Big cats (Panther, Cougar) in the Northeast Texas area? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I'm curious if anyone here from my area has heard stories of mountain lions, panthers etc. still being around here? To the north of us is some wooded land, and some people have just put a trailer house just the other side of that woods. Yesterday they asked me if I had seen the panther? They said they'd seen a panther chasing their dog out of the woods at dusk. The lady said her mother has seen it on another occasion, when she visited. Now I can't help thinking that if a panther were after a dog in the woods, said dog wouldn't ever make it back to its owners. By the way, here in Texas, it seems the word "panther" denotes the mountain lion, or cougar. I would discount this story if it were not that a friend of mine, a 70 year-old lady whom I trust absolutely, told me about a year ago that she had hit a cougar with her car about 20 miles from here. She was very sure, having gotten out of the car and looked at it. (Wish she'd had a camera.)

I really think farmers would be reporting calves killed or someone would be finding a half eaten deer carcass in the woods were there really big cats in the area. I am sceptical, but whatever the facts are, I'm not going out after dark anymore to get the laundry off the line, nor am I letting my small children play out there in the cool of the evening. Not a good feeling.

-- Elizabeth in E TX (, April 17, 2002


Elizabeth, I own a weekend home on 18 heavily wooded acres in East Texas. It fronts on Lake Athens. I have never seen any big cats, but I have seen their tracks on our place. Most of the tracks are bobcat, but on at least 4 or 5 occassions in the last year, I have measured tracks 4" across. My research tells me that this is no bobcat, but a cougar. I did talk to a neighbor who has seen a couple over the years and heard that the rancher across the road has killed one during the last year. Lots of deer on our place, but we have not seen any deer carcass, etc. But there are plenty of critters to haul off and pick clean any carcass that would be left. I talked to the TP&W people, and they verified that although somewhat uncommon, they are known to be in the area. But with plenty of small game such as rabbits, squirrels, etc., they seldom have to take larger game, and an attack on a human is a rarity. But small kids should not be left alone outside, especially at night. Just wondering - where is your place? Steve

-- SteveD(TX) (, April 18, 2002.

I live in Panola county just west of the Sabine River. i have seen the tracks and heard thier cry on many occasions, but have lived here most of my life and have never seen one. We also have what is referred to as Pigmy bears. My husband has seen them years ago, but doesn't know if there are any more around now or not. The river bottom is large and most of it is hunting club or forestry land. A panther could live there forever and not be seen. But just because you don't see him, it doesn't mean he doesn't see you. I do see bobcats quite often. They aren't much bigger than some house cats. Take care, but I wouldn't worry too much, there aren't enough of them to thin the natural prey. An old or sick one might come after stock, but wolves are more of a threat than the cougars. Robin

-- Robin Downing (, April 18, 2002.

Yes, there are still a few cougar around. My husband saw one a few years ago. We have some virgin woods north of us, and it's prime habitat. Wish we could get some of the locals to stop trapping!!

-- Rose on Tx Coastal Plain (, April 18, 2002.

Cougars are not likely to come looking for you as long as there is plenty og game for them. I had a neighbor 2 years ago lose 10 sheep in ten days to a female and two grown cubs, we trapped the 2 cubs but did not get the mother, she moved on. they could take those ewes right over a barbaed wire fence. I have read some real scary stories about human encounters with Cougar, I seldom go into the woods here in southern Oregon without atleast a side arm.

-- hendo (, April 18, 2002.

Funny you should start this thread. Just yesterday I was driving to Athens from Mallakoff on Hwy. 31. About 4 or 5 miles before I got into Athens someone had hit, a large cat. Was not a house cat. It looked like it weighed in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 lbs. It wasen't a bobcat because it had a long tail. But was a tannish yellow collor with spots. Steve I used to work for an interior designer in Athens, and we did work out on Lake Athens. Ruby

-- ruby (, April 18, 2002.

I'm in Missouri. Not long ago, a UPS driver made a delivery to our house. Our Pyrs stopped him cold at the gate but made friends with him once I arrived and told them to stand down. As he was petting them, he commented that his father-in-law had need of some Pyrs as he had at least one cougar around his farm in Boone County, west of Columbia. The conservation department has been denying their presence in Missouri until the last few years but there have been several confirmed reports of sightings, including one man in northeast Missouri who had his video camera with him for undeniable proof.

-- marilyn (, April 18, 2002.

If you all are talking about Athens Tx I was just there a 3 weeks ago. We stayed at the Best Western Inn on the hill. We stayed there and got up early and went to first Monday in Canton. Wow was that fun. Then we went north through TX and into Ok then back home here to Mo. My father grew up in Dallas but after he left home his family all moved to Athens and lived there till both my grandparents passed away. If you ever saw a old man playing fiddle by the name of Merret Thomas that was him. He was always playing his fiddle in little bands till about 3 years before he passed away.

-- Teresa (, April 18, 2002.

I live in southwest Ar in a rural area surrounded by timberlands. The state game and fish people say the panthers are non-existant in Ar. However my neighbors across the road have seen and heard them. There is plenty of game and space for them. Haven't heard of anyone losing stock to them.

-- VickiP. (, April 18, 2002.

I know there are some in NW Texas, (we have them here in W Oklahoma) so I'm sure you have them in the NE where there is more cover. It's kind of spooky.

-- cowgirlone in ok (, April 18, 2002.

We live in NE Oklahoma and I have never seen one. I have HEARD one though. We had a deer carcass after getting all of the meat off of it. We had thrown it down into the ravine across the road. I knew that the cayotes would clean the rest of it up. I went outside because I heard the strangest noise and when I stepped out into the road it was the loudest animal noise I have ever heard. It sounded like a woman screaming only more like a cat. I can't even describe it properly for you! I only know that I very slowly turned around and did the 50 yard dash back inside! The old ones that have lived around here for years say that there is a panther. I didn't stop to ask him if it was him. LOL

-- Nan (, April 18, 2002.

We're up in NE Texas - 10 miles s. of Ok border. We've seen bobcat tracks around the ponds during the bad drought 2 yrs ago. Hunters around here have mentioned sitings of panthers. Never seen one though. There's plenty of feral hogs, wild turkeys, etc. for them to eat around the creeks. We're more worried about the coyotes which seem to have greatly multiplied this year. Our Pyr takes care of them and we've heard of a Pyr killing a bobcat.

Last night on the local news they talked about cats in Texas. One story was about people keeping exotic pets and the county was trying to get them to give it up to avoid it escaping or hurting anyone. Another story was they were trying to track a cat down. Here's story and url:

Garvin County Panther "A wild panther is loose in one Garvin County community and authorities are scrambling to catch it. Dana Stanberry of Maysville spotted a 170 pound panther near her car Monday night. A crew from G.W. Exotic Animal Park came out to her house to try and catch it. They set up a trap with a chicken inside to try and lure it in. But the panther may not come back until everyone else goes away. Authorities believe that the panther was either let loose by someone or it escaped from its owner."

-- zeb (, April 18, 2002.

Ruby, my grandfather, who passed away at the age of 101, 4 months ago, lived in Malakoff most of his life and was a sort of local celebrity because of his golf (he shot an 80 the day before he went into the hospital in November). You are passing through my stomping grounds for sure (LOL)! It sounds like that cat may have either been a bobcat (who have a tail about 10-15" long), or a young cougar because when they are young they have spots that disappear as they get older. A full grown cougar will weigh in around 80 - 100 pounds, sometimes even much more. Their scream does sound like a woman's scream - think of Jamie Lee Curtis in that movie she did 20+ years ago (Halloween?).

Teresa, sounds like your grandfather probably participated in the 'Ol Fiddlers Reunion, which happens every August in Athens. Fiddlers from all over the US come to play and compete against each other in fiddlin' contests, etc. Great place to be, if you like old time country music. And I hang out at Canton First Monday Trades Days pretty often. Small world!

-- SteveD(TX) (, April 18, 2002.

Yep we have panthers, bobcats and bears too! I saw a cougar while deer hunting in the Boggy creek area(south of Tyler). I've seen their tracks plenty of times. Hubby used to sit out on the porch and listen to them at night when he lived around Arp. He's also seen the little bears we have around here and a friend of his got one in a live trap once. I saw a dead bobcat on the side of the road just yesterday. For the most part the panthers in this area are very reclusive. I have never been worried about want something to worry about...worry about all the blasted feral pigs! Destructive dangerous beasts. What area of east Tx do you live in? I'm near Henderson.

-- Amanda (, April 18, 2002.

I live in Wylie which is no longer the tiny little town it used to be, but we've got 'em (bobcats) out here too. Don't ever see them though except for early in the morning (4 am) along with the coytes(sp?). Go a little farther north and they've got the panthers/mountain lions. Hopefully they'll stay somewhat hidden as they have been

-- c.d. (, April 18, 2002.

Nan, you described it pretty good except that it turns your blood cold and your bones to jelly. Amanda, I'm over at Carthage. Those pigs are mighty good eating. We have been trapping and butchering them for years. I made ham and bacon from one this year. Unbelievable! Robin

-- Robin Downing (, April 18, 2002.

We are north of Tyler, near Mineola, so not too far from you, Amanda, or from Athens either, Steve. My husband and I used to set up at Canton Trade Days, probably for ten years, until last year. It really is a small world. We ought to have a northeast TX get- together.

An old feller my husband knows of traps feral hogs and sells the smallish ones (up to about 35 lbs) for $5 each. We've gotten some in the past and butchered for parties, but I've thought of getting a couple and raising them to butchering size. Can't beat the price.

-- Elizabeth in E TX (, April 18, 2002.

I have 300 acres backing up to 1500 wooded acres, very rural area most people have hundreds of acres. Anyway, we have bobcats, panthers, bear (never seen one, thoush), wild boar and coyotes galore! Last week during the middle of the day, saw 3 coyotes circling a cat, thought the cat was mine and went out there with a pitch fork. The coyotes could care less about me with the pitch fork and when I got closer I realized the cat didn't have a tail, it was a bobcat. I let nature take its course. My cats stay quite close to the house, they must have been chased by something. I lock my sheep up like a maximum security prison. If I leave during the day they are in the barn. I use to let the chixs out during the day but one day the coyotes ate 5 at a setting so they are locked up day and night. It is not easy having all these preditors in such a rural setting. When I lived in NW ILL. it was also rural but it didn't seem dangerous. I could raise sheep and didn't worry about the horses other than the grass being too rich!

-- debbie (, April 19, 2002.

Sounds like a great idea Elizabeth! I didn't realise there were quite this many homesteaders in northeast Tx. I'm quite familiar with your area...well almost all of east Tx really. I also used to be a vendor at might have seen us....we sold showerheads and had a display with a running sink of water. It's been several years ago but seems most folks remember our display. If you want to have a get together it would be best to do it before summer really kicks in(I don't know how the early settlers survived without A/C in this stuff).

-- Amanda (, April 20, 2002.

Amanda, yes I think I remember that running sink of water!! Were you on a row next to and facing the parking lot by the Mayor's Inn or Restaurant, or whatever it was called? And did you guys also sell RV shower stalls & other RV stuff? Or wait, maybe it was by the upside- down lemonade stand???

Early settlers? I don't understand why they stayed after living through their first summer! Well, I guess the farming was good, long growing season and all that, and they had to survive.

About us NE Texans getting together, I confess I am no good at actually organizing that sort of thing, but I do think it'd be fun if someone else would help with that.

-- Elizabeth in E TX (, April 20, 2002.

I think a get together would be a great idea! I'm here in east TX too. I've heard alot about panthers in this area but I haven't ever seen one.

-- Jodie (, April 21, 2002.

I forgot to mention that there is a Texas Homesteaders on yahoogroups and we are having a get together June 8 (I think that is the right date.) Here is the email address if any of ya'll are interested in joining the group and/or coming to the "Gathering". I look forward to meeting more Texas Homesteaders/Countrysiders

-- Jodie in TX (, April 21, 2002.

Can some of us South Eastern Okies come to the homesteaders picknick?

-- debbie (, April 21, 2002.

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