Mountain Lion Shot On Farm in Rural Whiteside County - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Mountain Lion Shot On Farm in Rural Whiteside County

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     Imagine not just spotting a mountain lion, but having it come right up to your home. Wednesday one of the large cats was found on a farm in rural Whiteside County. The homeowner talked to us about the ordeal.

     Glenn Frank's normally quiet farm had quite a bit of excitement Wednesday. He got a call from his neighbor who was harvesting corn, and saw a very large animal heading toward his home.  Frank wasn't home at the time but his wife was. After calling to tell her to stay indoors Frank contacted the DNR.

     "After he got down on his hands and knees and stuck his flashing light in there he determined there was a very large mountain lion or cougar in there," said Capt. Robert Frazier of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

     The animal crawled into a tunnel underneath a corn crib which is close to a horse barn. Thinking about safety and the best option conservation officers asked Frank's permission to put the cat down.

     "I said go ahead and shoot it. I said, if you don't I'm going to. I'm happy it was put down before it hurt somebody or somebody's livestock," said Frank.

      The cat turned out to be a young male, more than 100 pounds and nearly six feet long. It's pretty rare to see one in this area but the DNR says his behavior was also pretty odd. 

     "We're kind of questioning is to why it was so close to the buildings. It was within 20 yards of their house which is very odd," added Frazier.
      
     Wildlife experts will examine the big cat and hope its DNA will help them figure out where it came from. Conservation officers think it may have wandered out of its territory for food or to find a mate but they can't be sure. All Frank knows is it's not something he ever expected to encounter right in his backyard.

     "I've heard a lot of people say they've spotted them... First time I've seen it in all my life, especially on the property I own."

     There were three confirmed mountain lions in Illinois between 2002 and 2008 including one a hunter killed in Mercer County in 2004. More recently, a live cougar was seen on trail cameras in several areas including Jo Daviess County and other counties out of our area.