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Underwood resident spots mountain lion

Published 6:23am Monday, October 14, 2013

Randy Kennedy was mowing his yard Tuesday when he saw what he thought was a coyote about 400 yards away in a plowed field — until he looked through the scope of his deer rifle and recognized the animal as a mountain lion.

“It got my attention,” he said. “It threw me for a loop, it was a pretty good-sized animal, with a long tail. It definitely was not a bobcat.”

Kennedy, who lives a mile north of Underwood off County Highway 35, is on the alert for coyotes, he said, because he has a German short-hair dog with puppies, but he never expected to see the mountain lion.

“It was pretty cool to to actually see one,” he said. “It’s the first one I’ve ever seen in the wild, that’s for sure.”

He called his friend, Tony Koep, to verify the sighting and took pictures of the tracks, he said, then called the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to confirm it.

DNR officer Troy Richards said he had heard rumors of a cat in the area and told him not to shoot it, according to Kennedy, and estimated the cat at about 120 pounds.

The mountain lion appeared to be following deer tracks, according to Kennedy and was “in no way scared.”

Kennedy watched the animal for about 15 minutes. He later heard that a neighboring farmer, about a mile from Kennedy’s property, had also seen a mountain lion a couple days later.

Mountain lion sightings aren’t common in this area, though Kennedy has heard of spottings near Maplewood, he said.

“People need to know there’s a cat around and to be on the alert,” he said.

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