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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever seen a mountain lion or cougar in NC?

I know they're listed as extinct in the state, but unconfirmed reports are extremely common.

My dad believes he saw one on his drive to work yesterday morning. He says it has to have been pushing 5ft long and says he got chills because he knew what it was right away. What's more interesting is that when he went to do some research, he found a comment on a site from a month ago claiming to have seen one in the exact same location.

I have a friend with a large plot of land in Yadkin county who saw one in his yard once years ago, but never again.

It sounds to me that they're likely present in the state, but are pretty nomadic, wandering and passing through expansive ranges that make it difficult to get a gauge on the population.

What do you guys think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Heard a rumor of a guy getting a black one (panther) on a trail cam in the Eastern part of the state. ?????
http://www.ncwildlife.org/News/Blog...ins-and-the-Swamps-is-Just-That-a-Legend.aspx

Apparently any big black cat hanging around here is extremely unlikely. Still interesting though, and there are plenty of reports of the black panthers along with normal ones.

I wonder if state biologists have a better idea about cats in the area then they let on, but prefer to keep quiet for various reasons.
 

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The closest thing I have ever seen to one was down in Moore Country near Camp Durant. Something large in front of me crossed the road and I know it wasn't a bobcat or dog. It had a long curling tail and very thick legs. I also have a buddy from Whiteville who swears he saw a panther while he was deer hunting one time.

I have also seen UFOs, the boogey man, and a wampus cat. So take my opinion for what it is worth. :D
 

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Yes, seen one back in 2007, was fishing at Bluebird on Camp Lejeune when one came out of the woods and crossed the grave road. Me and two other families all saw it and I even called the Base Game Wardens. They said they hear reports all the time, no evidence, said to be extinct, and the few actually found, people determined where escaped or released from captivity and were actually Western Cougars.

So coyotes can expand from out west to the east coast but panthers cannot? Not only that I think just this year alone I have seen about a dozen articles on animals being found that they thought where extinct, but turned out they where not.
 

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I think that if Eastward expansion occured you would see an upward trend in the Western Cougar population just like the population explosion of Coyotesin the west. That is not to say that some, very few actually, could have made the trip and established breeding populations in the more remote areas of the Southeast.
As for the "Black Panthers", I think not. Its a trick of the light in my opinion. Black-phase Jaguars are extremely rare, and confirmed black-phase Cougars even more so.
I will be the last person to say they are not here, but will be the first to say that if they are it is the result of escaped or privately released cats. You only have to look at the Russian Boar population in WNC, especially Graham County, to see what can happen when animals are released in an area.
Growing up in WNC and spending an inordinate amount of time sleeping outside in my life I have seen and heard things I can't explain and don't want to actually. It adds to the allure of 'nature'.
I personally think that "Painters" are a continued oral tradition that dates back to the time when a few Panthers were still here in the Mountains. As I was growing up all the old folks in the hollar told a story about a woman and her baby walking back from town to their house on Bell Conney Mountain. A Painter started following her and she had to throw her groceries to it a little at a time in hopes of getting away. Soon it was only the woman and her baby, and only the woman made it home. Fast forward the early 2000's and my mother-in-law telling the exact same story except the town and mountain were different and about 50 miles apart.
People see things they can't explain and hear things they don't understand. Are a few scattered around NC, probably, but are they common, no. But that doesn't mean people see them on occassion.
 

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When I was young, my family and I saw a cougar in south Alabama (Covington Co, just above the panhandle of Florida) -- we watched him for several minutes standing in a tree line watching us while he twitched his long tail back and forth. Who knows his story, but the local game warden knew there were cougars in that area, even though they were still considered biologically extinct. Whether there was an actual breeding population is another matter. I have heard that the males can range for hundreds of miles.

// Joel


Likely a young male looking to establish a breeding range.
 

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I've never laid eyes on one, but back in college we used to sneak down the the RR tracks and walk through a tunnel outside of Dillsborough in the middle of the night. One night when we were leaving I heard a growl like I've never heard before not far off. This sound was DEEP, far deeper than any dog growl I've ever heard. Made the hair stick up all over my body. No idea what it was, but I wasn't sticking around to find out.
 

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I can tell you that I most certainly saw a mountain lion during a drive west on I-40 Driving from Wilmington to Greensboro. It was late afternoon/evening, but plenty of light to see it. Other motorists had to have seen it because many were brake checking. It was feeding on a deer carcass on the side of the road. However, it looked very healthy.

Now, this tells me it could have been a former "pet" of someone's, since it was scavenging for food. However, I am not one to say that I believe we have zero eastern cougars or mountain lions in NC, even if they are labeled as extinct. It amazes me how quickly sightings are dismissed.

I have a friend whose sole job is to work through some of the most remote areas of NC and VA for surveys and artifact excavating for a company. He has seen numerous mountain lions in the VA woods, and he has pictures of them. What's to stop them from venturing into NC and making our mountains home? I do believe there are more than a few in eastern NC, either domestic or otherwise. Call me crazy, just how I feel. Nature rocks. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think that if Eastward expansion occured you would see an upward trend in the Western Cougar population just like the population explosion of Coyotesin the west. That is not to say that some, very few actually, could have made the trip and established breeding populations in the more remote areas of the Southeast.
As for the "Black Panthers", I think not. Its a trick of the light in my opinion. Black-phase Jaguars are extremely rare, and confirmed black-phase Cougars even more so.
I will be the last person to say they are not here, but will be the first to say that if they are it is the result of escaped or privately released cats. You only have to look at the Russian Boar population in WNC, especially Graham County, to see what can happen when animals are released in an area.
Growing up in WNC and spending an inordinate amount of time sleeping outside in my life I have seen and heard things I can't explain and don't want to actually. It adds to the allure of 'nature'.
I personally think that "Painters" are a continued oral tradition that dates back to the time when a few Panthers were still here in the Mountains. As I was growing up all the old folks in the hollar told a story about a woman and her baby walking back from town to their house on Bell Conney Mountain. A Painter started following her and she had to throw her groceries to it a little at a time in hopes of getting away. Soon it was only the woman and her baby, and only the woman made it home. Fast forward the early 2000's and my mother-in-law telling the exact same story except the town and mountain were different and about 50 miles apart.
People see things they can't explain and hear things they don't understand. Are a few scattered around NC, probably, but are they common, no. But that doesn't mean people see them on occassion.
I agree it's highly likely any "black panther" is just lighting playing tricks on someone.
 

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I have seen very large cats on 2 occasions. Almost body length thick tail and a massive head, dark colored enough I would call it black.

Both times were mid morning while leaving the swamp from duck hunting in Johnston County.

The first time i saw it, it was laying on a blown down tree next to the creek and the other it was crossing the pasture heading towards a beaver pond.

Amazing animal that inspired foul language and goosebumps from fear and respect. Even more so than a fairly close and personal experience with a black bear.
 

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I have seen very large cats on 2 occasions. Almost body length thick tail and a massive head, dark colored enough I would call it black.

Both times were mid morning while leaving the swamp from duck hunting in Johnston County.

The first time i saw it, it was laying on a blown down tree next to the creek and the other it was crossing the pasture heading towards a beaver pond.

Amazing animal that inspired foul language and goosebumps from fear and respect. Even more so than a fairly close and personal experience with a black bear.
I have seen many strange things duck hunting that I certainly cannot explain. With the exception of marauding meth heads in the swamps of Duplin county.
 
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