Our informant is utterly reliable. It's a cougar on my friends' old family farm southwest of here, not too far from the pretty little Maple River and on the fringe of the semi-wild Loess Hills.
The cat report his morning touched off a small Facebook gigglefest about a trick one of the guys played on my No. 2 grandson a few years ago on the hunt where he came of age. He had just been promoted to armed hunter from his previous condition of servitude -- barehanded, bipedal, auxillary bird dog. The party was walking a wooded draw on the farm when the wag warned him, "Watch out for the cougars." -- sending the lad into a full tactical crouch for the second it took him to realize the chain jerk.
The boy, now man, is, of course, being reminded today that as an experienced lion hunter, it is his job to venture forth and slay the beast. The old people are advising him on weaponry. The female (who, sigh, routinely outshoots all of us) suggested a mag tube extension for his shotgun. I countered that he had a new .30-06. It's only a matter of time before he's told that nothing less than .50BMG will do.
I've seen only a couple of cougars (far west of here a long time ago) and never encountered one up close. So I know Jack Schidtt about it. From my reading, though, I don't think the gun bore makes much difference. Br'er Puma apparently likes to jump you from above and behind. He shakes you by the neck a few times, snaps off an appetizer, takes a minute to pee on the gun you never got into play, and hauls you off to a nice picnic spot.
Cougar sightings are becoming almost, but not quite, routine here. They're rare enough to be interesting. They're common enough to make a guy smile when he thinks of the Iowa DNR experts who for years said there ain't no such critter round these parts; then that, if there were, they were just pets that grew up and got dumped. Or escaped from the circus. It's only about now that the game cops are admitting that the big cat, like many wild things, can be highly adaptable. Unlike your basic game cop.