM
The ONE killed in CT was shown by DNA testing to be one that had migrated from South Dakota and had been in Minnesota and Wisconsin, leaving scat, tracks and tufts of hair that were recovered. It then diesappeared for a while before turning up in one of the most densely populated parts of the country, where it was spotted several times in a few days. Nobody can explain how it travelled over a thousand miles, of necessity through some heavily populated areas, withou ever once being seen or leaving any sign. Only logical explanation would be that it was illegally trapped and transported and then escaped or was released. The person who had trapped it would have been looking at serious jail time, to they just slunk away rather than reporting what happened. There is no resident, breeding population in the northeast, people who have no clue what they're talking about just like to think there is.
Skeptic April 28, 2012 at 02:04 PM
How young was the guy she was with?
Skeptic April 28, 2012 at 02:05 PM
In point of fact, probably 80% of people over age 15 are carrying camera phones every waking hour, but somehow there's never a picture.
Belle April 29, 2012 at 01:17 PM
REPORT NOTHING PERIOD!!!! Keep the sighting to yourself and consider it a blessing that we may be one of the few to see it alive.....I fear we will see a photo of it laying on the ground with the shooter and their "BIG OLE' GRIN"... :((
Pam Rubenbauer April 29, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Chickens and cats are not as rare as mountain lions. If a resident is sincere in his/her effort to protect his/her livestock/pets, there are ways to do this.
Pam Rubenbauer April 29, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I'm with you Belle, but also with the person who asked the obvious question; doesn't anyone have a camera or a cell phone with photographic option? I'm just concerned that if we do have a lion in our woods, someone somewhere will take it upon themselves to kill it for the recognition it would bring. Human nature, as much as we disdain that aspect of it. I'll say it again, Live and let live.


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