Mountain lion takes 1,500 mile hike but proves little

Cue the “By gosh I toldĀ  you so, we see mountain lions in our backyard every Tuesday night between 7:02 and 7:11 p.m.” crowd.

Recent confirmation that a mountain lion road-killed in Connecticut was probably from the South Dakota Black Hills will bring more such talk, for sure.


DNA testing showed the cat that lost a game of tag with an SUV was probably the animal that produced scat and sightings in several other states, too.

Interesting stuff, for sure. That’s a cross-country trek of more than 1,500 miles.

About five years ago we considered it amazing a radio-collared cat from the Black Hills was found dead on railroad tracks in northern Oklahoma, about 60 miles south of Arkansas City. That straight-line distance was about 660 miles.

Last year a cat collared in the Colorado Rocky Mountains wandered eastward, trekked from northwest to southwest Kansas in about 23 days before heading to central New Mexico. Those wanderings were documented at more than 1,000 miles thanks to GPS readings.

Personally, I think that shows the health of populations of mountain lions in the western U.S. and that young males have been prone to some impressive wanderings looking for new territories in the past few years.

Sorry to the “the state’s stocking them to kill deer” and “they’ve always been here because my brother-in-law’s sister’s goat-dipper’s second-cousin seen a female with 37 polka-dot kittens” crowd.

This is a fairly recent occurrence. It’s only within about the past ten years that we’ve gotten the road-kills, trail camera photos and DNA evidence that’s solid proof of what’s happening.

And by the way, there’s still never been a black mountain lion documented in North America. No tracking chips dug-up by a game warden when the guy down the road supposedly shot and buried a mountain lion that was attacking his horses.

Breeding populations east of the Black Hills, the Rockies or north of South Florida? Nope.

But pay attention when you’re out and about. Maybe now you will see one of these top-line predators on a walk-about from places further west.

I’d love to see one…but I doubt I’d believe myself when I told the story. :-)