By: Marissa Pendergrass
Some Clinton County hikers are on the prowl, hoping to catch a glimpse of a cougar. They're excited to hear about a confirmed sighting. DNR officials said last week a camera on private property captured the cougar, roaming along the Wapsi River.
Conservation officers said a confirmed sighting is rare and it's hard to know where the cougar is now. But they know one showed up somewhere between De Witt and McCausland.
"This is the first time it appears to be a legitimate photograph of an animal in this area and you know its kind of exciting," said DNR Conservation Officer Luke Webinger.
One De Witt family said they're not afraid to see the real thing.
"It's gonna run before it even comes near us. Kids are loud enough they'll chase it away," said DeWitt resident Seth Pladna.
Officers said cougars usually hide, they try to avoid humans and this one was probably just passing through.
"A human and a mountain lion running into each other, its probably pretty low, you know you can't rule it out. There's always the potential," Webinger said.
Officers said if you do come face to face with a big cat throw things at it, don't run, stand tall, make yourself look bigger and scream. Pladna said he wouldn't mind seeing more of them.
"This is where they're from. We've chased them outta here, cutting their trees down and building homes. We need to stop," Pladna said.
Officers said it's not illegal to shoot a cougar, but they don't recommend hunting them.