Mountain lion killed near La Plata, Mo

Photo Credit: Nathan Vickers

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) said a mountain shot near La Plata, Mo. was the second one killed in the state in three months.

Department officials told our sister station KTVO, in Kirksville, that they received a call Saturday afternoon from an Amish landowner.

According to the department, a group of hunters were scavenging the landowner TMs farm for coyotes, when they came within 20 yards of the big cat.

Nearly 100 hunters were scavenging the farm, but only about 12 saw the cat. None of the hunters had dogs.

At this point, the conservation department said they will not press charges because they believe the cougar presented enough danger to the hunters to warrant shooting.

MDC estimated that the animal weighed nearly 130 lbs., but have no official weight at this time.

This is the 14th official sighting of a mountain lion in the state, but it's the fourth in the last year.

Conservation agent Marsha Jones said it's rare to see a cougar, and while more big cats may be coming to the state, they're probably not breeding.

"We think that they're solitary males who are leaving areas like the Black Hills, the Dakotas. They're following the Missouri River Basin. They're looking to establish territory. All of them have been males, we haven't seen any females. You need a male and a female to establish a population. We haven't seen the other half of that yet, so we feel very confident that we do not have a breeding population in our state," said Jones.

The conservation will send the mountain lion to Columbia for lab testing to determine if it is truly wild, and also to determine if it's related to the animal killed in Ray County, Mo. in November.

For more questions about the cat, contact the Missouri Department of Conservation office in Kirksville.

Their number is (660) 785-2420.

Click on the images tab above the video box to see a slideshow of pictures from a KTVO reporter on the scene and from some KTVO viewers.

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Nathan Vickers contributed to this story.