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Coto Teen Photographer Captures Cougar with Canon

The Department of Fish and Game warden who faced a male mountain lion in Coto de Caza on July 26 was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun.

When Alex Krafcik encountered what's suspected to have been a female lion a few hours earlier, the 14-year-old was armed with a Canon XTI digital camera. (See his published photo at

Both took aim, shot and hit their mark. The boy's sighting of a lion was one of several. On July 26, two 70-pound mountain lions were seen near the Coto De Caza Golf & Racquet Club at about 10:30 p.m. When the two big cats approached state Fish and Game wardens, one cat was shot and killed.

Krafcik and his family got a call from a neighbor at approximately 7:30 p.m. about a mountain lion outside his house, which borders the 12th green on the club's south course.

"I went downstairs to take pictures with it with my camera and went outside and took pictures of it from there," Krafcik said. "I just felt like it was an opportunity for me to go out there and take pictures of something that I knew I would probably never see again."

Krafcik snapped approximately 34 pictures from a distance of 25 feet.

"I wasn't really scared or anything because (the lion) just seemed to be really calm and kind of reserved," he said. Krafcik said the lion eventually got up and wandered away down the golf course.

The next morning, with his father's urging, Krafcik sent pictures of the lion to The Orange County Register. Television stations featured Krafcik on the evening news.

"I wasn't even going to send it in, but my dad told me that I should send it in to the OC Register and I ended up getting to this," Krafcik said. "It was pretty exciting. I thought it was a good experience."