A deer hunter shot and killed a 148-pound male mountain lion Saturday morning east of Hermitage in Bradley County. It’s the first mountain lion killed in Arkansas in nearly 40 years. The last mountain lion killed in Arkansas was in 1975 in Logan County.
The hunter, Douglas W. Ramer, 62, of Bastrop, Louisiana, told wildlife officers the mountain lion was moving toward his deer stand and he felt threatened. According to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission regulations, non-game wildlife (except migratory birds and endangered species) that present a reasonable threat to people or property may be shot during daylight hours or trapped without a depredation permit.
Ramer, who was on private property, reported the incident to wildlife officers Wednesday. He has not been charged with violating regulations, although officers are continuing to investigate the incident.
The carcass was given to AGFC biologists. Hair from the mountain lion will be sent to Wildlife Genetics Laboratory in Missoula, Montana, for DNA testing, which often can reveal an animal’s area of birth.
Mountain lions – also known as pumas and cougars – lived throughout Arkansas until about 1920. The AGFC offered bounties and hired trappers to control predators during 1927-29. At least 255 wolves and 523 bobcats were killed, but no mountain lions were taken.
Five sightings of mountain lions in Arkansas have been confirmed in the last five years, although a breeding population has not been verified. A few mountain lion sightings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Louisiana also have been confirmed in recent years.
A mountain lion was killed in Montgomery County in 1949 and another in Ashley County in 1969. In late 1998, a team from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock observed tracks, feces and a deer kill from a free-ranging mountain lion across Hot Spring, Garland and Pulaski counties.