BIG CAT: DNR Confirms Mountain Lion Sighting

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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a picture taken by a trail camera in Madison County is that of a mountain lion.

The photo was taken on October 13th, just before 7:00 p.m. on a farm in rural Madison County. The photo was sent to Channel 13 by Jerry England and William Powell. They say it was taken on their farm about 10 miles north of Winterset.


Courtesy: William Powell and Jerry England

The Iowa DNR says the mountain lion is a two to three year old male and likely traveled to Iowa from South Dakota.

The DNR also says it expects to have fewer mountain lions in Iowa in the future, because hunting limits for the big cat in South Dakota are being raised.

According to the DNR, more than 1,000 mountain lion sightings have been reported since 2000 but most could not be verified. More than 95% of sightings reported are of mistaken identity – such as bobcats or some dogs that share the same coloring.

The DNR says three mountain lions have been confirmed killed in Iowa since August 2001. One of those was found in a Des Moines neighborhood in 2012.

The DNR offers these safety tips if you come across a mountain lion:

1) DON’T RUN! Running will stimulate certain animals to chase you (like a dog that wants to bite you, especially if you run).

2) Stand tall, look big, puff up, and lift your coat over your shoulders.

3) Take control of the situation. Scream loudly, throw objects.

4) Gather children in close and slowly back away keeping your eye of the animal.

5) If attacked, fight back vigorously with sharp objects and poke the eyes of the animal.


  • yep

    All of these rednecks saying “kill em” get a clue. Nearly every state wesr of us has cougars and they don’t try to kill every one they see. I’m a hunter but shooting one animal for a reason like “I’m afraid for my kuds” just clueless. Ya think people in Colorado live in fear of cougars and bears? No

  • justin tigges

    We had one in our yard in DSM last year. About a week later it was killed and on the news. My wife was taking our dog outside and saw it. It hissed at her and the dog but didn’t do anything. I think its a beautiful animal. Hopefully it has a taste for all the raccoons that are always in our yard causing a ruckus:)

  • marion

    Nobody said to kill it. I think that it is good information to have, especially with dear hunting season upon us. Makes everyone out there be aware of their surroundings. Also lets the farmers in the area be aware, because they do have livestock to look after. This area is also close to a local recreation area, where families with children and pets go.

  • Marion Miller

    Nobody said anything about killing it. Thank you for the information, it just reminds us during hunting season to be aware of our surrounding and any danger. It is good information for the local farmers and there families with livestock and children to protect. There is a local recreation area there as well, where families bring their children and pets. It is a rare opportunity to see photos of these beautiful animals, but we need to remember it’s not a kitty cat, it needs to be respected in it’s natural enviroment, The Great Outdoors. Beautiful photo.

  • Bob

    “Likely traveled from Iowa to South Dakota” loosely translated in the Iowa dictionary of politics means “… or it’s one of the cats we released and can’t contain.”

    • Nancy Anderson

      I live South of Fort Dodge and It had rained one night so there were mountain lion prints going through my driveway right in front of my house that I tracked through some of my hayfield. I checked with all the prints from the dnr and other agencies and they are the same size and gate. I have been right in front of a bobcat one night and I just walked backward away from him an he just stood and watched and I never ran in to him again. I have a tree out in the hollow that is shredded from this mountain lion. I stil go mushroom hunting and looking for plants but I always have an eye open on my surroundings an just in case I carry a gun. They have been sited in Lehgh and Dayton to. They travel far and they have a good food supply so they aren’t that bothersome unless they have their babies with them so follow the rules and you shouldn’t have an issue with them. But carry your gun because you never know what might happen and i would rather people don’t take chances.

  • Bob

    I love the enviro tree hugger responses. I just moved back here from Colorado where they have hundreds of square miles of uninhabited land for the lions. Almost every inch of Iowa is used for ag or residential. It should be killed or relocated. They are very dangerous animals. They are strong fast and very intelligent and efficient hunters. A farm would be like old country buffet to a cougar. Cattle, hogs, sheep, chickens pets and kids. They kill children and smaller adults by breaking the spine in a rear attack and drag you off for food. Ask the parents of the 7 year old who was taken from his yard and killed last year in Boulder. I think in the mountains or on open federal lands leave them alone. In central Iowa. Tranquilize them and move them or kill them. The article is correct as for the course of action if you surprise one. If one is hunting you. It will likely kill you if you are alone.

    • Lisa m

      Bob is right. I lived in South Dakota in the black hills. And though sightings are rare they don’t k ow how to handle seeing people. They are predators are very dangerous. Being out of their environment means they could be lost or starving. If it comes down to me or them is shoot in a heartbeat!

  • Dave

    I have ran coon hounds for 38 years along the Iowa river all over the state. My hounds have treed 2 mountain lions. They are a beautiful animal. One night my dogs had one treed as I was walking to the tree and it jump out and ran with in 50 yards from me then went across river. Yes it put the chills down my back. But I will never just shoot one to just be in the news paper. I say give them there space!! They haven’t done harm here. After all they were here first. Take a picture not a shot for bragging rights..

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