Big Cat Sighting in East Texas Dec 11, 2014 0:16:43 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Dec 11, 2014 0:16:43 GMT -5
Big Cat Sighted in East Texas
CHEROKEE COUNTY, Tex. – A big-cat sighting in East Texas may be uncommon, but not unlikely, said Billy Higginbotham, wildlife extension specialist for wildlife and fisheries at the Texas A&M research center in Overton.
“It is uncommon, but we have had confirmed sightings of mountain lions in East Texas before,” he said in response to an email claim about a cougar/mountain lion sighted along FM 2138 by a traveler headed toward Maydelle in late November. We've seen them confirmed in states much further east than we are here, and in the past 35 years that I have worked in Overton, several (East Texas) counties have confirmed mountain lions being seen. Several years ago, there was one (sighted) in Wood County, and not long after that, there was one in Jasper County,” Higginbotham recalled. “Is it possible to have them in Cherokee County? It is.”
Reagan Pope, who contacted the Jacksonville Progress by email, said he was traveling about dusk Saturday, November 22 when “I saw what I thought was a deer just beside the road.”
Because it was growing dark and the weather was rainy, Pope said he was traveling about 45 miles-per-hour when he spotted the creature. “I slowed down to around 25 mph to cautiously pass the 'deer,' (but) as I drew near, I noticed it had a tail that was about two foot long and that it was quite bulky,” he said.
Driving past the animal, “I realized it was a huge cougar/mountain lion, approximately three foot tall and roughly 8-9 feet long, counting its tail,” he said, describing a coat with dark speckles in its fur.
The animal was completely unfazed by traffic, and Pope admitted while several years ago he had spotted a mountain lion drinking at a pond while visiting Colorado, he had never seen one so close.
“This one was just walking down the road, passing a few feet away from my car and it didn't even look at me,” he recalled.
Source: Jo Anne Embleton, The Jacksonville Progress, December 2, 2014.