If the hikers who spotted the mountain lion on the Turkey Creek Trail had ventured a little farther off course, they might have spotted zombies, dinosaur and moose, too.
That from Don Ferguson, corporate secretary of the Austin Archery Club.
Several hikers who struck out on the trail at Emma Long Metropolitan Park just after noon on Sunday thought they saw a mountain lion near the top of a mesa. Park rangers on Wednesday discovered that they had encountered a three-dimensional foam archery target depicting a cheetah on the adjacent archery range.
The news had readers wondering if they were in danger of flying arrows when they hike on the trail, part of Emma Long Metropolitan Park.
The answer is no, if they stay on the correct trail.
Ferguson, from the archery club, said that more people have recently started using a gravel pit at the park as a dog run. The hikers apparently wandered onto the range from that area.
He said the property is marked with signs, but the hikers who reported the mountain lion said they didn’t see any notice that they had left the park and entered the archery range.
“As a safety measure we moved the targets further away from the gravel pit and will post additional signs, which were shipped yesterday. The individuals apparently wandered onto the range from that area,” he said.
The club, which has about 300 members, has operated at its current location off of City Park Road for more than 40 years without an accident, he said.
“Targets are placed so shooting is directed back into the range, not out. Anyone who wandered into the ranges would be in back of the shooter and out of harm’s way, but they would be seen if they were in front of a shooter,” he said.
It’s not just people the archers are looking out for. The property is a federal bird preserve and wild animals roam freely, Ferguson says. It’s against the law to hunt on the property.