Leon Lion a Hoax

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This winter, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has received dozens of emails from people all reporting the same story, with slight variations, about a giant mountain lion being shot near Leon during our 2003 firearms deer season. Unfortunately, these folks were victims of one of many email hoaxes that circulate the web.

"The circulated photograph was actually featured in the fall issue of the Boone and Crockett Club's magazine, Fair Chase," says KDWP Information and Education Section Chief Bob Mathews. "The lion had been taken earlier in the year within an hour's drive of Seattle, Washington."

This email hoax first began when it was said to have been taken near Harrisburg, Penn., according to Boone and Crockett's magazine. Since then, the KDWP website feedback email has received dozens of messages claiming it was taken in Alabama, Montana, Texas, and Wyoming, as well as Leon. "Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here," Mathews adds. "Folks should check dubious email stories out before passing them around."

Two email-hoax watchdog websites are truthorfiction.com and snopes.com. The following is an example of the recent email hoax, which was accompanied by the photo from Fair Chase magazine:

"Got this from one of my friends at [name a workplace]. This mountain lion was shot near Leon, Kansas. This guy is a friend of one of the guys who works with my friend. He was going deer hunting when he heard his neighbor's cows making noise. He discovered this cat attacking some calves.

"He shot and reportedly the cat jumped 8 feet into the air, ran about 100 yards, and died. The man in the picture is over 6 feet tall and the cat weighed over 200 pounds."