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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Cougar pictures making rounds

February 04, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Here we go again. First came the bear under the combine. Now we’ve got a mountain lion photographed on a back porch of someone who lives in ... Findlay, Ill. Or is it Pennsylvania? Or Missouri? Or Oklahoma? Or Virginia? Or any of the many places someone has falsely claimed the following pictures were taken.

Illinois Outdoors

Illinois Outdoors

Illinois Outdoors

The Findlay one is the latest I’ve seen (several times in the past week). The bogus e-mail I got read:

“Thank GOD for the plate glass in the door! And, wouldn’t this mess up your whole night if you were to take out the trash at the wrong time? These are from a guy out at Findlay, Illinois. The pictures were taken from his kitchen onto his patio deck. The critter was watching his little kids playing on the kitchen floor! Findlay is about 25 miles South of Dalton City between Westervelt and Sullivan. IDNR has introduced these in Shelby County to manage the deer herd, but claims that the animals will not harm humans.”

Hmm. I wonder how rumors get started. The truth in the matter, at least as close as I can find to the truth, is available at, which said the pictures were actually taken in Wyoming in 2001 or 2002. I had already posted these once on this blog a year ago, but feel compelled to do the same in order to refute the claims these are proof of another big cat in Illinois. Hey, such a cat might be out there. But bogus pictures taken out west don’t prove a thing.

Click here to read Virgina outdoor writer Mark Taylor’s column on the subject.


Somebody forwarded me an e-mail with a brochure from Missouri entitled “Cougar Hysteria: Addressing mountain lion mania in the Midwest and East.” Here is the publication (Cougar_Hysteria.pdf), which offers some interesting reading and good tips on how to judge pictures of “big cats.”

The Missouri publication included the following explanation of these photos:

“Circulating the Internet, these photographs of a cougar on a patio deck have been attached to stories claiming the images came from New York or Pennsylvania. The photographs were actually taken in Lander, Wyoming, by Dr. Dave Rodgers. Wyoming is a western state with a population of several thousand cougars. Dr. Rodgers lives in a riparian corridor with a good cougar habitat and plenty of deer, so sightings are not surprising in the area.”




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