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Carolina Boy 01-26-2010 09:28 AM

What was that??
Hey Y'all, so I was driving home from Knoxville, where a girl I date lives, on Sunday. I left late around 10:30 pm and drove through the park (441) I was about 5-10 minutes from Newfound Gap on the TN side when I came around a slight bend in the road, although I think I know what I saw I am looking for some confirmation. Running down the small shoulder of the road coming towards me was a large cat, not a small bobcat, I mean large he would have come up to at least my upper thigh or even waist, Beige or tan in color, and had huge paws it ran like a tigetr or cat and as soon as it saw me it sprung up to the right as the contour of the land sheered up from the road, it sprung like a cat and was gone. I would say it was no more than 15 yards from me and had a very large head and again huge paws. Do we have mountain lions and are they really just rare? There is no way it was a bobcat and I have looked and apparently there have been other sightings in the area I was, anyone else out there seen em?

Barry Murphy

Rog 1 01-26-2010 09:59 AM

We still have them here in Fla. but they are referred to as panthers....saw one several years ago along the interstate driving back late from a football game....when you see one its like nothing else out cousing claims to have seen one in the park years ago....

silvercreek 01-26-2010 10:06 AM

I understand that officially there are no mountain lions in the Park. In the 1990's I and two friends were camping at Cataloochee. We had Coleman latern going. Just before turning in for the night, I went to the restroom. When I came back, my friends ask if I saw it. I said saw what. They claimed they saw a large tawny cat jump up on the table in the next camp site. It then jumped down and moved off toward the restroom. It had a long tail, moved like a cat, not like a dog and was large. I thought they were joking, but no one was smiling and they never retracted their story. We were all in our 40's. I never saw or heard a thing, I'm just recounting what I was told by two lifelong friends. Regards, Silvercreek

rivergal 01-26-2010 10:39 AM

I believe there are large cats in the park. I have wondered if a large cat
was involved the the case of the Martin boy who disappeared in the park.
One night on Chilhowee lake I heard what sounded like a panther squalling.

MadisonBoats 01-26-2010 11:14 AM

I watched a show about this a while back on The Discovery Channel - I think? They were documenting the viability of large cats witnessed and photographed by people across the US. It was odd that the scientists said all of these sitings were false and that there a few cats left in isolated areas.

It made me very curious to what these people were actually witnessing...

Crockett 01-26-2010 11:15 AM

Did it have a tail and if so how long?

jeffnles1 01-26-2010 01:15 PM

I live in Northern Kentucky. Officially, the state says there are no black bears in the wild around here. They have made that claim with the absolute certainty of a man who states the Earth is the center of the Universe and the Sun rotates around the Earth. They have repeated it so many times that it has become the mantra regardless of how many sightings have been reported.

That was until about 2 years ago when a woman not only saw one (like so many others) but she saw it as it bounced off of the front bumper of her car. Hair samples stuck to the grill proved to be black bear.

Now, the state is saying it must have been an escaped pet.

Painters, Mountain Lions, Cougars, whatever you want to call them are very secretive animals, from what I've read about them, they are largely nocturnal and they try to avoid people. As many people who visit the park one would think sightings would be common, but one has to consider humans frequent a very small percentage of the land mass and cougars, by nature, are not as densely populated as would be a bear.

So, I would think that if you think you saw a cougar, you very well may have seen one. You know better than any of us, and you would have no reason to make up such a story.

Cool sighting whatever it was.


sammcdonald 01-26-2010 01:26 PM

i have seen one in the vicinity of cades cove.....reported sightings have been in greenbriar and roaring fork areas as well as up the '70's 4 rangers reported a sighting in catalooch
so, while they are not here, they are here

Tiger fly 01-26-2010 01:35 PM

my grandfather was raised near Black mountain Kentucky. I remember him telling me that two mountain lions were killed by hunters there back in the 30's and pictures were actually printed in the local newspapers. He recalls hearing them at night and he described the noise as a woman screaming. He was not the kind of man to make up a story like that.
I also recall another story, in the National Geographic I think, about the tremendous hunting ranges that mountain lions out west are said to had. Tagging on in one state and having the animal turn up captured or dead one or two states over is not uncommon. Anyways, they had a map of known ranges, approximate historical ranges, and areas where mountain lion bones, carcasses, or stool had been found and documented. That area my grandfather was raised in in Kentucky fell under that last range where documented evidence had been found.
My opinion is that they are out there.

Jim Casada 01-26-2010 02:08 PM

Carolina Boy--You quite possibly saw a cougar (or mountain lion, or panther, or painter--whatever name you choose). Your size description fits, but another key question is: Did it have a long tail?
Wildlfie biologists consistently deny the presence of panthers anywhere in the Southeast except Florida, yet there have been credible sightings by Park employees, a cousin of mine who is a national wildlife refuge manager in Florida (but grew up in the Smokies and saw the cat there), and plenty of folks from the general populace.
Yet the consistent explanation (or denial) from wildlife authorities is that they didn't really see what they saw or that the animal is a pet which has been released to the wild.
In my personal opinion, and it comes from someone who is not a wildlife biologist but who has read a good deal on the subject of the big cats and even eaten panther backstrap (now there's a novel foodstuff--it was a favorite of the mountain men and is a delicious white meat), I think it quite likely a few of the cats exist in the Smokies. Years ago I heard a sound on the headwaters of Deep Creek which, if it wasn't a panther screaming was either a woman in her death throes or I'm delusional.
Have you notified Park authorities? It would be interesting to see what they have to say.
Jim Casada

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