According to Osceola County Deputy Seth Hoffman, the county communication center received a call about 9:40 on Monday morning from a woman who had been jogging and thought she saw a mountain lion. The report is that the animal was on the railroad trestle south of Sibley, across from Exopack about 9 AM.
Apparently the woman started jogging into Sibley and the lion followed on the railroad tracks for a while. Before they got too far, the supposed mountain lion went into ravine near a creek.
Deputy Hoffman responded and said he didn’t see anything the first time, but went out again with Sheriff Doug Weber and a couple of guys with coon dogs. Hoffman says they started on the north end and worked their way south. He says they did find what they think are mountain lion tracks. He says they are not dog tracks, as there are no nail prints, so whatever this is must have had retractable claws.
They took several pictures of the tracks and plan to show the pictures to DNR officials on Tuesday, and hopefully they can confirm or deny the report.
Hoffman says he has heard several reports of local sightings of mountain lions.
At this time, he says he doesn’t feel it poses an immediate threat, as mountain lions generally hide from people, but it’s hard to say how much of a threat exists to life or livestock.
If you do think you see a mountain lion, Hoffman advises you to call 911, especially if it’s close to town.
He also says try not to shoot it unless you think it’s a threat to you or your property, but use your best judgement. Hoffman says if the DNR is called in they generally don’t put the cat down, but would possibly move the cat out of the area. Again it all depends if it’s an immediate threat.
View Reported Mountain Lion Sighting in a larger map
Here are some suggestions from the Iowa DNR in the remote chance you have a mountain lion/cougar encounter:
- Spread your jacket, coat or shirt above you head attempt to look larger.
- Hold your ground, wave, shout and don’t run, as running stimulates the predator reflex (just like dogs) to pursue anything that runs away.
- Maintain eye contact if you sight a lion. Lions prefer to attack from ambush and count on the element of surprise
- If small children are present, or if there are several people in your group, gather everyone very close together. Mountain lions are not predators of large groups.
In the past 110 years 66 people have been attacked by mountain lions/cougars, resulting in 61 injuries, 19 of which were fatal, and none occurred in Iowa.