On Dec. 12th, MDC Resource Scientist Dave Hamilton and other members of the Mountain Lion Response Team confirmed that the photo captured on December 9th by a Livingston County deer hunter's trail camera was, in fact, that of a mountain lion.
The photo was taken after bowhunter, Joe Neis, placed his camera on private land in Livingston County north of Chillicothe to monitor deer activity. He told investigators he had no idea the cat was in the area before the trail camera captured its image. The photo shows an apparently healthy mountain lion walking by. The cat has dark spots on the insides of its front legs, indicating it is less than two years old. Hamilton estimated its weight at 110 to 120 pounds.
The MLRT also completed an investigation on Dec. 12th that has been underway since Thanksgiving, confirming mountain lion presence in Shannon County. "Thanks to the Shannon County agent Brad Hadley, MDC Wildlife Damage Biologist Scott McWilliams and the cooperation of the hunter and his family, we had enough evidence in the way of the deer hide and results from a necropsy, photos and so on to rule out bobcat and to confirm mountain lion," Hamilton reported.
The Shannon County case developed when a hunter shot a doe late in the evening on Saturday. He decided that it wasn't a clean-killing shot and planned to search for the deer the next morning. He found the deer partially eaten and covered up with leaves and grass–typical of a mountain lion kill-and-feeding pattern. The MLRT's analysis agreed that the wounded doe was actually killed by the mountain lion.
Another case that developed December 12th in Clark county–the report of a video of a mountain lion that had been widely viewed and accepted as valid–turned out to be just another of a growing number of videos of an ordinary house cat.
To date, the MLRT has confirmed 10 mountain lion sightings in Missouri since 1994.