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HERE’S something you don’t see every day
best print I could find
best print I could find
On Friday morning, here in central Iowa, my wife and I had an unbelievable encounter from the turkey blind! We got to the blind plenty early that morning and got the decoys and the rest of our gear all set up to, hopefully get a bird or two in front of us. As it started getting light, we heard a couple of toms sounding off a couple hundred yards away. I called to them, and got a response a few times, then they went silent. It was light enough for the birds to have flown down, by this time. I was set up kind of off to one side in the blind, and my wife was sitting where she had a good view of the setup and out in front of the blind. The birds hadn’t gobbled for several minutes, and I was kind of dozing.
All of a sudden, my wife starts hyperventilating and jabbing me in the side. I look at her like “WTH”?? She is frantically pointing out the window (and still hyperventilating). I peer around the side of one of the blind windows…..and there, at 31 yards, standing broadside in the wide assed open, is a HUGE mountain lion!! He is staring straight towards the blind. I’m in total disbelief at what I’m seeing, and kind of zone out for a couple of seconds, before the gears start turning again. My dang phone is zipped up in my coat pocket, and I’m trying to get it unzipped and fish my phone out to hopefully capture some video of him, while still watching him. He stands there for about 8-10 seconds then quickly slinks over to the edge of the ravine, and unfortunately disappeared before I could get any footage of him.
My wife and I look at each other like “did THAT just happen??! She is still hyperventilating but starting to get calmed down. I am certain the reason the cat was staring our way was, he had heard her in the blind. About halfway through the encounter, it dawns on me to maybe try to get a shot at him with my bow. It is totally legal to shoot mt. lions in Iowa, anytime. They are not considered a game species here. We had set up to where I had a good shot angle towards the decoys, should the birds come in to them. Unfortunately, the only shot I would have had, where he was standing, would have been through the horizontal viewing window on the Double Bull. The cat didn’t stick around long enough to even have a chance at a shot.
I’m wondering what might have possibly happened, had the cat not heard my wife’s labored breathing. Was he stalking in towards our decoys?? What IF!!! We hunted for a couple more hours, with no luck, we exited the blind, and I stepped off the distance from the blind, to his tracks in the freshly disced dirt. We were set up on one of my food plots, and I had worked the ground up the day before, so it was soft, but a bit clumpy. His tracks were definitely visible, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any that were really clear. I could easily track his progress in the dirt, from where he entered the field, to where he exited. He entered the field and angled slightly towards our position, then paralleled the blind for a few steps , before stopping. (that’s where he was standing when I first saw him) He then angled slightly away from us as he slipped towards the field edge and the ravine.
That is crazy... how cool for you to experience that where you are!
Very exciting! I had an encounter at 46 yards back in 2014 in Colorado.
Wow! Certainly would not be expecting that. Any sightings of lions reported lately in your area ?
Thanks, Lou. I’m still in disbelief! We definitely have a few lions in Iowa. It seems that one gets killed here every other year or so. The police actually killed one in the Des Moines area several years back, that was spotted near an elementary school. I’ve seen documentation of a few others that have been killed here in the state, as well.
I spoke with the game warden about our encounter, and he shared with me 2 trail cam pics that a neighbor captured within a few miles of me (he wouldn’t tell me who) of a big lion taking down a deer. (I’m not at liberty to share those pics) One of the pics is very grainy, but the second one is plenty clear enough to definitely tell it is a lion with a death grip around the deer’s throat. The pics were in February this year, about 5:45 in the morning.The warden went out and checked the kill area and matched up some background details, to verify that it wasn’t faked. He said it was definitely legit. I also have a friend that was deer hunting some of his ground, this past December, and found a partially eaten buck that was almost completely buried. He sent me a couple of pics of it yesterday. We had a very mild early winter, and there was almost zero frost in the ground until after the new year, so it wouldn’t have been an issue to bury the deer.
We have people claiming to see mountain lions here in Connecticut all the time, but that looks like pretty credible evidence to me. I suppose a guy could pick and choose, given some yards worth of tracks, but I don’t see anything resembling a toenail or a claw… It would be better if there were a ruler or something in that shot to provide scale. May be a car key or something?
Sounds like you had a very rare and… Let’s call it “exhilarating” experience. Pretty cool. But for Pete’s sake, next time get some video ;)
I think if I could legally take a mountain lion, I probably would. I have no animosity towards them, but I don’t think there is any “need“ to reestablish a population in (for example) central Iowa, and I hear they’re damn fine eating. On the one hand, your DNR probably ought to know about it, and on the other hand… You don’t wanna end up like That Guy who shot “Cecil“…
They have a place where there are thousands of acres of Wilderness; near people, they are a fatality waiting to happen. I’m not Opposed to seeing them expand their range to historical regions, but I don’t think that they should be provided any particular protection unless the state in question is willing to manage them as a big game population.
One buddy’s cat
One buddy’s cat
Also had another local bowsiter buddy of mine send me a trailcam video of a lion walking out of a picked cornfield, this past fall as well. That location is roughly 15-20 miles south of me, plus the warden told me about another trailcam pic or video of possibly the same cat, that someone captured on camera, roughly the same distance east of me.
I shot a nice sized cougar in Wyoming in 2012, plus I’ve looked at pics of a couple of even bigger toms that a couple of buddys have shot out west, in the last two years (not to mention a TON of pics of lions here on Bowsite). When I saw this cat , my first thought was ( other than “holy $hit! that’s a mountain lion!) was “that is a BIG cat!” This cat was considerably larger than the cat I killed, and I would venture to say, very comparable in size to the cats my buddys killed. My buddy in the pic, is 6’1”
Corax……..cat’s claws are almost always retracted, especially when walking, so no claw marks should be visible. But, I agree, the pic I took, definitely sucks! I looked for a good bit, to try and find a clean, clear print, but couldn’t find one. Fortunately, I called in another Bowsiter, with a lot more credibility than me, to verify/witness the authenticity of the tracks. He has extensive past trapping experience, so I think his opinion would be beyond reproach. (Now, if I can just get him to chime in!)
My Wy lion. Not the best pic, either!
My Wy lion. Not the best pic, either!
Pretty cool Troy!! And your wife can't even call you a BS'er 'cause she saw it first.
Cougars in the open are unmistakable.
Ha! I’ll never hear the end of it from her, Rod! One of her pet peeve’s, is my napping while we’re turkey hunting. What a FLUKE encounter! If she had closed her eyes for 20-30 seconds at the wrong time, there’s a high probability that we would have been totally oblivious to that cat walking past us!
I just wished she could have controlled her breathing. I could possibly be the new Iowa state mountain lion record holder, right now…..Archery, at least! ;-)
‘T-roy - agreed. No nails means Cat. People here have sent pics to the newspaper as “proof” of lions in the area, but HELLO?? Toenails, people!! If that alone doesn’t tell you it’s not a cat, I don’t know what will…..
Your cat tracks have no nails/claws and you evidently know a cat when you see one. I’ll take your word for it. Even if you ARE from Iowa…. ;)
Cool experience - maybe you will run into him this fall.
That is Crazy kool
What a great experience for you and your Mrs..
Be safe out there,
That's awesome t-roy!! One of the coolest encounters is seeing a Mnt. Lion while hunting, and very rare, unless your really trying to hunt one. Bet your wife will be REALLY alert going out in woods now, LOL!
Should have went and got a call and tried to call him in. Neat encounter.
So are you going to the turkey blind with a predator call after you tag your bird? LOL
When I met Troy at the bar and grill that evening, his wife was still hyperventilating. I thought it was because she was so excited to meet me but, alas...
He took me to the scene and the tracks were plain as day across the newly worked field. What amazed me was his wife went right back to hunt that same blind the next morning....by herself! Don't know too many women with the cajones to do that. Maybe a few competing in womens athletics.
Wow! Cool encounter for sure.
It might have just been your cologne, Nick. It kinda made my eyes water a little, too. ;-)
And, just to be clear….Nick used the term figuratively, and she’s not East German, either…
I'm usually pretty much at-ease slinking through the pitch-black woods at 0-dark thirty on my way to a stand site. That might change a bit, knowing a lion was on the prowl. Very impressed with your wife's fortitude!
That’s quite the surprise on an early May morning in Iowa. There’s similar stories here in Missouri about big cats. Never seen one in person though. Would’ve been a great experience - but I’d prefer 3 1/2” 12 gauge in my hands, not a bow if that lion got curious.
Cool encounter for sure I have called in a few in Florida on our old lease not far from Naples while turkey hunting.Also called in a bear on the dead run one morning hunting with my wife that was not a warm and cozy feeling.We are not alone lol.As y’all know the “panthers “ in Florida are protected.Good luck Lewis
I would be packing a rifle into that blind with me from now on….
Every day in the woods can lead ti an amazing memory. Never know
Nothing to fear from them, generally. Where I live, the habitat is saturated with them. They could eat a person every day if they wanted, but attacks are so extremely rare they aren't even a concern. Bears and moose are a totally different story.
I had a showdown with an angry one at 10 feet, in heavy deadfall, armed with only a longbow. He chose to let me get away after I had to turn my back on him to climb over deadfall to escape. He could have easily killed me but elected not to. I don't pay them any attention. Now moose, on the other hand, scare the shit out of me.
t-roy, I’m betting you wished your quiver had seven arrows now. :^)
Really cool stuff. I hope you kill that sucker.
Damn Troy, maybe we better have a thread on pistols for mountain lions ! Even though I live in East Texas, I’ve seen two of them. Both times at work, once I was driving on a major highway, and once when I was running a motor grader. Both times were a surprise ! It’s just not something you expect to see and I don’t tell lots of folks because there are lots of deniers out there who think because THEY haven’t seen one, they’re not here.
That’s cool! Hope u get a crack at him!
In the early 90s when we wer first hunting Iowa and Kansas as nonresidentsand also north central Nebraska the locals were seeing lions. The officials were saying no way. Some were game wardens who were our friends. Now they’ve proven to be in all those places. Because of the Iowa laws we were hoping to run into one
Very cool to see a huge cat like that, in Iowa! Too bad it happened so quickly, so you couldn't get pics/ video.
I know I've posted this several times...this was an encounter I had when turkey hunting a few years back (no blind, sitting with my back against a fallen log). I was calling aggressively with a diaphragm call, when he came in on me. I took this pic from 8 feet, with my cell phone.
We are lousy with cats, out here in Nor Cal ! I get trailcam pics on my property occasionally. But, seeing one in daylight hours, is extremely rare.
I wouldn't have killed it just because it's "not illegal" especially if I had already killed one.I would have loved the encounter.
I would have tried to kill it like Troy
t-roy that's an awesome experience!!
I found this track while shed hunting in 2021 about 30 miles from Des Moines. It's nearly 4" from bottom pad to top of toes.
So I believe you without a shadow of a doubt. Have also heard from a few credible resident friends that they're "around".
Wow, what a cool encounter. Great that you got to share it with your wife. Several years ago, I got a pic of a large mountain lion in my back yard in a Minneapolis suburb.
I agree with randy. I’d have killed him aswell.
T-roy called me Friday after the encounter, said he had a STAN (Sh!t that ain't nothin) story for me lol.
I had sent him a couple pics of a lion on another buddy's food plot last fall. I have 5 reliable buddies who have sent me pics of lions in central Iowa and my son had one cross the road in front of him a few weeks ago. I have also discussed them with a local CO. They are definitely around. So far only males have been seen, no known females or breeding activity....yet! I would also shoot another if ever given the opportunity!
Troy asked me to add a picture of my lion to this thread. I killed him in March of 2021 in Arizona. For reference, I'm also 6'1"
Can't seem to rotate the picture...now it's right!
For those doubting T's story, I can vouch for the accuracy of it. I've found T to be accurate with his info at least 50% of the time. When he's taking his meds he's probably closer to 60%! When on meds and without any psychedelics onboard, he may be a high as 75%!
In all seriousness, I have no doubt about the validity of the story. Cool memory for T and his bride to share.
What an awesome experience! Your wife seeing that cat and going right back out there is impressive! Wish you could've got a shot at him.
We supposedly don't have them here in S. Illinois either so they are legal to kill and I won't hesitate to shoot if I ever get the chance. I saw one about 10 years ago late at night in the country coming home from St. Louis. I have reliable 2 buddies that have told me they have seen one in our area. Haven't heard anything about any sightings for a while.
Awesome encounter Troy! Too bad he didn't stick around long enough to get the shaft! Definitely would not want one of those hanging around my deer hunting grounds. Those "little deer" you shoot deserve don't need that kind of pressure!
I think I can definitely see two front "lobes" of the pad in that picture. Awesome experience Troy! Hope to have an encounter like someday as well, though we can't shoot them in NE without a tag.
I think this pic shows the print pretty good.
If we are casting votes I’d have killed him 100 given the opportunity even if I’d killed 4. To kill one in your home state out of a turkey blind that you called in with your wife there. There’s more to a kill than the mount. Had Troy killed him a bet that mount would have meant more to him than the other he has though.
I was believing this story until Troy introduced Nick as his witness that was beyond reproach. :)
My wife had an encounter with a lion and her cub down here a couple years ago(she was fairly new to hunting by herself) I wish I still had the screen shots of our conversation, they we’re freakn hilarious. Scared the absolute crap out of her and now I have to drop her off very close to her stand. Lol
Amazing story, Troy! Definitely hearing more and more stories here in Iowa every year.
I don’t know.......................sounds kinda fishy to me. Next he’ll say aliens landed and walked in front of his blind, but the Air Force confiscated the pics! ;-)
Wait, I’m confused . Was the cougar sighting before, during, or after the run in with Nick at the bar? Ha! So cool Troy, too bad you couldn’t have gotten a clear pic or loosened an arrow, but I guess your story telling will have to do. Gotta keep that cat away from 2022’s scheduled booners
Troy, what an encounter!!! Good to know they are fair game in Iowa and they don't have some type of "protective status". Shoot straight my friend!!
That's awesome! I'm amazed you can kill them there honestly. Especially when it happens occasionally. I'd figured they'd shut that down.
Kind of amazing you have to draw a bobcat tag, but can shoot a mountain lion. . . . :)
Very cool Troy. Your neighbour also sent me a trail cam pic of that cat with it's jaws around that buck - what do you call him again Cactus Jack? Liked like somebody had maybe shot it in the void earlier in the season made it easier to take down for that cat.
A bit of an update….A friend of mine got this trailcam pic a few days ago, about 4-5 miles north of me. I’m thinking this won’t be the last time this guy gets spotted, or gets his picture taken. No idea if it’s the same cat, or a different one.
Well hopefully the next picture he is in is a "hero" pic with a guy dressed in camo and a bow!
Just remember every time you are out working the farm your probably being watched.
Man what a bonus that would be!
So cool Troy. Now that’s a clear pic! Undeniable!
That would have had my blood n heart pumping for sure
That's one reason I like the trail cams so much, you just never know what might show up. Hope you get a crack at him. Great picture!
Pics or it didn't....wait....sorry.....
Another update……here’s a screenshot from a video I got on my camera about 1/4 mile from my house on Aug 8th. This is about 1/2 mile from where my wife and I saw him during turkey season.
Here kitty kitty...... He would damn nice on your wall Troy.
Would definitely like to put an arrow through him, Nick!
Dang..I can't say I blame your wife..I probably would have had the same reaction. I was getting excited just reading your story..lol
Cool, don’t know how I missed this... sounds like they might be setting up shop down there.
Out here in western ND our G&F say they are hard on older MD bucks. They target them when they’re alone and run down after the rut. They obviously kill deer all year but when we questioned them about the decrease in mature bucks that was their answer. Hope you kill that sob.
Troy didn't need to hear that!
I would still put my money on Troy over a cat when it comes to mature whitetails ;)