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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

Are there mountain lions in Advance?

Posted Saturday, July 7, 2007, at 11:11 AM

Hi, folks!!

My very first blog deals with a wildlife issue which has been puzzling the Advance area for years --- Do we, or do we not, have mountain lions (alias "cougars," alias "pumas," alias "BIG CATS WITH SHARP, POINTY TEETH) in the hills of Crowley's Ridge, Missouri???

Sightings of these elusive creatures have been reported in the Tillman area of Crowley's Ridge (where I live) for more than 50 years. A year or so ago, Jim Rodgers, a neighbor of mine, was on KFVS TV relating the story of a mountain lion spotted on County Rd 322 near here. A Missouri Conservation rep came out to interview Jim and seemed to conclude that Jim's fiancee had probably seen a Golden Retriever - not a lion. Why are the Conservation people so reluctant to admit that the big lions are in the area? Are they afraid of widespread panic in the general population??

Well, it would appear that there is photographic proof now - in the form of a night shot, taken by another neighbor out here in the Tillman area. Even more shocking is a video filmed on a police camcorder by Sgt. David Garner of the Advance Police Department. The video shows a big cat prowling in the Semo Readimix lot just across Highway 25 from Town & Country Supermarket. That is in the Advance city limits, folks!!

I have the video on DVD, but, being technologically challenged, I have not found a way to convert it to a photograph. I also understand that I can't post the video on this site. Mmmmmmmmmm!!!

Maybe I should be carrying a shotgun when I take my dog pack walking on the lane? My neighbor's renter has planted corn next to the lane - and I never know what's gonna jump out at me! I keep expecting to see a big cat one of these dark evenings.. If you don't hear from me again, you'll know what happened.

From the Tillman OutBack, this is NSC reporter, Madeline DeJournett, signing off for Saturday, July 7, 2007

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I'm not so sure about the mountain lion theory. A good indicator would be outside pets, goats, llamas, or whatever else dissappearing. Another point one must take into consideration is that a mountain lion in the area wouldn't be covered up. No, it would be addressed as a serious issue with warnings in the local papers and most likely the network news. A mountain lion will usually hunt anywhere within a five mile radius of it's den or whatever. A five mile radius could easily include areas with more than a few residents. I used to live in Dexter, but now I'm out here in California. I've seen the mountain lions, and I've heard the warnings. Children are instructed not to be out after dark, and if walking about, have a partner with them. The same goes for adults. Are you sure that the mysterious cats in the Crowley's Ridge area aren't bobcats? That might be a bit more believable.

-- Posted by michael_lynn on Tue, Jul 10, 2007, at 12:03 AM

now wait just a cotton pickin' minute, I only got a few words in and they was sayin' this girl didn't know the difference between a mountain lion and a dog!?!

-- Posted by Obadieh on Thu, Jul 12, 2007, at 10:08 PM

There are a small number of mountain lions in the area from time to time. I know a couple farmers in the area who have seen them and they know the difference. They have lived in the area all their life and seen more than a few bobcats. They know the difference.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Thu, Jul 12, 2007, at 11:11 PM

I would say that a video, taken by a law enforcement officer, is pretty definitive evidence of mountain lions in the area. For a sceptic to assume that a trained observer or a skilled farmer doesn't know the difference between a small, tail-less bobcat (much less a dog)and a mountain lion is preposterous. That a mountain lion could escape detection in a thickly wooden rural area with only occassional glimpses by humans is not. There is ample wild game for a mountain lion to survive without coming close enough to human habitation to snag family pets.

-- Posted by Ducky on Fri, Jul 13, 2007, at 6:55 AM

If you city folks think that it would be hard for a mountain lion to hide in rural Missouri, you ain't been here!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Jul 14, 2007, at 2:13 PM

I have often pondered why conservation agents are so skeptical of any sightings of mountain lions,bears or baby elephants.Even the suggestion of 300 lb. catfish living near Wappapello Dam or a simply inquiry as to how many people in SEMO die from massive blood loss after being bitten by a gar sends our agents into a denial tizzy! It could be as simple as they are pure Show-Me-they believe in nothing unless they personally see it. This is the same agency who didn't believe in armadillos this far north until the highway dept. assured them they were real-real slow and easy to hit.

Maybe they are like the cops(conservation agents) in the old show Quincy,M.E., who always said this case is open and shut. Sam (others in the neighborhood)Quincy's faithful assistant will say "I don't like the looks of this Quince" and use some expensive lab equipment (poorly lit or grainy film footage in all these cases)and Quincy(the poor person who actually reports ANYTHING unusual to MCD only to be publicly ridiculed for their trouble)will try to get officials(MCD) to take notice, screaming(usually to a KFVS reporter who can barely keep from snickering)"PEOPLE'S LIVES ARE AT STAKE"!

It also could be as simple an explanantion as if MCD can't sell you a tag/stamp/license to hunt it,why even bother to admit it exists. Just more work during inventory season!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Sun, Jul 15, 2007, at 9:21 AM

Most astute, hilarious explanation I've heard yet! Good blending of fact and fiction! If we can't understand a scientific explanation, use Quincy! Best of both worlds!

Just so the big cat stays away from my goats! We Southeast Missouri goatherders have enough trouble with the coyote population. I don't notice the MCD denying their existance!! Hard to deny, when the critters sit 20 feet away and laugh atcha!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Jul 15, 2007, at 12:23 PM

My first story as a journalist was on the family up in your neck of the woods who claimed to have seen a cougar on their land. Interesting story and they certainly seem convinced.

BTW, I'm anxious to see this video. Somewhere in the not too distant future we will be able to post video on the site, so this could certainly be a good topic to revisit.

-- Posted by CoreyN on Tue, Jul 17, 2007, at 10:51 PM

Hey, I remember your story in the NSC!! I had forgotten that!

Over the years, there have been some slightly more credible witnesses......Still I believed them. Pretty bushy and wild in that region of the ridge.....

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Jul 18, 2007, at 7:35 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
I have an update on my efforts to post a digital photo of the cat that was in the police video I mention in my original mountain lion blog....

I've enlisted some help on this project, since I'm so technologically challenged - and we've discovered that the original image is onlly 72 DPI (whatever that means) - so, since it was filmed at night and several hundred feet/yards? away from the subject, the image is really small. My assistant tried enlarging it 500% and it's far too blurry for me to use. I can see the vague outline of what appears to be a cat, but it's not clear enough for publishing either in the NSC or on this blog.

We'll keep trying!

Hang in there Madeline. You'll eventually come up with better photographic evidence. Maybe the big cats are just camera shy.

-- Posted by Ducky on Sun, Jul 22, 2007, at 8:36 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
I don't know.....My assistant has sent me about five still photos of the mysterious Advance beast, and my daughter says it looks like a hamster, my sister-in-law says it looks like a dog, and my sister says it looks like a blob!

And yet, when I see the video, the creature MOVES like a cat!

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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