Are mountain lions migrating to MO?

After a mountain lion was killed in Northwest Missouri viewers wanted to know more about how common the big cats are here in Missouri.

So KRCG TMs Fact Finder team went to Missouri Department of Conservation for answers.

Mountain lions migrating to Missouri, is it fact or is it fiction?

A mountain lion that was killed in Ray County Sunday night is now in Columbia to be examined more closely.

We know it was a young male that weighed 115 pounds and stretched 6 1/2 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail.

The Missouri Department of Conservation said the farmer who shot the cat was afraid it was going to attack some of his cattle.

But seeing a mountain lion in Missouri is very unusual.

"Over the years we have confirmed, with this last incident in Ray County, twelve solid circumstances of mountain lions in Missouri. So it's a rare situation in this state, Missouri Dept. of Conservation Rex Martensen said.

Martensen said it's not rare to see a young male like the one in Ray County to travel over 600 miles when they're looking for a mate.

"These large predators are hard wired to disperse into new areas and try to find that new territory. They TMre looking for an unoccupied territory and they're looking for females, Martensen said. I know South Dakota has done some telemetry studies on mountain lions in their state, and they had them go as far as 800 miles.

Martensen said mountain lions usually eat deer and smaller animals.

He said they're usually scared of human beings and larger animals. But if you come upon one in the wild, be sure not to run.

"The best thing to do is not run because it can trigger a response mechanism to chase you. The best thing to do is make yourself appear big, Martensen said. They don't like to fight with something, if they don't think they can win. Then be sure to back away slowly."

Missouri Department of Conservation asks if you have pictures or any type of evidence that you think a mountain lion is close by please call them at (573) 751-4115.

If you would like to read more about the Ray County mountain lion click here.