Mountain lion photographed on trail cam in southeast Kansas
PRATT – A deer hunter from Labette County got a surprise recently when he checked his trail camera he had set up for deer. He found a single image of a mountain lion walking away, down the trail, the characteristic long tail prominently displayed. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff visited the site last week and verified the photo’s authenticity. This is the tenth mountain lion verified by KDWPT since 2007, but the first in almost two years.
The first confirmed mountain lion in 2007 was killed by an individual in Barber County. Since then, most of the sightings have been confirmed with photographs taken by remote, motion-triggered cameras commonly used by deer hunters to keep track of deer movement near their stands.
In each instance, KDWPT staff traveled to the sites where photos were taken to validate the photographs. Staff investigates sightings whenever evidence, such as tracks, a cached kill or a photograph exists. Biologists assume most sightings are of transient young males, coming from established populations in nearby states.
“It’s not uncommon for young males to travel great distances looking for home ranges,” said Matt Peek, KDWPT furbearer biologist. “So far, these animals appear to be passing through, rather than staying and establishing home ranges in Kansas.”