BLENCOE, Iowa -- Monona County Sheriff's Office officials shot and killed a mountain lion that was sitting in a pine tree at a house near Blencoe Friday morning.
Bill Noble, who live on Monona County Road K-45 northwest of Blencoe, said he checked the tree before going to bed around midnight.
"My dog was raising hell all evening and I didn't want to go to bed with her barking all night. I figured she had a raccoon," Noble said.
Noble shined a flashlight into the tree. He was shocked by what he encountered.
"I saw these two big eyes. I wasn't 15 feet from it. I carefully went in the house and made a call," he said.
Two officers showed up 10 minutes later. They determined the animal was a mountain lion.
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Officers shot the animal at 12:10 a.m., which prompted it to jump from the tree and run as Noble's dog pursued. The mountain lion died and was picked up by officers before being turned over to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Conservation Officer Gary Sisco said the animal was a male weighing 100 to 120 pounds. The DNR's biologist is conducting tests on the animal's organs to determine what it was eating before its death.
"We've had reports of mountain lions in the area, but this is the first we have confirmed," said Monona County Sheriff Jeff Pratt. "We don't like to take a wild animal and kill it, but it's not normal to have one this close to town or at a residence. We'd hate to see someone get hurt."
The animal, he added, is not a protected species.
Sisco said the closest calls he's had with mountain lions in recent years came at Harlan, Iowa, and South Sioux City.
The animal at Harlan was hit by a vehicle and died. Officers shot a mountain lion at South Sioux City in November 2004 as it sat in a tree in a residential neighborhood while children walked to school shortly after 8 a.m.
A mountain lion was shot and killed on Nov. 27 north of Harris, Iowa, near the Minnesota border. Harris is in Osceola County, west of the Iowa Great Lakes.