Author Topic: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois  (Read 5577 times)

Offline Cyborg

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COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« on: March 19, 2013, 09:36:33 PM »
COUGAR IN MY YARD

 I live adjoining a 4000 acre State Forest along the Mississippi River. The area is very rural.  Lots of wildlife. Frequently at night or early evening, you can hear coyotes from all four directions, but usually from one or two. I occasionly see Wild Turkey in the front yard and sometimes a Fox in early AM or Later PM. Bald Eagles are common in winter and large numbers of Turkey Vultures abound. In fact today I took Photos of about 20 plus roosting Vultures in a couple of trees in a Miss. River backwater lagoon that is 2 blocks from my house. Yesterday I took a picture of a grazing Tom the other side of my Garage.
Incidentally the area if infested with Flying Squirrels, but most of the locals didn't know it and have never seen one. The reason - >> Flying Squirrels are completely nocturnal. If your out at night and in an area with lots of Oaks  sit quietly on a night with a full moon and you may see them gliding from tree to tree.

Content
1. Description of seeing the Cougar.
2. Other Local Sightings
3. Note about Tracks
_________________________
MOUNTAIN LION SEEN MY FRONT YARD

Sunday March 10, 2013

It had rained Sat and let up Sunday.
A large amount of the snow had melted. In the far end of the driveway I had about 3” water.
It was a totally very gray foggy day. A couple of times during the day it misted lightly.

I had taken Toby (my Lab) out three times.
It was evening - 21:23 and I decided to take Toby out for the last time.

My front door has two small glass windows in, from which I can see most of my yard. My front yard is 400' to the State Forest Fire Lane. I have a 2 car garage about 150' w/a outside stall in the rear.

I glanced out and looked at my sidewalk to see if it was wet.
It didn’t look wet, but I wasn’t sure. (My sidewalk extends 6 feet beyond the overhead tin roof canopy.)

I have a City Street Light at the side of the driveway that illuminates my whole front yard all the way to the Basketball Court and all the way to the edge of my property to the East, which is forest.

I opened the door to get a better look and stepped two feet out holding the front door.

There standing 50 feet away at the edge of my driveway is a Mountain Lion. He was within 10 feet of my streetlight.  He was broadside to me with his head to the right. Easily visible was his head, whole body and  his tail.

On seeing / hearing me he ran to the right. It was not a panic run. It was a slow trot / lope.
They don’t run or lope anything like a dog or coyote.

However it could have been daylight for the clear view I had. It was 100% unmistakable Cougar / Mountain Lion..

He was well fed and I would guess weighed over 140 - 150 LBS.. He was a lot bigger and longer than my 85 LB Labrador.

The area where he was at only had patches of snow. In the area of the woods he ran to there was NO snow, as it had almost all melted.

I had bought a pack of Gardening Green Sticks to mark where I planted Walnuts. The nest day I got the sticks and looked in that area to see if there were any tracks in the snow patches.

I found some and marked them. I later took pictures of the tracks and put a ruler on the ground to get size comparisons.

Several of the Tracks were very good. Clearly seen were the Oval Toes and distinctive heel pad.
_____________________________________________________________

Local Mountain Lion Sightings
I talked to my neighbor that runs the vegetable stand in the town of 900 - Seven miles South.  She said that half a dozen People on the outskirts of town had said they saw a Mountain Lion. 

Additionally there is a lady that lives near XXX Towing. Her husband had passed away. One night when she went out with her dog,  she saw a Mountain Lion. She supposedly saw it several times after that.

I e-mailed the tracks to the Ranger / Site Superintendent for the State Forest. He agreed that they were Cougar tracks. In addition he told me they had found a mostly eaten Coyote carcass & yearling deer about 8 - 10 feet up in the trees.

Last year I heard either a Bobcat  or Mountain Lion screaming at night for most of the year. It has been over a month since I heard a cat scream. No it was't a house cat. It was too loud. I now assume it was the Cougar.

Note about Tracks
Mountain Lion or Cat tracks are overall slightly rounded compared to dogs, Coyotes or other Canine types.  In tracks the front paw is larger than the rear. Depending on the animal and the speed of the walk, the rear paw will often partially cover the front paw track.
A dog or Coyote tracks are slightly oblong. Often or most of the time their toenails will be evident and sometimes pronounced, particularly in domestic dogs.
When a Dog or other Canine is walking the track displays as normal. If the any animal run slightly or a little faster the printed track they make becomes larger as their pads spread out.
_____________________________
Cougar tracks online
http://www.bear-tracker.com/cougar.html
!

Plaster Paris attempt >
I tried for the first time to make plaster casts in winter using Plaster of Paris. The P-P has to be mixed as thick as possible but liquid enough so it still will run.

 I also used near freezing water, otherwise the P - P would have melted the snow. It still was very difficult. I did get one cast and the pads are visible.

The Challenge -  If you think about it - if I had used warm water the snow would have melted and I would have had just a blob in the result. If it had been zero the P - P may not have hardened due to the temperature.  The temperature was around 25 deg. when I made the attempt to get a cast impression.

When you read the below links you will see that there are a lot of Mountain Lion sightings all over the Midwest. These are """NOT""" cats that are just passing through. There has to be many breeding pairs for them to produce so many of them. Most of the news papers have attempted to suggest they were just passing through, as has many of the municipal talking heads.

Since my sighting I will take a walk on the Fire Breaks a day after it has rained. The Firebreaks are all sand. The tracks display well in damp sand.

The area was called yellow banks by the Indians. Nogale (Prickly pear) cactuses grow wild and there are two kinds of Lizards.  The tick population is heavy at first spring but after a month almost disappear. I think the Lizards and abundant toads devour them temporarily - untill the fall drop in temps.


_____________________________________
Midwest Sightings
(Comment I don't think anybody or any organization is actually tracking the number of sightings nor even reporting on them in the news as they are difficult to assess the validity of the report. )

Missouri has dozens of Confirmed Mountain Lion Sightings, mostly by Trail Cams.
Missouri Dept Conservation
http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/wildlife-sightings/mountain-lions/mountain-lion-signs
At the bottom is Other Content You May Like
a.) Confirmed Mountain Lion Reports
b.) Report a Mountain Lion Reporting
3.)Video of Mountain Lion

__________________________
More Mountain Lions Settling in the Midwest
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-14/mountain-lions/55586994/1


Mountain Lions Recolonize the Midwest
http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/nebraska/mountain-lions-recolonize-the-midwest/article_c7ea4d85-f82c-5a18-892a-4436fa7d4bb6.html

Mountain Lions Moving into Midwest
http://www.connecttristates.com/news/story.aspx?id=590131#.UUdnSle2WVE


_______________________________________________
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Online Solar

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 05:55:59 AM »
I'm gonna take a wild guess and say, you don't see a lot in the are until recently?
There used to be an old saying that to see a mt lion was a gift granted to few in life once.
Those days are over, with the mismanagement of the deer population, especially here in the west, seeing a lion has become a regular occurrence, and these aren't small cats, I've had several up close and personal accounts, and quite honestly, I'd rather tangle with a bear.
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Offline Elfie

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 08:01:10 AM »
Last year we had cougar sightings by the river.   A group saw it calmly crossing into where the campers camp,,, my friend tried to get her camera but by the time she got out of her camper it was gone. But 6 people saw it.  During the week, my gal pal who lives across the creek and her family heard  one screamin in her wooded area.  Being hunters they spent alot of time on the net trying to find the scream,,,they did on some you tube site. 2 days later it came back and the son went out armed.  Then they put a deer cam up,,,so far nothing.   It has been spotted by alot of other people  along the river and train tracks that go thru.  Finally someone in Sheridan got it on a deer cam...
Since then nothing.  Still doesnt keep my mind at peace.    DNR says it is real..... but where it goes,,, no one knows..
They are scarey,,,,,,
Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.
Blaise Pascal

Online Solar

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 08:09:22 AM »
Last year we had cougar sightings by the river.   A group saw it calmly crossing into where the campers camp,,, my friend tried to get her camera but by the time she got out of her camper it was gone. But 6 people saw it.  During the week, my gal pal who lives across the creek and her family heard  one screamin in her wooded area.  Being hunters they spent alot of time on the net trying to find the scream,,,they did on some you tube site. 2 days later it came back and the son went out armed.  Then they put a deer cam up,,,so far nothing.   It has been spotted by alot of other people  along the river and train tracks that go thru.  Finally someone in Sheridan got it on a deer cam...
Since then nothing.  Still doesnt keep my mind at peace.    DNR says it is real..... but where it goes,,, no one knows..
They are scarey,,,,,,
Usually when you hear them in the forest, it's mating season, she is in heat and calling out for a mate, or it could be a male answering, which means you now have two. :scared: :laugh:
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Offline Elfie

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 08:11:51 AM »
Usually when you hear them in the forest, it's mating season, she is in heat and calling out for a mate, or it could be a male answering, which means you now have two. :scared: :laugh:
Yep,,, I figure if there's 1 there's always another...   Guess I will just be doing my gathering NOT at the river,lol
Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.
Blaise Pascal

Offline Cyborg

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2013, 08:03:02 PM »
You were right. I think I have joined a kind of exclusive group that has actually physically seen a Cougar in the wild.
I consider myself lucky. I also have to admit I carry a firearm at night when I go out with the dog. The chance of actually being attacked could be 20,000 to 1. It's the psychological intimidation. Sometimes when  I'm out my Lab freezes and stares into the black. Then he may stomp his feet and sometimes growl and bark. I can't see what he sees or smells.
__________________
I am going to make a concerted effort to get Plaster Paris (PP) casts of the Cougar. That is if I find its tracks during the summer.  No I didn't notice the sex.

NEEDED
To Make Plaster Paris Casts
One or two sturdy shopping bag size bags to carry everything in.
3 - 6 plastic bags from food shopping in a ziplock bag.
2-3 pair rubber exam gloves
One plastic bag with 3 to 4 newspapers in.
3 -5 Yogurt Containers filled 3/4 full w/ PP (Lid on)
1 Gal Water
1 bag with your cardboard or plastic tube section slices
One Mixing stick. (I bought 4 long wood spoons Walmart $ .88 cents. I use the handle to mix - not the spoon side.
One putty knife

When finished I use a piece of newspaper to wipe the handle clean and also to wipe the inside of the Yogurt containers. They can be reused.

To make casts my method >

Use an Oatmeal Container and cut slices through the tube about every 1". That gives you a nice circular cast shaped border for the edge of the cast. Once the PP hardens peel off the cardboard and dispose of it. If I can without disturbing the track, I push the tube into the ground slightly. A putty knife helps to smooth off the top flat. 
You can also  use plastic jugs for forms. I cut the circle section so I can just peel the plastic off.

I use the 2 lb container you get when you buy Yogurt, to mix the PP in. Measure out 3 cups of plaster to put in it. That will fill it within a couple of inches from the top. It takes half as much water. When you put the water in the Plaster mass shrinks as it becomes liquified. Measure the amount of water you use with a measuring cup. Then find a tin can that will hold the same amount. That way you can pre-measure the amount of water you use to mix it in the future for each Yogurt Container.
Try to first make a cast of your pets track.
 When your finished You wipe it out with newspaper until clean to reuse. To get casts of the Cougar I'll use a gallon milk jug and cut slices in that. If you need a bigger cast because the animal double tracked (front & hind one behind the other ) just join two forms together. 
You put the used wet newspapers in one of the plastic bags. After you put the newspapers in the bag, squeeze the newspapers into a ball inside the plastic bag and tie the handles if your done.

For me, the best time  to make casts is 1 or 2 days after a rain. The tracks will stay formed in the sand a little longer, There are some muddy / dirt areas that tracks can last longer.

I wear glasses, If you don't I suggest using Safety Glasses. You don't want any PP in your eyes. Be careful. Mix the PP slowly so you don't have the wind blowing  or splashing it out of the container.
The strength of our Society is the continuous recognition, respect and acknowledgment of the right of Freedom of Speech and necessity of high social and moral standards as well as loyalty to the absolute implementation of those principles set forth in our US constitution.

Offline Elfie

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2013, 09:42:01 AM »
that would be cool if you could,,,safely of course... are you going to mark it and call DNR?  That way they could possibly use  them for tracking,,,   Just a thought..
Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.
Blaise Pascal

Offline Cyborg

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2013, 08:52:38 PM »
When You mentioned Sheridan I'm assuming your talking about Illinois.

The DNR is not going to send anybody out. I think the only way they would is if I had him locked in my garage.

The Cougar you spoke of was during the day. From what I have read they are seldom active in the daytime.

Two years ago I heard a Cougar or Bobcat screaming and making all kinds of noises mostly in the evening after dark. There were a few times I heard it in the day time. Once it went on making noise every few minutes for over an hour.
Two years ago the State Forest personnel found a mostly eaten coyote 10 feet up in a tree.

Last year there were three occasion when I heard the activity. My opinion it was either a Bob Cat or a Cougarl  It wasn't a Domestic cat. I have heard them make God awful noises but the volume is ususally not real loud. OR lets say it doesn't carry very far. They can sound like a baby crying or a baby in pain.

I did on a couple of occasions find tracks last year that looked likely to be from a Cougar but the were badly smudged in the dry sand. Even taking a photograph is not impressive at all.

My neighbor had a Doe and a near yearling coming in his fenced back yard to eat.  Two months ago they stopped coming. I'm speculating the COugar may have gotten them.

Also three four years ago I used to have lots of deer pass through my yard. Often I would see them grazing in the almost  dark  evening

All during the winter I seldom saw a deer Track in the year or on my sand road.

Turkeys are abundant. In fact about 20 strolled through this morning about 30 - 50 feet from the front door.
The dog barked a few times. It didn't seem to bother the Turkeys though.

My opinion there are a lot of them around in Missouri, Illinois, Iown probably in some areas. They are spreading and breeding.

Its only a matter of time until there is an encounter. That encounter could be a child.
The strength of our Society is the continuous recognition, respect and acknowledgment of the right of Freedom of Speech and necessity of high social and moral standards as well as loyalty to the absolute implementation of those principles set forth in our US constitution.

Offline Elfie

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2013, 05:21:05 AM »
The one was late afternoon,,it had come up from the creek bank,,, when my gal pal's family heard it screamin it was in the night. Both times.      I was just wondering if they would come, at the river they just take the report. There have been many.  At my cabin its probably perfect for them, water, cattle ,horses, coyotes and deer are all around the area.
Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.
Blaise Pascal

Offline Elfie

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2013, 07:41:50 AM »
Good video and nice write up.... :thumbup:
Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.
Blaise Pascal

Offline TNHarley

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2013, 08:06:40 AM »
I thought this was about hot, rich, older women
Eh

Offline Cyborg

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Re: COUGAR in front yard - Midwest Illinois
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2013, 05:57:41 PM »
UPDATE

Tuesday I voted. I drive 5 miles to my polling place which has 187 registered Voters. About a city blocks worth in Chicago.

While there I talked to two of the three poll workers.
One lady has a farm they raise beef cattle on. Her husband was returning in the pickup close to dark. He was a little over a half a mile from home and saw a mountain lion running off to the left of his truck.
They lost two calves in the last two years. They just disappeared.
(They probably were dinner for the Cougar
I asked about how much they weighed. She said about 95 - 100 lbs.
Not a problem for a full grown mountain lion to haul off.
Her daughter found a tree the Cougar had been scratching on in the woods. She took a picture of it. I gave her my phone # and E-mail address. She was going to have her daughter e-mail me a picture of the tree.

It now appears obvious there are a lot more of them around that believed or known.
The Govt spokespersons keep ignoring the sightings and saying they are just passing through.


The other lady's friend rasises goats and they have missed two goat in the past year.
The strength of our Society is the continuous recognition, respect and acknowledgment of the right of Freedom of Speech and necessity of high social and moral standards as well as loyalty to the absolute implementation of those principles set forth in our US constitution.

 

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