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Rockford Scanner » My Personal Sighting of a Mountain Lion in Winnebago County, In Hopes of Inspiring Others to Come Forward with Their Sightings…

My Personal Sighting of a Mountain Lion in Winnebago County, In Hopes of Inspiring Others to Come Forward with Their Sightings…

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Video of a few large cats spotted in Winnebago County

I wanted to take a few seconds and tell my personal experience.
In hopes of inspiring and encouraging others to come forward
with their personal sightings and experiences as well.

This is going to be a longer post, so I do apologize.
But I want to be as in depth as possible on this story.

Seems like officials are trying to deny things.
Many people, including myself,
feel the community should be informed about these large cats.

There are no reports of anybody being injured or killed by one.
That we know of.   But we do have to question, would officials tell us?
We know they deny any large cat sightings.
Would they deny a large cat attack?


 

View other wildlife sightings in Winnebago County: 
Wildlife Archives : Rockford Scanner

As you know, there have been numerous large cat sightings in our area over the years.

Many people have reached out to Rockford Scanner and told us their experiences.

I have lost count on how many people have reported seeing one in Winnebago County.

Almost everyone that has reached out to RS with their reports.
Have all said that nobody will believe them. Or they think they are crazy.

That is what motivated me to work this story,
which created me to have my own sighting.

From as many reports as I had received, I knew there was something to this.

I learned about some recent sightings of an alleged mountain lion near a local park area.
There was an area that had a high number of sightings, within a short amount of time.

 The next morning, I decided I was going for a hike and see if I could see anything.
Never in my wildest dreams, would I have expected what happened next, to happen!


As the sun was rising, and the night was turning into day.
I parked at a nearby parking lot.  Got out and began my hike.

It was a cool morning with dew on the grass and the sun was just coming above the horizon.

The trail I was on, is a popular one amongst hikers.
Along the trail, you begin with some wooded area.
Then it opens up into a large field area about a quarter of a mile down the trail.
On the left was woods, and on the right was some high grass and a large field.

I remember the woods being eerily quiet.
The woods were silent.

There is a rule, if the woods are silent.
You should be too.
Because there is a reason, they are silent…

I noticed two large deer frolicking in the field.
These deer were some of the larger ones I have saw.

I remember thinking, why in the world would the woods be silent for these 2 deer.
That is no reason these woods should be quiet.

They were out in the middle of the field, and it appeared they were playing.
I don’t know if deer play or not, but that is what it looked like to me.

As I walked along the trail. I remained silent. And I was trying to watch the deer.
The deer were preoccupied playing in the field, so they did not notice me.

At the time, I remember what a beautiful sight it was.
And how grateful and thankful I was, to see such a sight!
To watch these 2 large deer, play in this large field at sunrise.

Thinking to myself, why are the woods quiet?

As I was walking, I was trying to remain as quiet as possible.
I did not want to spook the deer.

And I wanted to see if I could get a better vantage point to see them from.
I noticed an area up ahead on the trail,
that I probably was able to watch the deer from a better vantage point.

Guess, I was not the only one thinking that…

It was large, tall grass area, that was elevated,
that opened up into the large prairie type of field where the deer were at.

Thankfully, I was being quiet.
But I must not have been too quiet.

I will say this again.
If the woods are silent, there is a reason they are silent.

As I was moving closer to watch the deer.
I noticed movement about 10 feet from me, in the tall grass area.
That is when I noticed the mountain lion!

A full-grown mountain lion!

It was laying down on its belly on the ground,
in the tall grass with its head hunkered down watching the deer.

It was trying to watch the deer,
It looked more like it was trying to stalk the deer.

I realized this thing was full grown
and had turned its attention towards me.

Now, I knew things were about to become serious.

Now that I reflect back on this,
I probably should have done some research
on what to do if you encounter a mountain lion in the wild.

Because at that moment,
I was staring face to face with a mountain lion, just feet from me.
I realized; I was no longer at the top of our food chain.
And the apex predator had its eyes on me.

My train of thought was this;
Since that it was hunting, and I came upon it.
That I should remain quiet and slowly
back away and let it finish its hunt.

If I made a noise, it would spook the deer and mountain lion.
And probably make the situation worse.
So, I remained quiet.

I slowly backed away and as I did,
I retained eye contact with the mountain lion.
To let it know that I was backing away and I meant it no harm.

God must have been on my side that day!

I was able to get to a corner on a nearby path.
And as soon as I turned the corner, I hauled ass.


So, I know for a fact now, there are mountain lions in our area!

When my encounter happened, I was not expecting it.
I was expecting to keep watching the 2 deer in the field.
When I stumbled upon the mountain lion.

If I had kept walking the trail,
I would have walked right past it and not even know it was there!

But I wanted to get a better view of the deer,
and that is when I encountered the mountain lion.

I know one thing, if that mountain lion had not moved when it did.
I am glad I noticed it when I did.

Because I was feet from it, in the wild!


The first thing I did after my encounter,
I contacted everyone that reported to me in that area and thanked them
and let them know about my own personal experience.
And to let them know, that I believed them.

And I cannot tell you how many people were thankful, that I believed them.


If you spot a mountain lion or other large wildlife in Illinois.
You are supposed to report it to the IDNR.

IDNR stands for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

I filled out my sighting report at
Report Large Carnivore Sightings | Wildlife Illinois

They responded back to me a day or 2 later.
I handed them my footage from the encounter.
They told me that all I saw was a large house cat.
And they would review my footage later on.

And when the IDNR responded.
They basically told me what I saw
was a large house cat and that I was crazy.

And refused to give me my footage back.
Footage that is clear and within feet from the mountain lion.
They kept and said they destroyed.
Destroyed for what???

—-> Kind of like that is the job duty of this person.
To deny everyone that reports their sighting…

And just like that, my footage was gone,
and I never heard back from the IDNR ever again.

Little did the IDNR realize at the time, who I am…
I am pretty sure they realize who I am now 😉

I know what I saw and what I had filmed.
They took my footage and called me crazy.
Just like they have done to many others in our community.

That is why these people reached out to RS.
Because they also encountered the same thing.

For what, to deny a mountain lion living in our area?
It is Mother Nature.
Leave it be and just inform the community what areas to avoid.
Problem solved.


That is what motivates me and inspires me to keep encouraging
everyone to come forward with their sightings.
Because at some point,
the IDNR and officials are going to have to come forward
and admit there is probably more than a few large cats in our area.

 






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