Mountain lion sighting in Heritage of Hawk Ridge subdivision
By: Michael R. Smith
Lake Saint Louis resident David Turney believes he spotted a mountain lion, also called a cougar, as he was leaving his subdivision recently on the way to work.
Heading to Boeing Co. before 6 a.m. on “Wednesday or Thursday,” Oct. 31 or Nov. 1, Turney said he was driving along Harrier Drive in his Heritage of Hawk Ridge subdivision when he saw the cat.
“It was running across the road,” Turney said. “I was coming up the hill headed out of the subdivision. I was almost at the top and he was right on the edge going toward the number two green” of the subdivision golf course. He said the cat continued into the nearby woods.
Renee Flynn, activities director of the community clubhouse, said she first heard the story on Friday, Nov. 2, when residents in the center began talking about the sighting.
“We had another person who was a walker — someone else who supposedly saw the animal,” Flynn said. She’s been unable to locate the person but, Flynn added, she believes Turney.
“We see wildlife here,” Flynn said. “We see coyotes and bobcats so people are familiar with what they look like.” She said that now “everybody’s keeping a watchful eye.”
Shawn Gruber, wildlife programs supervisor with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said he usually receives reports when there’s a mountain lion sighting but hadn’t heard of the Lake Saint Louis incident.
“It’s possible,” Gruber said. “I don’t question when someone says they saw one.” However, he said reports of mountain lions need to be backed up with physical evidence such as hair, a paw print, scat, or a photo.
Getting evidence can be difficult, he said, because the cats “don’t linger. They move on.”
Since 1994 there have been 34 confirmed reports of mountain lions in Missouri. There was one confirmed sighting in St. Louis County in January 2011. Except for that instance there are no confirmed sightings in counties bordering St. Charles County.
Mountain lions are the largest cat in North America. They can be 3 feet to 5.5 feet log with a large tail about 3 feet in length. According to an MDC Web site the cats are typically reclusive and pose only a slight danger to people.
Gruber recommends that residents who think they have spotted a mountain lion contact local law enforcement authorities and the conservation department.