Authorities Kill Mountain Lion in Central Kentucky

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

Dec. 24, 2014

If confirmed as free-roaming, an apparently healthy, 125-pound male mountain lion killed by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife authorities in a residential area of Bourbon County last week could be the first wild member of its species found in The Bluegrass State since before the Civil War! You’ll also read about new data from the National Safety Council that indicates accidental firearms fatalities are at historic low levels, and more!

DNA Testing to Determine Origin of Kentucky Mountain Lion
Officials with the Kentucky Department of Wildlife Resources say it could be weeks before they know for certain whether the first confirmed mountain lion in the state since the Civil War was wild and traveled to the state from a Western state with a breeding population.

Wildlife biologists and veterinarian Iga Stasiak on Tuesday conducted a necropsy on the mountain lion, which was shot December 8 in Bourbon County after state wildlife officers concluded it posed a risk to human safety. Genetic material from the big cat will be sent to a wildlife lab to determine if the animal’s DNA matches an existing wild population.

The department’s chief public relations officer, Mark Marraccini, noted that Kentucky has a large deer population, and deer are an important food source for mountain lions, though he was downplaying the possibility that the animal was wild. He said it appeared to be too healthy “to have walked here from Nebraska.”

J.R. Absher
J.R. Absher

In recent years, multiple sightings have been confirmed in parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, though biologists doubt there are breeding numbers in those states. Sightings have also been confirmed in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.

Accidental Firearms Fatalities at Historic Low Levels
Data released this month by the National Safety Council demonstrates that unintentional firearms-related fatalities continue to remain at historically low levels.

In the last two decades, the number of unintentional firearms-related fatalities has declined by 57 percent — from 1,409 unintentional fatalities in 1992 to 600 in 2012.
Data indicates that firearms are involved in less than a 1/2-percent of all unintentional fatalities in the United States. In a side-by-side comparison, firearms rank among the lowest causes of injury.

Other key NSC findings include:

    • In the past 10 years, firearms-related fatalities in the home have dropped by 20 percent, and by 60 percent in the last 20 years.
    • Firearms are involved in 1.4 percent of unintentional fatalities among children 14 years of age and under, and are among the least likely causes of unintentional fatality.
    • Hunting is one of the safest activities in America.
    • As firearms safety education programs have increased, the number of unintentional firearms-related fatalities have decreased.
    • Over the last decade, the rate of unintentional firearms-related fatalities has declined by 33 percent (from 0.3 in 2002 to 0.2 in 2012).

California Becomes First to Ban Prizes for Predator-Hunting Contests
The California Fish and Game Commission voted 4-1 December 3 to prohibit coyote hunting contests that offer cash and other prizes — marking the first outright ban of such events in the country. The move does not affect general predator hunting regulations or seasons in The Golden State, where coyote hunting remains legal year-round, and without bag limits.

The approved change to the Fish and Game Code reads: “Pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 2003, it is unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of nongame mammals in an individual contest, tournament, or derby.“

The measure does not apply to trophy hunts for game animals including black bear, elk and deer, though its approval comes at a time when anti-hunting and litigious environmental groups are visibly ramping-up efforts against predator-hunting contests in other Western states such as New Mexico, Idaho and Oregon.

In late November, under threats of a lawsuit from the notorious Center for Biological Diversity and other groups, the Bureau of Land Management rescinded its 5-year permit for a hunting organization to conduct predator-killing contests on BLM land near Salmon, Idaho, beginning in January 2015.

Sportsman’s groups and hunter advocacy organizations believe the recent moves indicate an increased effort by anti-hunters to chip away at various forms of hunting through litigation and by applying pressure on game commissions identified as sympathetic to their cause.
Introduced legislation to ban predator derbies offering prizes had previously failed to gain traction in the California General Assembly.

Quote of the Week
“It’s during duck hunts, and particularly at private duck clubs, where young boys first see how their fathers move among other men. Not how they act at work or at church or at home being ‘dad,’ but how they really are.”
– Steve Wright,
Arkansas Duck Hunter’s Almanac, 1998

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for You may contact him at

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One Response to “Authorities Kill Mountain Lion in Central Kentucky”

  1. Dylan Mapp

    There’s mountain lions in momouth county , Nj by the beach also there everywhere