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  #11  
Old 01-26-2010, 03:06 PM
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I read that a panther scream is called a caterwaul. I have also heard
panthers referred to as catamounts.
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  #12  
Old 01-26-2010, 03:38 PM
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Did it sound like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk1mAd77Hr4

If you want a good adrenaline rush, be walking in the woods before daylight with nothing but a longbow and hear that from just up the hill. Thought I was going to need a change of britches!
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:04 PM
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Well I haven't contacted the park. It had a long tail that seemed to go downward, it didn't drag the ground but certainly went downward. He took about 2-3 strides forward before he saw me or my headlights and he sprung upward to the right. As he moved forward he moved like a tiger almost where his upper shoulders or whatever were clearly deffined and could be significantly seen, when he sprung up from the road shoulder to the higher ground next to the road my eyes were drawn to his paws, which were really large. With that said he was a bit crouched as he moved keeping sort of lowered to the ground. I have had all sorts of animals wander up on me, or me on them, in the wild as I am sure all of you have, flyfishing seems to increase this likelyhood. I have seen bobcats and fox, this thing wasn't a little kitty or a lost pet, this thing was big like what you see in a zoo. I have read today online where other sitings have occured in the New Found Gap 441 area in the past which is where I was, whatever it was it was a pretty cool encounter!
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:09 PM
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I don't believe in big foot or sea monsters, but to think that a small population of cougars living in what was once their historical range is quite possible. The natural environment supported them once and there's no reason they would not live there now.

It may be natural migration, a remnant population or an act of man (releasing of pets to the wild or intentional stocking) but to dismiss the possibility is just kind of thinking inside of a very small box.

50 years ago, it would have been unheard of to see a coyote in the park, but they are there. 50 years ago, it would have been rare or unheard of to see a turkey in the park but one can't walk through Cades Cove without stepping on one now.

As little as 25 years ago, deer were present in my area of Kentucky but they were fairly uncommon and one had to "go somewhere" to hunt them. Now they are a pest and destroying flower gardens in the suburbs.

Given time, nature tends to heal the scars of man. Look at photos of the devastation that logging left behind up Tremont and other areas in the park. The hills were stripped clean. Now, unless one really knows what to look for, the evidence is nearly invisible and over time, the hills will reclaim most evidence of what man did to them as long as the hills are protected from the ravages of man.

I believe you saw what you think you saw and it's really cool to think these beautiful wild creatures exist in the area.

You got to see something that most of us will never see and that is a rare treat indeed.

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Old 01-26-2010, 05:12 PM
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Thanks Jeffnles1 I am pretty stoked about it, kinda feel lucky!
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  #16  
Old 01-26-2010, 05:21 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Jeffnles1--A couple of additional thoughts. One indication of just how prevalent cougars (pantehrs) once were is given by place names. There are panther names all over the area--Panther Creek (feeder of Abrams Creek), another Panther Creek in Graham County, NC, Panthertown Valley and Panthertown Creek (headwaters of the Tuckasegee River in Jackson Count, NC), etc. Wm. Powell's North Carolina Gazetteer lists no less than 29 locations with the word panther, and there are painter uses as well.
On a personal note, some of my favorite tales from my grandfather involved pnathers--hearing them scream and he killed one.
While they were admittedly far less plentiful than is today the case, there were turkeys to be found in the mountains prior to the pre-restoration era. You'll find a number of mentions of them in Sam Hunnicutt's Twenty Years Hunting and Fishing in the Great Smokies (mostly accounts of famed angler Mark Cathey hunting them) and in Wiley Oakley's books. Still, they were rare. My 100-year-old father only encountered them once in pre-Park years and despite being afield constantly in my youth I never saw a single one.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:34 PM
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Jim,
I agree. So many of the animals we see as being common were quite rare to spot just a few short years ago. Some, like coyotes were not even here but have expanded their range as other competing predators have been eradicated and they have just continued their natural range expansion.

Like you said, and after reading your book, I have come to know about you, you spent your entire life in the woods in this area and you didn't see turkeys while you were a boy. They were there, but rare. Now they seem to be as common as starlings (OK, not really, but darn close).

A wild and beautiful place like the smokeys deserves wild and beautiful animals like panthers. I believe CarolinaBoy saw one as he would have no reason to make such a thing up. His description sure sounds like panther's I've seen in the zoos.

I always get kind of sad when I see an animal like a panther in a zoo. They are so wild and beautiful, they need to be in a wild place like the Smokeys.

However that cat managed to be on that road at that time, I'm sure glad he is there and I hope he stays away from the roads. It would be incredibly sad to read of on getting killed by a car.

Just reading this thread makes me remember how sad I was the last time I saw a cougar pacing back and forth in a cage at the zoo. The hope that some of these are roaming the woods in SE Tennessee somehow offsets the "please get me out of here" look I saw in that other cat's eyes.

Jeff
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:41 PM
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I live in lower middle Tennessee and It seems like every year, around where I live someone or several someones see a cougar/panther etc. And while I find tracks sometimes that look too big to be a bobcat I find it hard to accept that with the literally hundreds of trail cameras that are out all over the place in the richest game areas that no one has gotten a picture of one.

I fully accept that they could be where I live but why aren't we hitting them with cars, finding them dead or getting pictures of them.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:06 PM
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To follow what Jeff said I only posted this on LRO message board as a result of being on here for years and knowing the quality of the people who post here. I would imagine the news of this would send some idiots to newfound gap with either cameras, nets or worse weapons. I figured I would get an intelligent response regarding the matter here. I hope that what ever I saw lives a long free life uniterupted by man, just happy I got a glipse of it!
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  #20  
Old 01-26-2010, 06:15 PM
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there is a guy who takes panther sightings very seriously....i cannot remember his name but he has two books...one on mammals of the smokies and the other a naturalist view of the smokies...don something....i'll get it and post after i go back to work thursday
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