Cougar killed 90 miles west of Illinois
UPDATE: Cougar is a male, not a female as first reported.
DES MOINES - A mountain lion was shot near Marengo, Monday afternoon, by a deer hunter participating in Iowa’s second shotgun season.
Raymond Goebel, Jr., of Cedar Rapids, was hunting with a group, 4 miles southwest of Marengo, which is located west of Iowa City, about 90 miles west of the Illinois border. The group had decided to sit around 3:30 p.m., and watch for deer on the move. Goebel looked over his left shoulder and something caught his eye about 15 yards up in a tree. He looked through the scope on his gun and couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“It is what I thought it is,” Goebel said.
About 30 minutes passed when another hunter in the group a short distance away stood up. Goebel waved him over and pointed to the figure in the tree. After discussions about the legality of shooting it and gaining approval from the landowner, Goebel shot the cat.
Brad Baker, state conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the mountain lion weighed about 125 pounds, and although originally thought to be a female, biologists later confirmed that it was a male. Baker said the condition of the teeth and claws and the lack of markings from ear tags lead him to the conclusion.
Ron Andrews, state furbearer biologist with the Iowa DNR, said all other lions confirmed in Iowa were young males as was this one.
This is the first confirmed sighting in Iowa in more than five years, and the fourth mountain lion killed in Iowa. Mountain lions have no protection in Iowa and while the Iowa DNR does not encourage people killing a lion they come across, it is not against the law.
There had been reports of a mountain lion in the Tama area that Andrews investigated and he said the evidence did not point to a mountain lion, but it was difficult to find because the investigation occurred in the summer. Andrews receives two to three reports of mountain lion sightings per month from across Iowa, but finding confirming evidence is difficult.
These animals in the Midwest travel great distances in a short time looking for other cougars, he said. “They are not here in great numbers,” Andrews said. “But this shooting will likely prompt many additional unconfirmed sightings. Our experience investigating these reports has found that more than 90 percent are mistaken identity for bobcats, yellow-colored dogs or deer, which are the same color as mountain lions.”
Goebel said he plans to have a full body mount of the mountain lion. The DNR will receive the stomach contents, and tissue and blood samples for DNA analysis.