Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: middle of nowhere
I've seen at least three in northwest Iowa. I've seen tracks several times, too. They still tell me they don't exist. "It was probably a deer."
Deer don't have long tails, nor do they leave big pawprints with no nail marks. I lived in Montana several years. I know what a cougar looks like, and I know what deer, lynx, coyotes, and housecats look like, too.
A local man had one of his horses clawed up by a cougar a couple of years ago-- he heard a racket in the barn, went out, and found his 4 y.o. stud horse frantic in his pen streaming blood, with cat tracks all around in the mud. The mares and foals in with him were huddled in the back of the shed, afraid but unhurt. The stallion had big, raking claw marks on the shoulders and flanks. The DNR guy got there at the same time as the vet. DNR said it must be coyotes or dogs. The vet rolled his eyes and said no way that was dogs or coyotes, and if it wasn't a cougar, he didn't want to meet the housecat that did that damage... it had to be a good-sized cougar to even bother with a mature stallion, but the stud was likely protecting the mares and foals and took the brunt of the attack.
The horse recovered, but never tolerated anyone on his back again, and with good reason. He threw some really nice foals, and they lost him a few months ago to a lightning strike.