Kansas Game Wardens are investigating after a mountain lion was found dead in northcentral Kansas.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism posted a photo of the mountain lion on their Facebook Page Thursday night.
“Just kind of living the dream out here in the middle of nowhere,” Rooks County hunter Kyle Strutt said.
He said this is the perfect place to hunt for quail and pheasants, which is what he and his pals were doing Thursday afternoon until they stumbled upon something unusual.
“My buddy was right up this trail,” he said. “He realized there was something laying dead there. He thought it was a deer because all he could see was brown fur.”
But that fur turned out to belong to a dead mountain lion.
“When he first saw it, he didn’t know if it was still alive or not,” he said. “So he backed up a little, but we soon found out it had been shot a few times.”
There was a shot in his tail, chest and head, Strutt said.
“There was blood still on the carcass, but we think it was shot a couple days ago,” he said.
“We were totally in awe and in shock when we found it,” he said. “That lion was huge….My buddy is 6’5. His wingspan covered the whole thing.”
Strutt said he immediately called the local game warden who responded to the scene.
Officials confirm the hunters did not kill the lion, but are currently investigating the situation.
“It’s not legal to kill a mountain lion without a cause,” Mike Miller from Kansas Wildlife Parks & Tourism said. “So if your life was in danger or land owners were protecting their livestock or building in a rural area, there are certain provisions.”
Miller said he doesn’t know if the lion lived in the area or was passing through, but finding one in the sunflower state is not common.
“This is the 20th mountain lion confirmed in Kansas since 2007,” he said. “And this is the second one that has been killed.”
The last confirmed mountain lion in Kansas was seen in 2016, Miller said.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports several unconfirmed sightings have been reported since then.
It is the 21st confirmed sighting in Kansas since 1990, though there were no confirmed sightings between 1990 and 2005.
Miller said the game wardens will continue to investigate the situation, but encourage the public to call them at (620) 672-5911 if they have any information.
Regardless what they find in the investigation, Strutt said it was a big surprise.
“It was a day I’ll never forget, “Strutt said. “And for it to be the last day of 2018 pheasant, quail season, that’s something we will remember for the rest of our lives,”