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Mountain lion sightings at
Beverly, New Market

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

Are there mountain lions in Platte County? There have been enough unconfirmed sightings to lead many people to believe the big cats are around, as The Landmark continues its month-long feature on the topic.

A resident near Beverly says she saw a mountain lion on her property. Judy Vandahl lives on the bluff near 45 Highway south of Beverly.

Vandahl said she saw the lion about two years ago in the early spring.

“I was looking out my kitchen window and saw it,” said Vandahl. “I thought 'wow, that's a big cat' and got my binoculars.”

Vandahl said the lion walked toward her house and got about 200 feet away before it turned and went down an old logging road on her property.

She said she has seen bobcats on her property and this was not a bobcat.

“At the time I reported it to the conservation agent who comes around,” said Vandahl. “His only comment was to get a picture.”

According to Vandahl, sometime later they discovered foot prints from an animal they suspected to be a mountain lion behind a garage on their property. She said they did not have any plaster to make a cast and tried to dig one up, but it fell apart.

Another long-time Platte County resident who says he has seen a mountain lion is Terry Richardson.

Richardson said he was on H Highway west of New Market in the early 1970s when he saw a mountain lion cross the road. He said it was during the day in the summer and that he clearly saw it.

More recently, Richardson said he was raising tobacco with another man on property south of U Highway along Hwy. 371 when he saw a mountain lion cross Hwy. 371 traveling west. This sighting occurred in either 1992 or 1993, according to Richardson.

“I am in the woods a lot,” said Richardson. “I like to deer hunt and have seen evidence of mountain lions.”

Richardson said he was in Weston Bend State Park last year during the winter and saw some tracks in the snow he attributed to a mountain lion.

Richardson said there is a big difference between a mountain lion and a bobcat.

“Things are changing, I'm almost 61 and when I was a boy there wasn't any deer around here,” said Richardson. We had bobcat sightings in the 70s and we didn't have any wild turkeys.”

Richardson said that bobcats were confirmed in Platte County when one got hit by a train near Weston years ago. Richardson said that now there are lots of turkey and deer in the county and bobcats. He said he has also seen a lot of bald eagles.

Richardson said he is sure there are mountain lions in Platte County.

“They are here,” said Richardson.


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