Yes Arizona There is a Jaguar

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Donnie Fenn runs a guide business called Chasin' Tail Guide Service that offers tours for lion hunting in Arizona. His 10 year old daughter wants to follow in his footsteps someday, and was along with him on a recent trip that turned up something unexpected in the Arizona dry-lands.

Fenn, his daughter and his friend Tyler Burkett were out looking for lion tracks. The hound dogs that had come along picked up the scent of something and took off towards the canyon. Fenn got on a mule to follow the dogs. When he caught up them, they had circled around a tree. Fenn got his camera out and used the zoom power of the lens so he could see what was in the tree, since he was 200 yards away.

What had attracted the dogs was a male jaguar, that was about 15 feet up in the tree. The jaguar climbed down from the tree and took off running with the hound dogs in pursuit. Fenn followed on foot as well. After a couple of miles the dogs circled the jaguar.

"Just the sheer aggressiveness. The power it had. It wasn't snarling at us like a mountain lion does, it was roaring. Roaring and growling like I've never heard before. It was unreal," said Fenn.

The jaguar was swatting at some of the dogs to get them to back off. If the jaguar had wanted to, it could've killed the dog pack. Some dogs suffered puncture wounds from swats. Fenn said at one point he was only 15 feet away from that jaguar and saw how powerful the cat was.

Arizona thought that their last jaguar had been killed in 2009. There have been reports of sightings, but this is the first confirmed sighting. Fenn was able to get 80 photos while the jaguar was in the mesquite tree and some video. From


BikerRN's picture


As I already noted my feeling about this animal I just wanted to bring to light one little belief I have.

I believe, like the Sonoran Grey Wolf, that southern AZ is the extreme northern range of it's traditional territory. That means that they most likely won't be seen often but it's not impossible. That also means that they should be supported and their reproduction and population increase should be focused in their home territory, Mexico and points south.

I highly doubt that we will see a hunting season on these animals in the United States in my lifetime. That's OK as not all animals need to be hunted in the United States and if I was dead set on taking one I'd opt to go to a location where they are more abundant. 

As to what would happen if someone shot one, I fear that criminal investigations would be the likely result with charges being levied, if hunting or taking such an animal with no known season and the endangered/protected species act with one needing to defend their actions in court. It is afterall a hunter's responsibility to know their target and if there is any doubt to hold their fire. Defending oneself from an attacking animal is a different game altogether although criminal investigations are part of that process, in my expirience.

Hunters get charged for taking the wrong deer species every year, Mule Deer vs Whitetail Deer, and if one shot this animal thinking it was a legal mountain lion I can't help but think the same rules would apply with some added pressure due to the endangered/protected species factor.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Very cool to see.  I bet that

Very cool to see.  I bet that guy was pretty surprised to see that when looking through the binoculars. He's very fortunate that he did not lose any dogs to the big cat. Jaguars are absolutely beautiful creatures, and I am very happy to hear that there is at least still one out there alive in Arizona.  I remember hearing about the supposed last one being killed a couple of years ago, and felt bummed about it. But, like often happens out there in these vast areas, some things go unseen. Fortunately in this case, it was another jaguar. 

The sad thing though is that if they are this rare, and this spread apart, they are less than likely to find a mate, if there even is one out there.  Therefore, this probably will be the last, if not one or two other stragglers.

It would be nice to see them bounce back, but I would not hold my breath.

Retired2hunt's picture

  Now that is one neat


Now that is one neat story!  To have seen a Jaguar in a state or area that they are not normally found within would be very neat.  To get 80 some photos of it plus a video would fantastic. The excitement and adrenaline must have been outrageous while chasing this great cat.  To not acknowledge the whereabouts of this cat is the right thing to do to ensure it is protected as there are too many poachers who would take advantage of the information for their selfless means.  I would think that managing this wildlife would be very difficult to accomplish in order to generate a hunting season on Jaguar.  What also makes this a neat story is the fact that Mr. Fenn was lion hunting with his 10 year old daughter.  To have a young daughter to want to follow in their father's foot steps as a hunting guide and hunter is a great thing.


BikerRN's picture

Really Cool

This is really cool and unlike wolves hasn't been "reintroduced" by man.

I'm all for not allowing the hunting of these cats until thier numbers get to the point that they are self sustainable without our assistance. Part of the reason, I think, is that they aren't as an aggressive breeder as the wolf. It doesn't take long for the population of wolves to get out of control.

This is a predator that I'd love to see increase in numbers through natural selection with minimal human interference.


hunter25's picture

This report is really cool. I

This report is really cool. I have seen the warning about jaguars possibly being in the areas down there but this is the first actual report I have seen of one being sighted. I have seen a treed lion and how impressive they are and I can only imagine how this experience felt. It's great to see they now have very accurate proof and information on at least one of them left there and I bet there's more somewhere close.

If they are that much more agressive than a mountain lion the dogs a probably pretty lucky they came away still alive.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Definetly sounds like the

Definetly sounds like the kind of encounter you do not want to have alone or unarmed.  very coo, to see the pictures of the jaguar.  I am glad he did get alot of picture of it as we all know the states always wanna say that certain animals just do not exsist in that state(i.e....colorado...wolves??).  I am curious as to what the Game and Fish will do about and do they have a jaguar season.  One cat does not mean a season, but curious what would have happened if the hunter would have shot it.  None the less a pretty cool thing to see in the wild.