A mountain lion that was legally killed by a deer hunter in Hunt County this week is thought to be the same animal that was spotted last month in Rowlett and this month in Princeton, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said Tuesday in an emailed statement.
The mountain lion was an adult male that weighed nearly 160 pounds, according to the TPWD.
In November, Rowlett resident Jovon Humphrey spoke to WFAA about spotting a mountain lion in her yard. She said she thought it was one of her kids out of bed late at night until she saw a "large beige-coated mass" walking in between her two vehicles parked in the carport.
“It’s only once in a lifetime you’re going to see something like that walking through your backyard," Humphrey said Tuesday.
She called 911 in hopes the cat would be relocated or neighbors would be notified but hoped for a better ending.
“I was very disappointed, very disappointed by that. I’m still in shock," she said. “My hope was that it would be at least trapped and brought to a safe place.”
TPWD said that same mountain lion was also spotted in Princeton earlier in December. Princeton is anywhere from 25-37 miles away from Rowlett, depending on the road.
Jonah Evans, a mammologist for TWPD, said it's not unusual for mountain lions to roam for hundreds of miles, but usually it's younger cats who wander, not adults. He also says the weight of the cat leads him to suspect it may have previously been captive.
“They have huge home ranges and they can wander hundreds and hundreds of miles and pretty much turn up anywhere from time to time," Evans said. “From a wildlife biologist perspective, it would have been neat to see this thing kind of continue on its path up north, but, you know, the hunters were within their, legal right to do what they did, and they made their day as well.”
According to TPWD, there hasn't been a mountain lion sighting in the metroplex in at least two decades. There were sightings in Palo Pinto (2018), Grayson (2018) and Erath (2014) counties, but that's it. Mountain lions are native to Texas but mostly stay in the western and southern parts of the state.
Evans says most sightings turn out to be inaccurate.
“They are just house cats, gray foxes, bobcats, dogs, everything but a mountain lion," he said. “In most of the states seeking out a mountain lion is not a worthwhile endeavor. You're just not going to - there's none there."
There is some debate over whether a mountain lion attack was the cause of death for a man in Lipan, west of Fort Worth, earlier in December. Hood County officials said 28-year-old Christopher Allen Whiteley died from a mountain lion attack; TPWD said there was "no evidence" of an animal attack.