Mountain Lions Recently Seen in Iowa — What to do if You Run Into One
There have been several mountain lion sightings in Iowa over the last few months -- one as recent as a week ago.
As reported by APNews, deer hunters found one dead with a broken snare around its neck near Montezuma, in Poweshiek County. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said the nearly 120-pound cat was reported to them. But technically, it's not required to share that information in the state of Iowa.
This is what department wildlife biologist Vince Evelsizer told the Des Moines Register:
It is not required that (mountain) lions be reported to the Iowa DNR. However, we really appreciate it when they are. It helps us all in monitoring their whereabouts and learning more about them.
He added that the DNR will conduct tests on the carcass to try to get more information on the mountain lion’s background.
Another confirmed sighting happened in October this year, just north of Des Moines. It was caught on a security cam by Nancy Wagner Dowart, which she shared with several media outlets.
See for yourself:
Confirmed sightings are incredibly rare in the Hawkeye State and Iowa doesn't have a resident lion population.
Mountain lions have no legal wildlife status in Iowa. That means that they can be taken and possessed by anyone at anytime as long as legal methods and means are used to take the animal. Mountain lions and black bears are not listed in the Iowa Code as designated wildlife species, because they were extirpated before fish and game legislation became prominent.
In the western states, where mountain lions have been present since settlement, between 85% and 95% are considered mistaken identity. In Iowa, it is likely that over 95% of the reports are mistaken identity.
In the last 150 years, just 19 human fatalities have been reported with cougar encounters. None of which have happened in Iowa. Typically, when mountain lions are aware of human presence, they quickly vacate the area.
However, the sightings do happen, and it's best to be prepared just in case.
The government agency recommends the following:
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 on the animal.
5) If attacked, fight back vigorously with sharp objects and poke the eyes of the animal.