WATCH: Rare Midwest Mountain Lion Walks Right Past Iowa Hunter’s Tree Stand

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

An Iowa hunter was treated to a rare sight when a Midwest mountain lion walked right past his tree stand, emerging from the fall foliage beneath him and landing smack in the center of the camera’s frame. Check it out.

According to The State, mountain lions are rare across the Midwest. At first, it almost seems possible the man’s video could be bogus, the leaves and limbs of the tree perhaps disguising the cougar’s presence and making viewers believe they were watching a bobcat. However, the large mammal suddenly proves its occupancy in Iowa, the orangey-brown feline pouncing over a downed tree and out into the clearing nearby. Its muscled shoulders and large paws carry it across the browned vegetation, the big cat pausing to listen to nearby traffic.

Viewers flocked to the comments, warning the hunter in the video not to breathe as another commenter said, “Holy crap he could be up that tree stand in a few seconds.”

Fortunately, the mountain lion was only passing through and what sounds like a nearby roadway seemed to disguise any small sounds the man may have made while hunting. Further, officials have assured Iowans that recent sightings have been in remote enough areas that the animals pause no threat to humans.

“We do not believe there is any danger to the public,” Madison County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement, “as these sightings have been in remote areas not regularly traveled by the public.” Officials further emphasized that they can’t be sure whether the recent sightings have been of the same animal or if there are multiple mountain lions roaming IA.

Why are There So Few Mountain Lions Across the Midwest?

Unsurprisingly, the reason that there are so few mountain lions roaming the Midwest is that humans, essentially, killed them all.

Per the news outlet, the last historical record of a mountain lion in IA came in 1867, which speaks to the way early American settlers interacted with potentially dangerous wildlife. They killed it.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said of the animals, “The pioneers did not see their presence of any value to their own way of life, so basically persecution by humans brought their demise.”

Reports of mountain lions across the Midwest later began to re-emerge in the 1990s, with more than 30 confirmed mountain lion sightings recorded since 1995. Unfortunately, however, experts believe this does not mean there is a reproducing population of mountain lions within IA. Instead, many believe these carnivorous creatures have wandered in from neighboring states, including Wyoming, where the animals have thriving populations. Further, experts are not certain whether IA offers an adequate environment for mountain lions, with the threat of humans sure to discourage their movement there.