The search for a mountain lion believed responsible for attacking a Northern California man on July 1, as he slept alone in the wilderness, has been called off.
"It had been several days since they saw any tracks," Mike Taugher, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Game, explained to the Sacramento Bee."They never picked up a hot scent."
Mountain lions, also called cougars, are famously elusive. But this particular animal -- a female, based on DNA testing of evidence recovered at the attack site -- has been almost phantom-like.
She eluded a team of dogs and 10 strategically placed web-cameras placed on trails near where the attack occurred. Yet, the tracking team did tree a male mountain lion during the search.
The attack occurred along Shady Creek, a tributary of the Yuba River's south fork.
The victim, whose identity has not been disclosed, is a 63-year-old man who told the DFG that he felt a paw pressed to his head at about 1 a.m.
He was startled, and that might have cause the cougar to bite and scratch him before disappearing into the darkness.
The man drove himself to a hospital and was treated for severe wounds, then released.
This was only the 15th documented mountain lion attack on a human in California since 1890, according to DFG records.
It remains unclear what the DFG planned to do with the animal if it had been captured.