Dallas County mountain lion still on the prowl

WHO 13 News has received a new trail camera photo of a mountain lion living in northeastern Dallas County. It was taken May 1st by the same camera that snapped multiple shots of a similarly-sized mountain lion back in February of this year. While the Iowa DNR agrees this could be the same animal, furbearer biologist, Vince Evelsizer, says one photo is not enough evidence to make a solid confirmation.

“We’ve had several reports this winter of a mountain lion in Webster County,” says Evelsizer. “As that area and this part of Dallas County are connected by the Des Moines River valley, this would suggest that one animal has been using the corridor for cover and food this winter.”

Mountain lion spotted on trail cam in May in Dallas County, Iowa.

While there are no breeding populations of mountain lions (also known as cougars, pumas, or catamounts) in Iowa, males sometimes wander great distances looking for mates and new territory, and several have been sighted in central Iowa over the past few years. In this case, the property owner (who’s asked to remain anonymous) says he’s had no problems with the animal and heard no claims of livestock predation or harassment. He has seen tracks from time to time, but other than the trail cam photos (all captured at night), the mountain lion has left no signs of its presence.

Evelsizer concurs.

“We’ve had no reports of any problems caused by this or any other mountain lion. Zero.”

Mountain lions typically feed on deer but also prey on smaller animals such as rabbits, wild turkeys, and raccoons. The nearest breeding population of mountain lions would likely be found in the Black Hills region of southwestern South Dakota, northwestern Nebraska, and southeastern Wyoming–some 600 miles from central Iowa.

At this point, Evelsizer says the DNR will continue to monitor the animal from afar and leave it alone. If it is indeed a single male, it’s doubtful it will make a permanent home here.

“That will be the interesting part,” says Evelsizer. “We aren’t sure what it will do. But at this point, it’s done no harm to any people that we know of.”