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Male Cougar killed in Iowa

At first, the cougar was identified as a female, but later the Iowa DNR determined it was a male.  Sexing cougars is difficult enough that Colorado and Montana require cougar hunters to take a sex identification course before getting a license (often it is legal to kill only males).  Here’s a link to the Colorado sex ID course and exam. http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/8FEFA49C-F737-4357-BD8C-E5D4B3D882B7/0/MountainLionExamCompleteV6.swf

Wild Mountain Lion Killed in Iowa County

By Orlan Love
By Becky Ogann

IOWA COUNTY – A Cedar Rapids man hunting deer Monday in Iowa County shot and killed what is believed to be the first wild female mountain lion found in Iowa in the modern era.

Monday’s kill of a presumed wild female in Iowa, coupled with earlier documentation of wild males, suggests a theoretical possibility that the cats could naturally reproduce here, said Department of Natural Resources furbearer specialist Ron Andrews.

“Their scarcity and people’s intolerance of them make that a long shot,” Andrews said.

Raymond Goebel Jr., 47, said he spotted the 125-pound cat reclining on a horizontal tree branch about 15 yards off the ground while hunting in a party of eight about four miles south of Marengo.

Goebel said he had trouble believing his eyes until he put his shotgun scope on the animal.

Goebel said the cat remained in the tree for about 40 minutes while he confirmed that shooting it would be legal — it is, mountain lions have no legal protection in Iowa — and that the landowner did not object.

Goebel, who intends to memorialize the cat in a full-body mount, said he killed the cat from a distance of about 50 yards with a single 12-gauge slug placed behind the cat’s front shoulder.

DNR Conservation Officer Brad Baker confirmed that the cat is a female and that it is likely a wild one (as opposed to one that had escaped or been released from captivity), based on the length and sharpness of its teeth and claws and the absence of any identifying ear tags.

If so, that would make it the first wild female mountain lion documented in Iowa in the modern era, according to Andrews.

It is the fourth mountain lion killed in Iowa in the past nine years, following a 2001 roadkill in Shelby County and hunter kills in Sioux County in 2003 and Wayne County in 2004.

Biologists believe that wild mountain lions in Iowa have dispersed from native populations in the Black Hills of South Dakota, western Rocky Mountain states or southwest Texas.

The three previous cougar kills in Iowa involved males, which would be more likely than females to travel great distances in efforts to establish personal territories.

The paw of the mountain lion is held up next to a beer can for perspective.

The paw of the mountain lion is held up next to a beer can for perspective.

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http://www.wcfcourier.com/news/local/article_cd1a332c-e9c1-11de-b9ea-001cc4c03286.html

Iowa DNR confirms mountain lion shooting


DES MOINES – A deer hunter shot a mountain lion near Marengo Monday.

Raymond Goebel Jr. of Cedar Rapids was hunting four miles southwest of Marengo.

This is the first confirmed sighting in Iowa in more than five years, and the fourth mountain lion killed in Iowa.

At about 3:30 p.m. Goebel looked over his left shoulder. Something caught his eye about 15 yards up in a tree.

Brad Baker, state conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the mountain lion weighed about 125 pounds, and appears to be a female from the wild.

Ron Andrews, state furbearer biologist with the Iowa DNR, said this is the first confirmed female mountain lion in Iowa. All other lions confirmed in Iowa were young males.

Mountain lions have no protection in Iowa.

Iowa DNR does not encourage people killing a lion they come across, but 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.

“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,” Andrews said.

Goebel said he plans to have a full body mount of the mountain lion.

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The DNR will receive the stomach contents, and tissue and blood samples for DNA analysis

http://www.radioiowa.com/2009/12/15/female-mountain-lion-shot-near-marengo/

Female mountain lion shot near Marengo

by Dar Danielson on December 15, 2009
in Environment & Conservation

A hunter looking for deer shot something that hasn’t been documented in Iowa in modern times. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirms the a female mountain lion was shot near Marengo. State furbearer biologist, Ron Andrews, says Raymond Goebel Junior of Cedar Rapids spotted the animal in a tree Monday.

Andrews says Goebel called to see if he could legally shoot the animal and found out he could, and then shot it. He says it is the first confirmed female mountain lion in Iowa. Andrews says it is unusual to see a female, though he says they do know that one collared female from the Black Hills of South Dakota did range some 920 miles.  So he says it is unusual to see a female mountain lion in Iowa, but not out of the question.

Three male mountain lions have been killed in Iowa in recent years. Andrews says it’s unlikely the female would have mated with a male to raise more of the animals. Andrews says that would be “very lucky” based on experience if that had happened as it has been five years ago this month that the last mountain lion was verified in Iowa. He says the opportunities for male/female interaction among the mountain lions are slim.

The animal was estimated to weigh about 125 pounds. Andrews says people in the area should not worry about mountain lions. He says there’s no reason for panic or concern about the animal, as he says the mountain lion will most often want to avoid humans and will sense their presence before the humans sense them. Andrews says the chance of and encounter with a mountain lion are “pretty darn slim.” Andrews says if you run across a mountain lion, it should not be tough to get it to run away.

“If you would have a surprise encounter, all you have to do is take control. You’re in charge, you look big, you act mean, you scream, you holler. And that critter is gonna move on, he doesn’t want anything to do with ya,” Andrews says. Andrews says he receives two to three reports of mountain lions per month, but says finding evidence to substantiate the sightings is tough. Andrews says the verification of the female mountain lion will lead to more talk about the animals.

Andrews says the “rumors are going to run rampant now” as he says the D.N.R. will be accused of releasing the animals, although he says that does not make sense. Rumors have circulated for years that the D.N.R. released mountain lions to try and cut the deer population. Andrews says the D.N.R. does plan to do a D-N-A analysis of the animal. The hunter says he plans to have the whole animal mounted. Mountain lions are not legally protected in Iowa, but the D.N.R. does not encourage people to shoot them.

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http://www.omaha.com/article/20091215/SPORTS07/712169977

Omaha World-Herald

Hunter spots first Iowa mountain lion in five years

A Cedar Rapids man has done what few hunters in Iowa have been able to do in more than a century.

Raymond Goebel Jr. shot and killed a mountain lion, the fifth confirmed sighting in the past decade, and the first female discovered in the wild in Iowa since reports of the cougar’s return to the state slightly more than 10 years ago. In Iowa, confirmed mountain lion sightings are few and far between for many reasons.

Ron Andrews, the state furbearer biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, has gotten a lot of calls about potential mountain lion sightings over the last few years. He said, oftentimes, reported cougar sightings turn out to be mistaken identity: bobcats, yellow-colored dogs, and deer.

More than 1,000 mountain lions have been reported to DNR personnel in the past 10 years; Andrews said he gets two or three such reports each month. Goebel’s sighting near Marengo is expected to cause a spike in reports in the local area.

But, most cougar reports lack substantial evidence, such as a photo or video of the animal, photo of its track, a scat or animal dropping, or some sort of DNA evidence, to back them up. Since 2000, only four mountain lions have now been killed by hunters in Iowa.

“This is the first confirmed sighting in Iowa in more than five years, and the fourth mountain lion killed in Iowa,” Andrews said. “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.”

Goebel was participating in the state’s second shotgun deer-hunting season Monday, Dec. 14, with a group of friends near Marengo in eastern Iowa. While sitting, watching for deer on the move, he said something caught his eye over his left shoulder.

“I looked through the scope of my gun and couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was what I thought it was, though.”

A few minutes later, he waved over one of his hunting buddies, who had stood up nearby. Goebel showed him the 125-pound female in a tree roughly 15 yards away, and the hunters discussed the legality of harvesting the cougar, and got permission from the property owner to shoot the cat.

Mountain lions can be taken and possessed by anyone at anytime as long as legal methods and means are used to take the animal. Like black bears, cougars are not listed in the Iowa Code as designated wildlife species, because they were considered extinct when the state’s current fish and game legislation was first crafted.

Two previous efforts to have mountain lions and black bears designated as wildlife species have failed in the Iowa General Assembly.

Conservation officer Brad Baker of the IDNR said the condition of the cougar’s teeth and claws and the lack of markings from ear tags lead him to believe she was from the wild. Previously, there were reports of a mountain lion in the Tama.

Andrews said he investigated those reports, but said the evidence did not point to a mountain lion. His investigation took place in the summer, when it is more difficult to find evidence. He fields two or three cougar sighting reports a month.

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.

If you see one

Although state laws do not list mountain lions as designated wildlife, the IDNR remains the logical agency with which report killed mountain lions.

“It is important that the DNR obtain as much information as possible to further manage the possible presence of mountain lions in the state,” state furbearer biologist Andrews said. “It is very valuable to the DNR to collect as much scientific data from any dead mountain lion that turn up in the state.”

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http://www.iowadnr.gov/news/09dec/mountainlion.html
Iowa Department of Natural Resources press release

Mountain lion shot near Marengo has been determined to be a male, not a female as originally reported. This version corrects an earlier version reported this afternoon.

Mountain Lion Shot Near Marengo

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. 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.

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