Tracks and an extra snare
On the morning of February 5, 2009 McCain and Smith were joined by their AZGFD co-worker, Michelle Crabb, to check the snares that had been opened/activated the day before. McCain found Macho B’s tracks in Penasco Canyon approximately 200 meters away from the first snare in the canyon (there were three total). The tracks were estimated to be three weeks old coinciding with the date of the jaguar picture retrieved the day before. McCain said he gave Smith and Crabb instruction on how to prepare for a jaguar capture. He started out by telling them there was a pretty good chance they may catch a jaguar because it was using the area. They discussed the AZGFD capture permit, drugs needed, jaguar capture protocol and that they needed a dart rifle. According to Smith, he set a new snare this day where he saw a lion track which was near the eventual capture site of Macho B. The jaguar tracks were also near this new snare. According to Smith’s estimation, the jaguar and lion tracks were within 200 yards of the snare that caught Macho B. Two additional new snares were added to the general snaring area though not in Penasco Canyon.
McCain said he informed his boss on the snaring project, Ron Thompson, about the possibility of capturing a jaguar. McCain asked him, “what if they caught the jaguar?” and Thompson replied that AZGFD had permits and “if he gets caught, he gets caught.” In addition McCain claims that Thompson asked him if he was comfortable with Smith’s ability to capture a jaguar and McCain replied that Smith was “confident and competent.” Thompson supposedly responded with, “Interesting, that’s not what you told me before.” According to McCain, Thompson thought Smith was a good handler, but not a good trapper, though he ultimately agreed with McCain’s decision.
Later that day McCain sent an email titled, “contact info for trapping efforts at Bear Valley Ranch.” Dan Bell, Jack Childs, Thorry Smith, and a few more redacted names were the recipients. McCain was getting everyone in touch with each other because he was leaving the next day for a vacation.
That night McCain emailed his academic advisor at Humboldt State to brief him on the new pictures retrieved of Macho B and possible funding coming BJDP’s way. In addition he informs him, “And today I found his tracks while I was helping a Game and Fish biologist get started checking my snares. Yes, that is right, we are now running snares exactly where Macho B has been in the last (redacted). No need to talk about this at all until it happen (sic), if it ever does. Game and Fish will officially have caught him inadvertently while working on the lion/bear study. The high-ups in the agency are fully aware of what is happening and we are all on the same page. The timing may be perfect for me to be out of town.”
His advisor responds the following day, “Wow, big news, I sure hope G&F know what they are doing…”