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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Friend in Alabama (Talladega National Park) swears he saw two Cougars after his neighbor also reported seeing one. I'm willing to believe my friend - although I've had good laughs about Lion sightings near me. City folk around here cant tell a house cat from an African Lion. Morons!

Presently he has a number of game cameras set up on deer feeders - without much luck.

Thinking of how to produce some evidence - see 100% Cougar pee sold as a pest deterent. Thinking of getting a 12 oz. bottle for him to set up a game camera to watch. Soak a piece of cloth in it, and hang it from a branch. Camera setup to watch it.

What do you think????

Hopeing some of you that live in states with them have some ideas???
 

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I've seen a couple (Mountain Lions) while riding my bicycle here in California. This is near a freeway in Silicon Valley.

Sent From The Telegraph Office
 

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Hello Tom,

Like leopards, mountain lion are very capable of living on the edge of suburbs surrounding major cities. They are careful, quiet, solitary animals other than when they breed. Aside from hunting leopard over bait, in 28 years in Africa, working three to four months a year in the bush during 16 of those years, I've seen a total of five leopard in broad daylight. I've seen thousands of tracks, but it's unbelievably rare to see them even though you know they are there all the time.

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that there are Cougar in Alabama as thick as the woods are and with a huge population of whitetail. I did a lot of deer hunting while I was at Bama playing for the "Bear." Cougar would thrive in that environment. Your friend might try catnip from a pet store. I knew of two PH's in Zim that swore by it in the old days long before trail cams.

Good luck!

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello Tom,

Like leopards, mountain lion are very capable of living on the edge of suburbs surrounding major cities. They are careful, quiet, solitary animals other than when they breed. Aside from hunting leopard over bait, in 28 years in Africa, working three to four months a year in the bush during 16 of those years, I've seen a total of five leopard in broad daylight. I've seen thousands of tracks, but it's unbelievably rare to see them even though you know they are there all the time.

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that there are Cougar in Alabama as thick as the woods are and with a huge population of whitetail. I did a lot of deer hunting while I was at Bama playing for the "Bear." Cougar would thrive in that environment. Your friend might try catnip from a pet store. I knew of two PH's in Zim that swore by it in the old days long before trail cams.

Good luck!

Warmest regards,

JPS
How did they use the cat nip????

His property is relatively old growth pine, Not thick woods with well defined game trails.

Have you ever heard of big cats lured to game cameras with urine???

From what I remember - Cougars have a very large territory. Dont expect them to be on is property very often, and would need to bring them in to the camera.

Kinda thinking a Cougar might want to defend its territory. Hopeing they will come in running to put their mark on top of the "intruder's mark".
 

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I would set up cams around water sources and along the top of ridges. Lions, least in my neck of the woods like to travel up high along ridges and come down for food and water. Best of luck
 
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I've been retired from the forest/wildlife management profession for 7+ years now, so I'm no longer up to speed on cougar-mountain lion- panther, what ever you want to refer to the big cats as, but here are a few basic comments that you will find accurate, I think.

The best panther habitat in the Deep South is probably the eastern 1/3rd of Alabama, the western 1/3rd of Georgia, and the western Florida Panhandle....my home territory. The panther experts project that, anyhow. This would include the Talladega National Forest where I have spent years in contract work re-establishing our devastated Native Longleaf Pine Forests.

The big cats are moving east and South from two basic sources or populations. Surprisingly to many, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Badlands of North Dakota and a smaller pocket along the Nebraska/South Dakota border are supplying most of the individual cats moving into Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, and possibly eastward from there. (To the best of my knowledge no big cats have yet to be positively ID'd in Mississippi or Alabama. Not saying the cats aren't there, just that none have yet been positively ID'd yet. Remember, though, I'm no longer involved in this issue as I was 10 years ago.)

The other basic source of the cats is from the Texas Big Bend Area. As these cats from these two populations move in and start cross breeding in the Southern States, genetically we'll have an expression of hybrid vigor which will improve the big cats in every respect. Make 'em healthier and more prone to survival and increase breeding potential. It's thought by an increasing number of wildlife biologists that Missouri, especially the southeast quadrant of the State, may already have a small breeding population. To date most of the confirmed cougar sightings/documentations of the cats show them to be young males looking to expand the range searching for females to breed with. Western Kansas is usually considered to be the poorest panther habitat, and it's generally thought that the few confirmed sightings in this region are big cats in transit to the east. (From West to East, and East to West and back again, if anyone gets my drift!)

Florida also has a very small native population of panthers. (These big cats have a very distinct ridge of almost reversed hair along the top of the back that the western cats don't have.) Until recent years the Florida population was in a nose-dive to extinction, but introduction of good genes from the release of a number of male cats from the Texas Big Bend has apparently stayed this extinction at present. The population is slowly expanding pushing young males northward out of the South Florida range, but the big cats have an almost impossible task of crossing the I-4 corridor from Tampa to Daytona Beach. Look at night time photos from the space shuttles and you'll see why.....total wall-to-wall lights indicating the extremely dense population and almost solid city environment along this corridor. Only a very narrow path along the St. Johns River system next to the Atlantic Coast provides an unobstructed pathway for the big cats to traverse. A few have, and have been reported, usually as road kills, unfortunately, north of Daytona Beach. One big cat did make it up through this pathway almost to Atlanta, Georgia 4-5 years ago only to be killed by a deer hunter.

Many report seeing big cats all over the eastern states, and this is nothing new. It's been going on for 50+ years that I know of. To be confirmed, there must be photos such as game cameras set up to record deer, a dead cat or DNA evidence from hair, scat, etc. In all of my years in the woods of the Southeast I've found two deer that were killed by bites and claws and buried under piles of leaves and small limbs. Panthers will do this, but so will big bobcats, I think. I never say that I've "seen the evidence"! We do have exotic Jaguarundi in Florida slopping over into South Georgia and South Alabama along the borders, and people will occasionally see these and swear they've seen a PANTHER! This exotic cat is about 1/3rd the size of a panther, but it does have a long tail. It's dark pencil grey in color, and gives rise to the "I Saw A BLACK Panther reports"!

The home range of a male panther can be 75+ square miles, and the cat will be all over this in 3-4 days. The female's home range is about half of this.
The re-established and very prosperous Whitetail Deer population does and will provide plenty of food material. Add to this the greatly expanding feral hog population.

It's interesting to watch this expansion of the big cats back into their former home territory. We're seeing one of the very basic Laws of Wildlife Biology in play....."Nature Abhors A Vacuum"! Create a favorable habitat, as we've done, and native species will expand to fill it to the capability of the habitat to support the population!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No advice on how to get one on camera???

My friend has been burning dead trees from those beetles for some time.

He has caught plenty of Bobcats, deer, fox, coyotes (?), and turkeys on his camera. No Black Bear or feral pigs (hear they are on the way, and are a real pest 100 miles away in Atlanta).
 

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The idea of attractant with the camera covering it is likely as good as you are going to come up with. beyond that - all you can do is set the cameras and see what turns up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well ordered the urine. What the heck - $25. Plus I can guarantee no else ever bought it for him!

Got the idea from hunting deer and feral pigs at Back Bay. One year I was using some fox urine cover up. Must have been from a female, because I nearly had to kill an apparently very horny Gray Fox that kept circling me.
 

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Woodsrunner, that was well written, I enjoyed reading it thanks.
 

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Woodsrunner, that was well written, I enjoyed reading it thanks.
+1, very informative and great to get solid info from an informed, experienced source.

This is funny seeing this thread now! I just saw a juvenile cougar yesterday morning on my property. It was upslope from my barn, and running off into the woods (oak, 'Digger' pine and some incense cedar) just to the side of one of my pomegranate orchards. It looked darker than some, but there was no mistaking the long, sweeping tail. It was in the tree-line in no time. I went outside to see if I could see it again and figure out why it was running, and saw why. My two Rhodesian Ridgeback pups were tussling in the dirt and weeds about 20 yards below it! Must have been a little too close for comfort. The dogs didn't even alert to it.

We're in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, and I've found lion scat just 15 yards away from my back bedroom window. We had one cat dump a deer on our gravel driveway about four years ago when my wife started driving down it on her way to work. Textbook kill, too: bite marks at the back of the neck and the stomach cavity had already been opened up to access the organs. As an avid trail runner, I'm always checking my 6 on trail, especially in favorable ambush spots. Other property owners in the area have taken some lions for depredation, especially sheep owners. The deer population here is healthy, and most of the does around here are probably year-round residents.

I expect to see more sign of lions this summer, as we're looking at a drought year, which will bring the deer in closer to houses and gardens. I've already seen more coyotes in broad daylight in the last two months than I've seen in the year before that.

Pat
 

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Friend in Alabama (Talladega National Park) City folk around here cant tell a house cat from an African Lion. Morons!
Ha. Funny. One time we had a couple people call in reports of seeing cougars. These were city slicker transplants who had moved into town chasing jobs. Two of the three reports of "cougars" turned out to be a neighbors of mine's yellow Labrador retriever, the other a deer......
 

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I live in Kissimmee FL and I have seen the same black panther in my backyard for several months always just before dark, I would have called it a dog except the tail is almost as long as the animal is. I am determined to get a picture so as soon as I can get a trail cam set up in the trees I will post the results.
 
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Good ending with the big cat in the park! It's a young male and it will move around in search of female company, so it may not stay anywhere around its release point unless there is female company in the area. All males are like that for some reason :)!

The tranquilizer dart gun that was mentioned in the article is a very valuable tool in wildlife management work. It was developed as a joint venture between the University of Georgia's Forestry School and the Vet School, and that was w-a-y back in my undergrad years in the Forestry School in the early 1960's! I was a student employee and did a little work on this project. In the early stages of development the tranquilizing agent used would kill an animal within a few minutes unless an antidote was immediately administered. My job was to quickly catch the "experimental goats" after being darted and giving the antidote injection before it died! Try doing that with a big cat or a black bear!

ironhead.... you are most probably seeing a Jaguarundi if it is a large black cat (actually a dark pencil grey) with a long tail. Get that trail camera set up and we'll see! Panthers are very difficult to see in the wild. I have honestly walked within 20-30 feet of them up in a Live Oak Tree and never seen them 'till pointed out to me. The Jaguarundi is an exotic cat about, 1/3rd the size of a mature panther, released in "Fladah" in 1949 and again in 1951 or 52 by the famous "Snake Man", Ross Allen, around Silver Springs near Ocala. We have a very favorable swampy habitat for the Jags, and it has spread over much of Florida and into South Georgia and Alabama.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well - paid my friend a visit.

Set trail cam along the highest ridge on his property along what was clearly a game trail. Let it stand for two days.

Checked it before I left. Eighteen pictures. Sixteen were of us moving it, setting it up, and then retrieving the memory card.

Two pics however showed a White Tail doe - one of which had the deer clearly sniffing a scent wick.

About all I can conclude is Cougar Urine is probably a waste of your money if your trying to protect your garden!
 

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Best lure for a cat is a bird wing on a string off the ground a few feet fluttering in the breeze. Curiosity.
 

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Did anyone see Letterman last night? No it wasn't a cougar but they had a Siberian Lynx that looked just like cougar, until you looked at it's face. The Lynx weighed in at 100 lbs. and was not full grown yet. It seems that Lynxes in Siberia are the largest lynxes in the world.
 
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