Mail Call: November/December 2013

Readers share accounts of mountain lions seen in their areas, Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans, urban gardening, delivering Grit magazine, and more.

| November/December 2013

  • Potato fruits that were pollinated and made it to fruit.
    Photo By Susan F. White
  • Harvesting pole beans. That there is extreme gardening!
    Photo Courtesy John Frey
  • Pollinator Alley on Jill Koos' urban gardening lot.
    Photo By Jill Koos

Minnesota Sighting  

I can relate with your big cat encounter (“Predators on the Prowl,” May/June). We live in a rural setting in southwest Minnesota, a few miles from South Dakota. Two years ago, in June, my wife and I were enjoying the evening on our patio at about 9 o’clock. A soybean field was between us and the township road running by our driveway. The beans were about 10 inches tall, and the corn on the other side of the road was above the waist. We saw what we thought was a whitetail deer cross the road from the corn to the bean field. Then it dropped down in the beans. Very strange, we thought. After a few minutes, we agreed it was strange for a deer to do that.

My wife suggested we walk down there, she in her pajamas. I offered to drive down with the car. Before I could leave the yard with the car, the creature vanished back to the corn field. After parking the car, we looked at each other with amazement and agreed it was indeed a large brown cat.

The ground was dry and hard, so I could not find tracks. The animal was more the 2 feet tall and of the proper color. That year we heard of other sightings in our area, but nothing since. There are several beef cow-calf operations in our area. We have not heard of anyone reporting any lost calves, but then I’m sure they would not expect a large predator. Our deer population is half what it was eight years ago, and the coyote numbers are way down. We are not sure if the cats are expanding their territory east from the Black Hills or if the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is releasing them here for who knows what reason.

Dave Meiners
Pipestone County, Minnesota

Missouri Cougars

Excellent article on cougars; nice to see some print on them. I, and several friends here in Pike County, Missouri, have yet to photograph one ... but we have seen them and signs of them on several occasions.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDOC) has only recently admitted that the cats are here in residence — formerly claiming that they were wandering young males as noted in your article. The National Geographic Society has numerous sightings here in Missouri and lists Pike County as a location of multiple cat sightings.

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