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Jeanne3's picture
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Joined: 05/27/2014
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Big cats in TN

There is most definitely large cats in Tn. Spotted one last year sleeping in a friends barn loft.

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Joined: 10/08/2014
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Mountain Lions in Tennessee

Perhaps I may be considered "fortunate/unfortunate", but in the 50-odd years in North America  since emigrating from my native England, I have had several encounters with Mountain Lions/Cougars.

The first was in Ontario, Canada back in 1956.  I was working part-time, with a Canadian partner, at weekends for the Ontario Wildlife agency, helping in finding and controlling the large fox population that was being ravaged by a rabies epidemic.  Assigned to a "hot-spot" in an abandoned quarry in the Credit Forks area, my partner and I were working our way along an excavation cutline when I felt a rush of air over my head and a snarling/hissing Lion leapt across the back of my partner ahead of me knocking him over ... and then disappearing among the rock piles below.

The second and subsequent sightings have all been in Tennessee.   The first of these was at the Watts Bar Resort boat dock.  Returning late at night from a sailboat vacation downstream in  1990(?), I had tied up at the fishing dock instead of going out to my permanent moorings.  Around 3AM the following morning I was awakened by a well-remembered hissing snarl ... very close !   Lifting my head to the open hatch above on the foredeck, I found myself staring right into the face of a sizeable Cougar, with forefeet on the deck and head through the lifelines.   A quick closing -and locking - of the hatch, and quieting of our Doberman sleeping alongside me.   The Cougar prowled the dock for several minutes and then slunk off into the woods above the dock.   Later that morning I reported the sighting to a visiting TWRA warden who denied there were any Cougars in TN, but indicated he knew of a pair over in NC.   Several days later he phoned me at home to confide that ... Yes ! ... there were several Cougars resident locally, but that the majority were of the Western variety, that had been obtained by locals as pets and then released locally when they got too big  to handle.

Almost one year to the day after that sighting, while anchored and having our evening meal, in a cove at an island opposite Spring City, a large Cougar strolled out of the woods ... explored the State picnic area garbage cans ... leapt several feet up a tree to reconnoitre the flock of geese on the island.   We watched it for over half an hour as it stalked the geese across the causeway till it grew too dark to see.   A lot of honking and snarling then ensued as - we presume - one or more geese fell prey.   As this sighting was within a couple of miles of that at the Resort, I'd suspect that it was the same Cougar.

In 1992 I bought some land and started to build my retirement cabin in the Luminary area of Waldens Ridge.   One morning, I had gone to pick up a local resident who was helping me with the construction.   On the way back to the cabin, a female Cougar with two cubs, still with traces of black along their backs, strolled across the dirt road ahead of us.   A few weeks later, a rather frightened "meter-reader" from VEC, reported almost walking into a large Cougar at a site less than a mile from our property.

Since those early days up here there have been several more "sightings" by myself and wife.   A set of very pronounced footprints in the snow along one of our terraced walkways behind the back door.   A large Cougar crossed Summer City Road in front of me from a draw at the bottom of the big hill to the north of Swaffords' horse barns.   Another was spotted crossing Liberty Hill Road in the fog as the wife and I were driving down to Rhea Co. High School late one afternoon.    I have not seen any over the past 3-4 years, although quite a few Bobcats, Coyotes and Red Foxes.

Mick

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