Two hunters bagged an unexpected quarry in The Hawkeye State—an adult mountain lion. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) told KCRG-TV9 that the lion was taken by two lawfully licensed hunters who were hunting for coyotes at night in Johnson County, near the town of Swisher. The mountain lion was reportedly an adult female that weighed 116 pounds.
Mountain lions are not typically found in Iowa. The species is native to the state but was extirpated there before the era of modern wildlife management. Today, mountain lion sightings in the state are rare but do occur. According to the Iowa DNR, these sightings likely dispersing individuals from resident populations of neighboring states such as Nebraska and North Dakota.
“Mountain lions have no legal wildlife status in Iowa,” explains the Iowa DNR. “That means that they can be taken and possessed by anyone at any time as long as legal methods and means are used to take the animal.”
The mountain lion that was recently killed had been previously known to the Iowa DNR, which had kept tabs on it since last spring. Trail cam photos of it from hunters and other residents had helped the agency keep track of it. The lion was otherwise seldom seen by people and did not have a history of conflict with people, pets, or livestock.