Mountain lion sighted in eastern Ohio

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According to Ohio wildlife officials, a mountain lion was sighted recently near Wintersville in Jefferson County, Ohio.

In past years, mountain lion sightings have been reported by the public in several eastern Ohio areas but for the most part they have gone unsubstantiated but this time an ODNR wildlife official was the observer, adding a degree of certainty to the event.

What appeared to be a lion was seen at 6 p.m. July 29 near Fernwood State Forest, not far from Steubenville.

Past reports of sightings have turned out to be released or escaped captive animals or misidentified. At this time, officials are looking at game farms and individuals who have been known to keep mountain lions.

Biologists suggest that if the lion is a wild animal it likely is a young male moving through the area. If that is true, it may already be far away.

Interestingly, black bears and bobcats populations are increasing in Ohio making the sighting of a wild mountain lion more likely to be the real deal.

Mountain lions are found mostly in the western states but there is a known population in Florida. Lion numbers are increasing rapidly in places like California and Washington where short sighted emotional voters have passed laws to restrict the hunting of the big predators.

Other names

Mountain lions are also called cougars, pumas, panthers, painters and catamounts. Skilled hound hunters in the western mountains call them cats.

Pigs

Feral or wild pigs have also gone wild in Ohio. Feral pigs destroy habitat, trample crops and generally cause havoc with uncontrolled erosion.

Weighing up to 200 pounds, wild pigs multiply rapidly and for the most part fear nothing. They also carry the threat of countless diseases and parasites. Feral hogs are those released or escaped from hunting preserves and farms. Wild pigs represent a growing threat not only to Ohio but across the nation.

Ohio’s first feral pigs were seen in Vinton County in the 1980s. They have spread to most southeastern counties.

Hunting opportunities for feral hogs are cropping up in many states where they have taken a spot on the most wanted list. Make that the unwanted list by wildlife managers, landowners and farmers. Ohio deer hunters stand the best chance of seeing feral hogs and may kill them if possible.

About the Author

Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer, and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian. More Stories by Mike Tontimonia

One Comment

  1. Susan Ross says:

    I saw the tail end of a large “tawny” colored cat with large long “cat”tail.
    I saw the cat in my backyard within this last week Sept 07, 2014. I wasn’t sure that I saw it, but a neighbor saw it also. My husband heard it just nights before. I’m so excited. I would love to see it again and get a picture of it.

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