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2-20-09

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain lion stories
shared by residents

Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation

If you have a story about seeing a mountain lion, please contact us at
816-858-0363 or email
The Landmark

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

Several residents seem to believe they have seen mountain lions in the Platte County area.

Last week The Landmark ran a large feature after an unconfirmed mountain lion sighting several miles north of Platte City near the intersection of U Highway and 371 Highway. Input from readers came swiftly.

Olin Miller, owner of Olin Miller Insurance in Platte City, said he saw a large cat near his mother's property along Sharp Station Road less than a mile from Elm Grove Road. The location of Miller’s sighting is about four miles southeast of the unconfirmed sighting at Hwys. 371 and U near the home of Landmark office manager Cindy Rinehart.

According to Miller, he saw the animal in September of 2008 while driving slowly through the property.

“I had only seen three deer on the farm all summer and was wondering where they were,” said Miller. “I also hadn't seen any turkey.”

Miller said he was scouting the property for future hunting purposes when he saw a large animal about 600 feet in front of his truck. It was about 30 minutes before dusk and the animal stopped to stare at him in his truck for about two minutes.

The animal then turned and began walking away for about 50 feet and then began to “pounce playfully” the rest of the way to the tree line, Miller said. Miller described the pouncing as jumps of about 6 to 8 feet.

According to Miller, the animal was about 4 feet long and also had a tail that was about 36 inches long.

Another resident who says he has seen a mountain lion is Jim Baber with Wells Bank in Platte City.

According to Baber, during the winter of 2007 an animal killed off 15 young calves from his farm off of Woodruff Road. His location is about two miles to the west of the intersection of Hwys. 371 and U, where the most recent unconfirmed sighting of a mountain lion was reported.

Baber said he never actually saw the animal killing his cows, but that the killings stopped around March 1 of 2007. Then during February 2008 the first calf born was killed and he sold all of his cows to try to cut his losses.

“The first calf of the year was killed within about 100 yards of my house,” said Baber. “I know the calves were being eaten, but I never saw it eat one. It could eat an entire calf.”

Baber said he found some of the calves later and the majority of the animal had been eaten.

Baber also said he contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and they told him he could “eliminate” the animal since it was killing livestock.

“Those things are hard to kill. You can barely see them,” said Baber.

In February of 2008, Baber said he actually saw a mountain lion on his property, but he doesn't think the animal is in the area anymore.

“As far as I know it's not there anymore. I sold its food,” said Baber.

According to Platte County resident George Fee, he saw a mountain lion between four and five years ago near his property along County Road M, north of Weston. His location is roughly six miles to the northwest from the location where an unconfirmed sighting was reported last month.

Fee said he and his wife Bernice watched the animal for about 20 minutes through binoculars. Fee also took pictures, but said he no longer has the photos after sending some to the MDC.

“We have bobcats all the time, this is a different situation,” said Fee. “There is no mistaking one for the other. We were watching it through binoculars and twice it sat like a tom cat to scratch behind its ears.”

Fee said they saw the animal during the fall, as he remembers it was after his neighbor had harvested the crops from the field. Fee said he watched the animal walking along the edge of the timber and it almost got to the road before getting into some brush along the road.

“I sent stuff to the conservation department, but never heard back from them,” said Fee. “Looking at the pictures of (mountain lions), I don't see how you could mistake it for a bobcat.”

According to information provided by the MDC, mountain lions are generally tan colored with white fur on the belly. Mountain lions have long tails, usually equal to two-thirds the length of the head and body.

Male lions weigh between 140 and 160 pounds, but can weigh up to 200 pounds, and females weigh between 90 and 130 pounds.

Adult lions can grow to be between 2-feet or 2.5-feet tall at the shoulders and can be around 8-feet long from nose to tail.

Mountain lions can jump vertically up to 18 feet high and jump horizontally around 30 feet.

Bobcats are smaller, weighing about 22 pounds and have spotted fur with pointed ears and a short tail.

Mountain lions kill their prey by biting the animal on the back of the neck. Once the animal is dead, lions drag the animal to dense brush in order to feed. They feed on the internal organs or will feed on the shoulders or tissue around the ribs.

A mountain lion will cover its kill with grass, leaves, or dirt and may return to the animal several times to eat.

Mountain lions are a protected animal in Missouri and there is no hunting season for mountain lions in Missouri. However, property owners may kill mountain lions under special circumstances:

According to the wildlife code on the MDC web site: “Mountain lions may be killed without prior permission if they are attacking or killing livestock or domestic animals, or if they are threatening human safety. Any mountain lion killed under this rule must be reported immediately to an agent of the department and the intact mountain lion carcass, including pelt, must be surrendered to the agent within twenty-four (24) hours.”

For more information about what to do if you see a mountain lion visit The Landmark's website at www.plattecountylandmark.com. If you have a sighting or story you’d like to share, call The Landmark at 858-0363 or email news@plattecountylandmark.com

 
 

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