Valley Springs, SD
A mountain lion has apparently been on the prowl inside the city limits of a southeast South Dakota town.
Some residents of Valley Springs are getting used to the sightings.
South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks can't confirm the sightings yet, but the reports are credible enough for conservation officers to believe that a mountain lion came through a Valley Springs neighborhood on Tuesday. Some people in Valley Springs got a good, long look at the mountain lion near some backyards on the south side of town.
"It's pretty unusual to have them in, especially inside the city limits, they usually try to stay away from people," South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Wildlife Conservation Officer Jeremy Rakowicz said.
One neighbor isn't surprised by the sighting.
"There's a lot of deer, raccoon and game for it, a lot of cover," Valley Springs resident Tim Agnew said.
Agnew didn't see this mountain lion, but he has spotted another in the area more than a year ago.
"Just like anything that jumps out in front of you, it's a startle, but at first I thought it was a deer," Agnew said.
Game, Fish & Parks says small pets and people probably aren't in any danger since the mountain lion is probably long gone by now.
"This isn't quite the habitat they're looking for. They're looking for a lot more seclusion and so I wouldn't be afraid with pets and kids to have them out there," Rakowicz said.
And with the fall harvest underway, we could see even more mountain lions leaving the farm fields and heading toward someone's backyard.
"Those combines are moving through and the tractors and grain wagons, that's going to push them around a little bit and keep them moving," Rakowicz said.
Conservation officers say if you do spot a mountain lion, try to get a picture of it and call Game, Fish & Parks so they can confirm the sighting and get the cat to move along, if necessary.