Mountain Lion in Our Midst

Mountain lion paws
Photo credit: Matt Curtis
By now, Texans and many others throughout the country know the story of a male mountain lion that was seen on trail cameras in Rowlett, a town east of Dallas in Dallas County. Biologists with Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) later confirmed that the sighting and paw prints were, indeed, those of a mountain lion. The saga continued in the news and on social media, following what was likely the same cat on its journey from Rowlett to Princeton in Collin County, probably trying to establish its territory or looking for prey. The cat met its end when a hunter in a small Hunt County town shot it to death. And the hunter was well within his rights to do so because all that is required to kill a mountain lion in Texas is a valid hunting license, which the man possessed. That he actually reported it to TPWD was the responsible thing to do, though it’s purely voluntary.

Any large predator on the outskirts of a major metropolitan area would likely have met the same fate had it been an unprotected species, and it seemed it was just a matter of time before the cat was killed.

Though there were a few posts calling for killing or harming the cat, most people were excited about a large predator on the prowl, or were concerned about the cat’s welfare. A few expressed fear about its presence. People were fascinated that this cat was seen in Dallas County, a place not known for mountain lions. It was a first.

After we reported the cat’s death on our Facebook page, the number of “People Reached” continued to climb, comments rolled in, and shares occurred. Aside from a video we posted previously about bobcat kittens, it has been our most noticed post. People were either angry or sad.

Here are some facts about our Texas mountain lion:

  1. The population is unknown.
  2. There are two primary populations, South Texas and West Texas.
  3. They are classified as nongame by TPWD and can be hunted or trapped any time with a valid hunter’s license.  They have no protection.
  4. TPWD classifies them as imperiled, S2, in the Texas Conservation Action Plan/Species of Greatest Conservation Need.

If numbers 3 and 4 appear to be contradictory, they are.

It is the responsibility of the people of Texas to change this situation so our mountain lion has protection, either through the legislature or Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Watch our Facebook page, this newsletter, and other social media for updates.  If you’re interested in joining us, send an email to

Thank you, Mountain Lion, for bringing wild nature to us, however short-lived it was. Let your death be a catalyst for change.