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Old November 29, 2005, 11:14 PM   #26
M Jager
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Iowa Cornfed,
Two points-
1. Sounds like you are in Pott county? If so, I worked there last summer as a seasonal officer for the IA DNR so I know the DNR and F&WS officers who would be involved. Good for them, guess I will have to call them tomorrow and give them congrats.
2. On the over grown couch cougars, you really don't believe that bs rumor do you?
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Old November 29, 2005, 11:53 PM   #27
Iowa Cornfed
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M Jager:

Actually I'm in Harrison County, just North of Pott Cnty. The DNR officer lives right around the corner from my place (Tierney, he replaced Dick Johnson when he retired)

Not sure what to beleive on the other, except that I heard of a car killed female up by Pisgah last winter and the talk was that it was sporting a tag or coller, but I have no first hand knowledge other than talk (some of which made it to the local news media as well)
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Old November 30, 2005, 12:47 AM   #28
M Jager
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IA Cornfed,
Yep, I know Dave. I got to work with him a couple times on his boat patroling the Missouri. Nice boat. The F&WS refuge officer has has one almost indentical to it. Worked with him several times over the summer on various things because he was right next door to where I worked.

On the kitties-
Here is the scoop
First- I know more people in the Iowa DNR than I can count. Many I have known for over 10 years and yeah I am privie to inside scoop. If we released cougars I would have heard about it.
Second- I am a senior at ISU majoring in wildlife. I am on a first name basis with most of the big name biologists in the state. Still nothing.
Third- I worked hands on with wolves in MN for the USGI and with gizzly bears in Montana for the USFS- I know just a "little" about large carnivore research and politics. Being mountain lions into Iowa would require public hearing and probably court hearings. Otherwise the DNR would be sue out of business when the secret got out. A reintroduction like this would be a huge, drawn out deal.

So basically the only way cats could be re-introduced would involve a black op so black that people that would be in the know don't know about it.

Yes we have cats in IA, how did they get here?
Answer- mountain lions have huge ranges and disperse great distances. I was talking to biologist working with cats in the black hills. On of his collared cats dropped off the radar and turner up in OK City!
South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri all have lions. Mountain lions do not reconize state lines............

The population of cats in Iowa is very, very low. Whether even have enough to have a "breeding population" is questionable and leaning towards unlikely at the moment. But because M.L.s have such large ranges and we don't have large tracks of land with few people like out west there are alot of sitings. Then there is the media hype which causes the number of sitings to sky rocket but everybody who catchs flash of brown in the headlights is now "sure they saw a mountain lion" Now I know people who have seen cougars and I believe them 100 percent, for every story I trust I heard 50 that I doubt.

So far 1-2 cats have been hit by cars and 1-2 have been shot in the state. If we had a significant pop you can bet there would be alot of them getting whacked during deer seasons. Yeah, I'm sure there have been some shot by people practicing the three S's, but if there were many cats you'd be hearing about more getting killed.

Last thing, because large carnivores are one of my interests, I discussed with several biologists the feasability of doing a graduate study to try to determine to the population of mountain lions in Iowa. The long and the short of it was that nobody thought it would be feasible because just catching one would take a miracle. The joint bobcat study between ISU and the IA DNR would have flopped if it wasn't for inciddental catches by trappers. The state employed four fulltime trappers for a year to catch bobcats. In a year they caught something like 4 with 28 incidentals turned in by trappers. So far I haven't heard of any lions catch by trappers which says alot.

Whats the future of cats in IA? I don't know. Certainly the population is going to grow but by how much is anybodies guess. As far as went and if they are going to get regulated/protected is also up in the air. Everybodies kind of in a watch and see holding pattern right now, theres just currently not enough of them at the moment to make predictions.
Sorry for the long post, just something that I'm very into and passionate about.
Matt
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Old November 30, 2005, 12:53 AM   #29
M Jager
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Also forgot to mention that at least one of the cats killed in IA (can't remember) was declawed (A.k.A. sombodies pet that got away or was released illegally) which may explain the collar. Can't remember the details of the car killed on at the moment, would have to do some checking to say anything for sure, but I want to say that it was indeed one of the wild ones and (this is a major IIRC) DNA linked it to Nebraska populations.
Again, I would have to check back on things to be sure of the details.
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Old November 30, 2005, 08:51 AM   #30
Art Eatman
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Nuthin' like thread drift.

Cougars are sure enough travellers. The Texas Parks & Wildlife folks put a radio collar on a lion down near the Rio Grande, just east of Big Bend National Park. Two days later, a rancher killed that lion in his goat pen. right at 80 or 90 miles of travel.

A 172 pilot friend of mine does radio-tracking for various agencies. One lion was regularly tracked from the Glass Mountains just north of Marathon, Texas, to the southern end of the Del Carmen mountains in Mexico. This travel path is thus some 250 miles long.

If an area has rabbits, housecats and dogs, a lion can make a living. They don't do well at my garbage pit, but I regularly see the tracks there.

, Art
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Old November 30, 2005, 10:03 AM   #31
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Yeah, but thread drift in a good kinda way. (IMHO)

I appreciate the informative posts, and while the media's take on it might be that it wouldn't make for as many interesting news-cycles, I think it'd be nice if they would do some stories on some of the facts pointed out by M Jager just to keep the rumor mill in check. (That was good stuff!)

But instead, when we first started having a few sightings, the former DNR officer (Dick J. who had a weekly column in our local paper) wrote that the sightings were up steadly, etc., and that at the present there were no laws against shooting them, and encouraged hunters to do so now, because at some point they may be protected. His line of thinking was that if we allow them to become more prevalent, we'll have a problem on our hands that'll only get worse once they are protected.

But good intel on the travel patterns and/or range.

A friend told me he read the other day where a collered 8-year old Doe from De Soto Bend NWLR had been located 60 miles North on the Nebraska side. Pretty fair range for a Doe deer I guess.
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