I have seen a cougar 2 x's in our rural part of Iowa. The first time I was able to get a picture but with the camera pointing into the setting sun and my inability to move the camera, the picture didn't come out clearly. My eye had caught a motion along the road and instinct told me that it wasn't something familiar like a dog or coyote. As I continued watching, the big cat came up the deserted driveway and layed there for several minutes before being scared away by on oncoming vehicle. I'm still in awe and truly hope for another opportunity to prove that they are indeed here.
I got tired of the naysayers telling me that they didn't exist here in our part of the world. One official said the he believed they were here and was willing to work with me in documenting sightings....he later decided not to be involved because he was afraid that our proving mountain lions were indeed here would cause fear and panic which would be bad for the economy. I've since started my own website ( http://www.HeartlandCougarWatch.wetpaint.com) in an effort to gather information of sightings and try to determine if a pattern exists. If we can find a pattern we will then try setting up trail cameras and possibly assemble a transect to search for evidence.
Through my efforts, I have gotten several reports and am in the process of documenting their locations. In some instances I hear of a sighting but upon speaking to the person that saw the mountain lion they tell of reporting it to the authorities and the way their reported sighting was dismissed as a "house cat". In some cases they decide not to provide me with their information in an attitude of "why bother no one believes me". However, more people are coming to understand that I do believe them and are being more forthcoming on their information with the common goal of proving they are here. It does need to be stated that I'm not in the business of proving the individual sightings as true or false...I'm just gathering information to prove that mountain lions are here in the Heartland.
Some of the sighting informaton I've received...
4 people in 2 separate cars saw 3 cubs crossing the road to get to their mother who was waiting in the weeds on the other side. Both cars stopped to give clear passage. One person had a camera but was so shocked with the sight they didn't think about the camera until the opportunity was gone.
* One couple saw a mountain lion and her cubs sunning themselves on a bale of hay in a cemetary.
* A farmer noticed that his cattle in the pasture were very nervous. He set out a trail camera thinking that it may have been a pack of dogs scaring his cows. What he got was a picture of a cougar in the pasture with his cattle (it was calving season). I am still trying to get this picture but the farmers, like others, feel that they reported it to the authorities and are discouraged because they weren't believed...but I'm still trying. ,) [/url]