A landowner in Texas County shot a mountain lion on Sept. 5 after encountering it on his property. The landowner then called Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) regional offices to report the incident. Shannon County Conservation Agent Justin Emery responded to the incident and conducted an investigation. Emery found no grounds for charges at this time. Although mountain lions are protected by law, Missouri’s Wildlife Code does allow people to protect themselves and their property if they feel threatened.
MDC took possession of the subadult male mountain lion, which will be used for educational purposes and DNA testing.
The incident occurred approximately three miles from where a Shannon County landowner’s trail camera captured an image of a mountain lion on July 29. In a separate sighting, an Oregon County landowner captured an image on his trail camera of a mountain lion on Aug. 23 northeast of Alton.
MDC Biologist Jeff Beringer, who is a member of MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team, says that widely scattered mountain lion sightings have been confirmed in Missouri and likely will continue. Evidence to date indicates these animals are dispersing from other states to the west of Missouri. The most extreme evidence of this dispersal occurred in early 2011 when a mountain lion that was killed in Connecticut was genetically traced to South Dakota.
MDC has no confirmed evidence of a breeding population in Missouri.
MDC receives many reports each year from people who believe they have seen mountain lions.
“We encourage these reports, but we can only confirm those for which there is physical evidence such as hair, scat, footprints, photos, video, a dead cougar or prey showing evidence of mountain-lion attack,” says Beringer.
Reports of sightings can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by contacting Beringer at 573-882-9909, ext. 3211, Rex Martensen at 573-522-4115, ext. 3147, or Shawn Gruber at 573-522-4115, ext. 3262.
Beringer adds that mountain lions are naturally shy of humans and generally pose little danger to people, even in states with thriving breeding populations.