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Sightings of mountain lions increasing in Kansas

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November 20, 2012|By Melissa Scheffler | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(WICHITA, Kan.) — Research Biologist Matt Peek says it was a trail camera that caught the mountain lion in Stafford County.

"It's fairly uncommon.  That's the ninth one we've observed in the state since 2007 or that we can confirm in the state since 2007,” Peek said.

The picture was taken October 31.  But the deer hunter, who put the camera up near his stand, didn't check his pictures until last week.

"Tenth, fifteenth picture I went through when I came across the mountain lion.  Shocked to say the least,” Kurt Keesling, the deer hunter, said.

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Peek says it's probably a juvenile male, kicked-out of his "typical territory" by adult toms.

“When those populations in western states are increasing, there's less room for these sub-adult males to stay in the existing population,” Peek said.

Mountain lions used to roam the state.  Now, Kansans only have occasional sightings.  However, people in every state west of Kansas live with the big cats every day.

"It's difficult to say they're making a comeback.  They're certainly passing through here more than they used to,” Peek said.

The deer hunter who caught this image isn't concerned about a cougar comeback.

"As long as he doesn't bother us, we're not going to bother him for sure and I think it's kind of neat to have one in the area really,” Keesling said.

Thanks to trail cameras, many hunters will know when one visits.

It is legal to kill a mountain lion if you're protecting your life or property.  However, it is illegal to kill a cougar just because you see one.

Mountain lion sightings increase.
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