Some weird news – and some bad news – from our neighbors to the south.

A hunter shot and killed a mountain lion Monday near Marengo, which is southwest of Cedar Rapids. It's the first confirmed sighting in Iowa in more than five years, and the fourth mountain lion killed in the state.

It's also the first female found in Iowa.

Brad Baker, state conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said in a news release that the mountain lion weighed about 125 pounds, and appears to be a female from the wild.

Mountain lions have no protection in Iowa and while the Iowa DNR does not encourage people killing a lion they come across, it is not against the law.  

The hunter plans to have a full body mount made.

 

PHEASANTS HAMMERED AGAIN

 

Iowa's pheasant population was decimated last year by bad weather, and now a December snowstorm has officials concerned again. The storm dumped 12 to 16 inches in parts of the state.

This from a  DNR news release:

 

 "We've had some simply awful weather for pheasant and quail since the fall of 2007," said Todd Bogenschutz, DNR upland wildlife biologist.  "We were hoping for a mild winter this year, but this Dec. 8 and 9 blizzard will likely rank as the second or third highest storm snowfall event in state history."   

To put recent weather in perspective, the winter of 2007-08 was the 10th worst in Iowa history.  Cumulative snowfall averaged close to 4 feet in most areas of Iowa. 

"Our pheasant population got walloped," said Bogenschutz. "Our computer models suggest our hen losses likely approached 70 to 80 percent in the eastern part of Iowa.  The winter was followed by the wettest spring (2008) in state history with record flooding across the state. Then, above normal snowfall last winter (2008-09) and record cool temperatures the spring of 2009 have really hammered our pheasant and quail populations.

"This was not the start to winter I wanted to see this year," he said. 

With pheasant and quail harvests expected to set new all time lows this year, the DNR may have to consider changes to upland game birds seasons next year. 

"It is premature to speculate how bad this winter is going to be or make any dramatic changes at this point," said Bogenschutz. "But if this snow persists for the next three and a half months, our bird populations will suffer significant declines."

The DNR is working with an advisory group consisting of members from Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Iowa Farm Bureau, Ducks Unlimited, County Conservation Boards and legislators to find solutions to Iowa's dwindling pheasant population.  The advisory group has been meeting monthly since September and will present its findings to the Iowa Legislature in January. 

 

 

 

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