COUGAR QUEST - VIRGINIA

(NORTHERN SHENANDOAH VALLEY, VIRGINIA / WEST VIRGINIA)

PO BOX 2142, WINCHESTER, VA 22604
(540) 888-3100; [Click--> CQ-VA_Mail <--to send email]; www.btcent.com/CougarQuest.htm 
Contact: Barbara J. Chaplin, Executive Director, Cougar Quest - Virginia

 

BTC Enterprises, Inc. Stories (& Map) Brochures & Bulletins Cougar Observation Form (web) Cougar Observation Form (doc)

 

  In early February 2005, we were challenged to prove the existence of the Cougar (also called panther, painter, mountain lion, puma, catamount, and snarlygoster) in this part of Virginia / West Virginia as an adjunct to the work of various other wildlife / environmental organizations that are researching the "re-existence" of Cougars in the East.  As many know, the U.S. Department of the Interior has declared that the Eastern Cougar was extirpated from the Eastern United States by 1900 - that means, it no longer exists here - ever again, no matter where you or we might see one or its tracks.  In all fairness, there has simply not been enough "hard evidence" to unequivocally prove that Cougars do roam and are permanent residents in the Northern Shenandoah Valley  and elsewhere in the East.  Virginia and West Virginia laws list this species as endangered, but do not believe it exists in the wild in these states.  The Federal "Threatened and Endangered Species Act" lists Puma (=Felis) concolor couguar as 'endangered, presumed extinct in the wild throughout the East'. However, in March 2011, the US Fish & Wildlife Service decided that there actually never was an "Eastern Cougar" sub-species, and indeed (as has been proven by extensive scientific DNA analysis since 2000) all North American species (including the Florida Panther, the western Mountain Lion, and Canadian Cougars) are "North American Cougars" as opposed to species/sub-species of Central and South American mountain lions. The Federal Endangered Species clauses [50 CFR 17.21(c)(2) & 50 CFR 17.31] still apply ... but not to unlisted, not endangered North American Cougars: ' where listed as endangered or threatened, wildlife may be taken by a person "in defense of his own life or the lives of others" '; Eastern states are now supposed to determine their own laws in regard to cougar hunts/kills, which they have not yet (10/2011) done. Thus, a "non-existent" aggressively threatening Cougar may be killed in "self defense" to protect family and livestock, with which we agree.  However, we do not believe in indiscriminate killing, just because Cougars show up in their travels through 15 - 200 square mile territories in a non-threatening manner, once in awhile.  We do not believe they should be reintroduced into areas into which they have not already migrated.  But, we do believe that those remaining few wild Cougars (wherever they came from and however they got here) should be acknowledged and protected, by citizens like you and us if not by government agencies.  We believe people in areas known to have a resident or migrant Cougar population should be educated about Cougars, their habits and habitats, their normal elusive, retiring relationship with humans, their most normal prey - the white-tailed deer, and their most hated prey - the coyote (and any other semi-related canine animal, including dogs).  We definitely believe that multiple sightings of one of these animals should be taken seriously by any authority to which it is reported and that those citizens reporting such rare instances where lives and property are endangered should be treated respectfully and with prompt investigation.


(c) 2005: Cougar Quest - Virginia

We have agreed to act as the "sounding board" and collector of observation stories, proofs (including photos, video, tape recordings, track castings, specimen samples, and carcasses anonymously donated for DNA & other scientific testing - the only way to "undeniably prove" the "cat" is a "Cougar") for the Northern Shenandoah Valley sightings.  We know they're here - we have our own stories!  And so do our observers in Shockeyville, Gainesboro, Siler, Clearbrook / Brucetown, Hunting Ridge, Gore, Shawneeland, North Mountain, Mountain Falls, Shenandoah Nation Park (SNP), and other nearby VA, WV, MD, & PA county locations! [Notes: Some of our older SNP area stories are courtesy of Prof. Rob Simpson, LFCC, who graciously shared his files with us. The Observation Report Map is courtesy of Jeremy Vermillion, a CQ-VA volunteer.]  

  If you have stories of sightings or close up encounters; photos of cougars or cougar tracks; cougar video or audio tape; track casting or hair samples & other specimen; or anything related to cougars sighted in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia / West Virginia / Maryland / Pennsylvania (or other eastern locations), please consider sharing them.  By sharing your information, unless otherwise noted by you, you authorize publication on this web page, in articles, and a future book to raise funds for this project.  CAUTION: Cougars are powerful, wild, carnivorous predators - while they normally avoid humans, please do not pursue or corner these animals in the hope of obtaining a photograph, video, or other evidence!  AND, please do not shoot at or kill a Cougar unless your life and property are truly endangered by an aggressive life-threatening animal that remains near your home/pastures and you have no other option!!!  NOTE 1: Please understand the limitations of VDGIF and other State DNR agencies. They do not have personnel or funding available to respond to unsubstantiated reports from individuals; it is extremely difficult to track cougars in forest leaf litter and swamplands, especially since a cougar covers such wide territory; if a cougar were actually captured, they would probably be unable to relocate it to a zoo or big cat preserve, all of which are currently overcrowded.  NOTE 2: Cougar Quest - Virginia does not provide cougar trackers. Our volunteers have, on three occasions, visited the site of multiple reports by extremely credible eye-witnesses; we were unable to come up with a single track or other piece of evidence; there were no further reports from the area after the first flurry so we assume the cat moved on. 

  To help you remember the details of your observations, Click here [Cougar Observation Form (web)] for the web version - Click here [Cougar Observation Form (doc)] for the version created for MS Word 8.0 or higher (please be patient as this file transfers to and opens on your computer) - SAVE either form to your computer, then complete it, and attach & send it via e-mail, or send a printed copy via postal mail.  Or contact us for an electronic or printed copy.  Or just send us your stories via either mail or e-mail.  We need your name, contact address / phone / e-mail (but will only publish your first name and last initial on this page), area of sighting (i.e., city, county, & as specific a property location as possible), and as much detail as you can provide.  Send your information to CQ-VA_Mail (or by mail to Cougar Quest - Virginia, PO Box 2142, Winchester, VA 22604).  We may contact you for further clarification, if needed.

  For additional free information see Brochures & Bulletins below.

  Join us in this exciting, citizen-science project.  Please pass this request along and ask your friends and neighbors to participate.  Thank you.  Barbara Chaplin, Executive Director

 

* * * Brochures & Bulletins * * *

The following brochures, bulletins, and forms are available free of charge.  However, a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your consideration.

1. Cougar Observation Form, available on the web page in two formats and in printed copy. Please Note: You do not need to complete this form to share your observations with us.

2. Introducing . . . Cougar Quest - Virginia: an introductory letter and part of our Mission Statement.

3. Cougar Quest - Virginia’s Cougar Facts: detail table and silhouettes of Cougar tracks and of a Cougar vs. other wild animals thanks to Michigan Wildlife Conservancy (www.miwildlife.org).

4. John James Audubon’s Cougar Research: detail table and copies of two of his Cougar paintings.

5. Wanted Poster: for window or bulletin board display showing what we want and the purpose of our quest.

6. Bulletin: Cougar Vs. The Law: Virginia and Federal law with CQ-VA Comments.

7. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Handout: reprinted with permission from VDGIF (www.dgif.state.va.us).

8. DOs and DON'Ts - reprinted with web permission.

9. Other flyers & brochures & observation / tracking workshop materials are constantly being created - please join us when we set up a public display or contact us for additional information.  All CQ-VA material may be copied and used for educational purposes as long as Cougar Quest - Virginia is recognized as the copyright provider of the material and any other permission-granted copyright holders are likewise acknowledged.

* * * Stories (& Map) * * *

Disclaimer: All posted observation reports are considered "credible" unless otherwise noted, 
however, no claim is made by CQ-VA that any report is "confirmed" unless details of such confirmation are also posted.

DATE

PLACE

OBSERVATION

MAP This map shows some of the many reported, credible but not scientifically confirmed, sightings of cougars in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, VA - Jeremy Vermillion, CQ-VA volunteer

 
More Maps . . .
(plus Cast & Skull Photos)

Official Statements:

  "VDGIF has never released cougars into the wild in Virginia, and is not releasing cougars into the wild now. Furthermore, to our knowledge, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has never released cougars in Virginia, and is not doing so now." [Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Richmond Office via Rick Reynolds, Wildlife Biologist, Verona Office - response to CQ-VA query received via e-mail 11/10/2005]
  "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurs with VDGIF. We have never released cougars into Virginia and are not doing so now."
[Eric Davis, USFWS, Virginia Field Office - response to CQ-VA query received via e-mail 11/10/2005]

  Note from Cougar Quest - Virginia ... 
Frederick County, VA
It has come to our attention that some misinformation has been disseminated about CQ-VA and our affiliation with other groups. Cougar Quest - Virginia is not directly affiliated with any entity; we have always been and always will be a 100% volunteer citizen science organization with our own mission; we are not a subsidiary or off-shoot of any other group. We do, however, share information of "possible" or "probable" cougars and request species identification assistance from professionals in government agencies, universities, other cougar research organizations, wild animal trackers, photo analysts, and other wildlife experts. Other groups have shared their information with us and have given permission for us to use some of their educational information, some of which is found at this web site (click More Maps above) or is reproduced in various forms for a couple of our handouts. We are proud of our association with these groups, individuals, and authors.  We are very grateful for all of the expert professionals and CQ-VA volunteers who have provided assistance with our quest and for all of those private individuals who have shared their observations and stories. We are especially thankful for an excellent working relationship with our contacts at VDGIF and USFWS and their interest in our quest. Barbara Chaplin, Executive Director, Cougar Quest - Virginia

2014
Mar. 3
(plus)

North Stafford, VA

Tracks & Observations: Valrie N, property owner.

03/13/2014 email: "Could these be cougar tracks?" Photos of large animal tracks following deer hoof prints in snow/ice on 03/03/2014 ... no measurement, but estimated at 4"-4 1/2" print ... no obvious toenail marks, large rounded toes, more rounded foot configuration than canine on the most clear print, more elongated print behind that ... however, pad seemed too small for cougar and it appeared that a canine toe/pad X could be made on both prints.

03/14/2014 follow up email:

   On 03/04/2014, two different neighbors reported seeing a cougar; 1 lives less than 3 miles from me and the creek that runs through our property also runs near his house. I'm convinced a cougar comes through this area every so often.

  In early May 2009, at around 1:00 a.m., I watched a very young cougar in our backyard stalking a possum. Of course, I couldn't believe what I was watching so I ran all around the house turning on every outside light (we had 10) just so I could see better. Sure enough, just on the edge of the light with green eye shine crouched low and walking very slowly with the longest tail on an animal I've ever seen was the Shepard sized cat. It was watching a possum, who was waddling as fast as it could and when it reached the wall it walked along the house. The cat stayed just on the edge of the light but followed the possum as it moved around the house. The cat was walking about 2 feet from the creek. I ran upstairs to get a better look (I had already opened the bedroom window) and knelt in front of the window and just then one of those huge bullfrogs let out a call and splashed into the creek. This made the cat literally jump up and turned itself around facing the creek. Meantime the possum made a beeline for the barn and scurried under it. The cat laid down watching the creek. I had a perfect line of sight and decided to run downstairs to get my camera. By the time I got back upstairs it was gone. No idea which way or where it went. Haven't seen it since.

2014
Feb. 24

Isle of Wight County, VA

Observation: Tom G, property owner.

Blackwater Rd. near Sycamore Cross; rural roadside at woodland & fields.  5PM, sunny & clear, from moving vehicle - 10-25 yards; 2.5' shoulder height; 4' body length. Saw the animal about 20 degrees to the right and running perpendicular into the woods. Saw it in full running stride. I didn't notice the tail as I was stunned to see it's back and legs, and then looked at the rear of it's heard and saw the dark ears. That's the first big cat I've seen outside of a zoo.

2014
Feb. 7 - [Report Date]

Griffith, VA

Animal Tracks: Nathan H, property owner, nature lover, tree hugger, etc.
c. 1990: Off of Pad's Creek Rd. On foot, mid-day, sunny; on state-maintained walking path between 2 suspension (swinging) foot bridges, maintained by VDOT, between Cowpasture River & Pad's Creek; observed fresh & plainly visible large animal tracks in the mud with numerous other animal tracks; made plaster casts of 2 prints: one obviously a large dog, the other a cat's print, no claw marks, approximately 3-4" across, larger than a dog's print, with rounded toe pads unlike a dog's toes, and considerably larger than a native bobcat's track. Will take a picture of the cast, but don't want to give it away ... It's a treasure as far as I'm concerned!! [photo requested by CQ-VA; not yet received]   

2013
Dec. 10

Frederick County, MD

Observation: Nunya V & wife.

My wife and I saw a mountain lion (the Sat. after deer muzzle loader season ended - 7pm) the south side of the railroad tracks "in town" along Sandy Hook Rd. in MD's Frederick County. This is a stone's throw from the river and between the two bridges. We saw it and instantaneously, in unison, practically shouted, "That was a mountain lion. Cool!" 

2013
Dec. 8 -
[Report Date]

Alton, Halifax County, VA

Report: Tom G, hiker, nature lover.
02/2013 Observation: I found Cougar Tracks on a muddy road near my house, just south of South Boston, 3 miles north of the Hyco River which borders NC.

12/14/2012 Encounter (emailed 12/18/2012 to VDGIF Region 2, District Wildlife Biologist): My son was using my Explorer and bringing it back. He had to lock up the brakes to avoid running down the Alton Mountain Lion just before my house on Traynham Grove Road. (I only call him that because he or others have been spotted on and off over the past five years or so around here.) Later that afternoon, the Alton Hunting Club ran him from Traynham to Snow Hill Road and lost him on the side of the road.
    Follow Up: My son spoke with the Biologist and he repeated what he saw. He said the guy tried to convince him he saw something else. My experience with game wardens and such folks in Virginia is when you say you saw a big cat, they look at you like you just said Big Foot. People have been seeing mountain lions going back at least 5 years near here and in the Hyco River Valley. I have yet to see [a wild feline] other than a bobcat [and the cougar tracks] but I keep my eyes open.

2013
Nov. 3

Amelia/Jetersville, VA

Observation: Rte. 307 South Central VA Marianne A & daughter, nature lovers.

... late morning, sunny, in moving vehicle, 10-25 yards, rural roadside, body and tail each about 3' long, black mottled coat ... My daughter and I were on our way to Longwood University for a college tour. We were traveling westbound on Rt. 307 when we both saw a large feline looking animal climbing the roadside embankment to a farmer's crop field. The animal was on the same side of the road as us. I was not driving fast as this is a narrow, hilly rural road, but did not stop as we had a car behind us and there is no shoulder. We both did not know what this animal was as we have never seen anything like it. We were both struck by the length of its tail and long body which we clearly saw for a couple of minutes. We did a google search when we returned home that evening and were shocked that it was a black cougar. I have attached a photo from the internet as this animal has the same coloring / markings. [photo was a jaguar, not a cougar - possible escaped / released "pet"?]

2013
Oct. 28

Point of Rocks, MD

Roadside Carcass - Rte. 15 North, just north of Point of Rocks, MD Polly B, property owner, nature lover, camper, hiker.

8:20 AM, sunny, 10-25 yards from moving vehicle on rural roadside. I was driving north on Rte. 15 right out of Point of Rocks, MD, looked over to my left across the double highway and saw what I thought was a deer carcass ... same exact color, but when I looked at the head, it looked completely different ... the head was rather blunt and rounded. I immediately yelled out to my kids, "That was a mountain lion!" I wanted to go back and check it out but we were on our way to DC for a field trip and were already running late. When I drove home that afternoon, I looked to see it, and it was already gone. I was just curious if anyone else saw it!

2013
Sept.
[need date]

Allegheny Co., VA

Larry C - Please contact CQ-VA if you see this - Your return phone number was indecipherable.

[date?] 2013: Cougar in mid-stream at Mill Ridge - 500 yards from coyote hunters.

1 month ago, cougar growl near goat pen.

2 years ago, cougar followed hunters to vehicle.

3 years ago, white cougar at Tops Mountain VA.

2013
Sept. 28

Rockingham Co., VA

Highlands at Rawley Springs Amy I

At approx. 11:30 a.m. I was returning to the mountain, had just crossed the bridge, stopped to check my mail, then turned the car to head up the mountain. Coming towards me down the road, walking steadily, was a cougar. It was NOT a cat - much too large. It was NOT a bobcat - had a very long tail. It was about 2 and half feet tall, tawny in color. I could not see if it was a male or a female. It did not run away when I drove the car - of course I stopped immediately as soon as I saw it, trying to process what I was seeing! - but it did turn off the road and go into the brush down towards the creek. That's when I was able to clearly see the length of its tail and its general size.

2013
Sept. 8

Patrick Co., VA

Bellspur Rd & Squirrel Spur Joseph T (& girlfriend)

I was traveling with my girlfriend north up Bellspur Rd having turned off of Squirrel Spur at dusk. A cat I first considered a large bobcat until I saw the long tail trotted across the road maybe 40-50 ft in front of us. It was small yet still was easily 24 inches off the ground while trotting in somewhat of a crouching position. My first thought was cat as the shape of its head and the way it was shaped and running. My next thought was large bobcat and that thought left my mind quickly. My first reason was the size and length, and then I saw the tail, approximately 20-24 inches. As it left the road the light was better and was a consistent tan color. My uneducated deduction would be young lion. I can't think of anything else it possibly could have been. PS My girlfriend witnessed the same event. And for what it's worth my son and I found tracks at the Stokes NC and Patrick VA line a year ago where the Big Dan and Little Dan merge. My son swore they were lion tracks. Took a picture to a fish & game guy and he backed my son up. Big Lion. (Unfortunately the track picture was in my son's phone and he dropped it in the tub; when he reset it the picture was lost.) The property owner's son-in-law told me that lions and tracks have been spotted there before. 

2013
July 31

Frederick Co., VA

Route 600 between 50 & 522 - 8:30 pm Kelly R

The mountain lion ran in front of my car left to right (running east). It was in a full out run and it ran into a stand of trees. I was shocked and stopped my vehicle in the middle of the road with my mouth hanging open. The next thing I knew, a dazed 4-point buck jumped out of the stand of trees and ran right to left (running west, away from the lion). The buck ran in front of my car, too! The lion was a bit smaller than my dog so it probably weighted 50#. The fur was modeled brown-black so at first I thought it was going to be a bobcat but when it ran in front of my car, the loooong tail stood out distinctly. It was definitely a mountain lion. WOW! What a night. We live off Route 600 north of 522 and have heard them several times but never got a glimpse of one. Go figure, I see it when I'm least expecting it!

2013
July 16

Warren Co., VA

Jaguarondi Sighting - Rick S

On July 16, 2013 about 6:30 PM in Warren County, Virginia, location 38°54'44.07" N, 78° 7'39.58" W, I sighted a large cat in the wild. This location is in Northern Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley not far from the Appalachian Trail. It was full daylight, I was parked in my car, off the main highway facing a dirt road (Massanutten Mountain Rd near John Marshall Hwy) when a large cat came out of the dense woods and crossed the road 10 yards ahead of me. The first thing I noticed was the peculiar gate, short legs, long body, long tail, and chestnut color. I thought this is not a bobcat, could it be a cougar? Then it stopped and looked in my direction. I could clearly see a round face. This cat was not a cougar, and like nothing I had ever seen. Doing a little research I figured it out... a South American puma… a Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi ). I contacted the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, which is in the area, to learn they do not keep this species of wild cat. It is said these big cats would not survive this far north. It may be rare, but I find sighting have been reported in the northern Appalachian region. There is no doubt I had spotted a Jaguarundi.

2013
June 28

Charles City, VA

John Tyler Memorial Hwy Observation Robin H, Nature / Wildlife Lover, cat-person

Early evening, sunny, <5 yards, rural woodland area. I was getting ready to pull out on a road in a rural part of Charles City, Va. When I looked to my left for any oncoming vehicles, creeping across the road was the cougar, who went into the woods. It was in a shaded area just before sundown so the coloring looked dark. I've watched them many times on t.v. and seen many pictures so there was no doubt what I had seen. There was no mistaking it for anything else unless you don't know your animals.

2013
June 21

Charlottesville, VA

Oak Forest suburbs Patricia LaD (& husband), Home Owners

Wooded older residential area. Cougar, possibly female?, very vocal mating cry, shrill baby cry - like recording - in backyard. Bright moon lit evening; turned on lights. Cougar stopped, sat, looked at us before walking away. 3'-4' long body (later thought more like 3'); long tail, light color (tawny).

2013
June 15

Buckingham Co., VA

Observation John C (& son), Outdoorsman, Hunter

 Sighting!  Buckingham, VA, Saturday June the 15, approximately 4:00pm. West VACO Land Lease property “Doe Track”. My son (14) and I had been running all the trails on the 312 Acres for several hours and for a final run we wanted to make a short run back to the property line on a trail we had explored. As it turned out it was only a 150 yards or so to the property line so my son who was driving the JD Gator made a quick U-Turn and gave me a thrill ride back up the trail to the main road. As we entered the road he made a left to head back to the truck but I was looking to the right when I heard him yell, LOOK! As I turned my head all I caught was a flash of something gliding through the air just above the high grass and bushes on the edge of the road. As flash instantly replayed I saw an image that was leaping through the air like a deer but a dear has no tail? Its body was brownish somewhat like a dear but as its body stretched out into the downward side of the leap a long tail appeared high in the air. Instantly and without a second thought I blurted out, “LION”!

 Although I’ve never seen a Lion in the wild, as my brain connected with the vision and my verbal expression of what I had just see spontaneously followed. All in the same moment may Son stopped the Gator, I questioned him, what was that?  He replied, “I thought it was a dog but it had on nose.” I replied in astonishment, “It was a Lion!”, I thought at the same time, it couldn’t have been. I drew my 45 and shouted, go, go! As we passed the spot in the road we looked to the woods for any movement but saw none.

 As we make it back to the truck I was stunned with the thought of a Lion in the woods, but then it clicked, it made perfect sense now as to why we had found virtually no signs of deer in the area. As I stilled questioned what we had seen I asked my Son what he saw just before the yelled for me to look, he explained. “It was lying down in the road, I thought it was a dog at first but it had no nose, its face was flat”. I asked was it a deer, he replied. “If it was its nose was bashed in. I thought, no deer or dog for that matter would have be lying in the road, what then? Just like a cat to crouch down to hide.

 When we left the area I stopped at a local house which backed up the property. There was a young guy there cutting the grass so I approached him to question what we had seen. I was surprised; he didn’t seem too excited when I told him about what we had just experienced. I asked if had heard for any sightings in the area. I replied that there were some rumors floating around but know one, that he knew, had ever seen a Lion.

 I’m still stunned, I’ve asked my son a dozen times, did you see a tail, but no, he doesn’t recall seeing a tail??

 So I’ll leave it at this, we’re not leasing the property! No deer in the area, but there is something there! It leaps like a deer and clearly in my mind’s eye, has a tail like a Lion. It has no snout or nose, not like a dog or a deer. It takes a crouched or lying/position when suddenly startled and first sees potential a danger. So you take it from there, as for me, there is at least one Lion in the State of Virginia, it’s in the wild and it roams the wood lands of northern Buckingham County, VA.

2013
June 13

Lawrenceburg, TN

David B - CQ-VA Tennessee Observer / Data Collector - see other reports below

Bright daylight. Rte. 64, just past Lawrenceburg Exit, female friend stopped to rescue a turtle, taking it from the road into the woods. A "big animal" jumped out of the bushes & ran across the road - big - fast. Big ol' yellow cat with long tail. Definite mountain lion. Scared! Called David to report.

2013
June 10
(report date)

Patrick Co. / Carroll Co., VA

Observations Vance P. III, Hunter

- 2012 - 40-50 miles west of Bull Mountain (Hillsville, Carroll Co.) - 80 acres - mountain lion chasing 2 does.

- 30 years ago - Pill Pot Lake, Bull Mountain (Patrick Co.) - mountain lion seen.

2013
May 12

Augusta Co. / Nelson Co., VA

near Swannanoa Castle on Route 608 - Observation Gordon & Betty A, Property Owner, Nature Lover, Observer & counter at Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch, Inn at Afton

 3PM, sunny, in moving vehicle, 25-50 yards, running broadside, residential roadside. 3' shoulder height, 4'-5' body length, 3' tail, tan.

 We had been out driving the back roads of Augusta County enjoying the sunny day. Betty was driving and decided on our way home to drive past Swannanoa Castle. We missed the castle on our initial drive on route 608. Betty found a place to turn around and after showing me a small field of May apples we started driving back towards the castle. Betty found the road leading towards the castle but we decided against going up the road. We had drove only 50' to 75’ when the cougar ran across the road in front of us. It was moving right to left traveling from south to north. Betty stopped the car and asked me "what was that". I did not give her any information; I asked her questions of what she saw: height, body length, tail if so how long. She responded that she knew it was not a deer due to it not being as tall and she was very exact in telling me the animal was shorter than a deer and that it had a very long tail. The observation was very quick, the cougar was in the sun / shade as it crossed the road. We have traveled across the country observing a great variety of wildlife and nothing compares to what we saw. Having worked in a vets office she told me that it was no type of dog she ever saw, she kept focusing in on the length of the tail. This was Betty’s 1st sighting, it was my 2nd sighting. My 1st sighting was 4 to 5 years ago in the same area. That sighting took place as I was sitting at the Afton Inn and observed the cougar on the side of Three Notch Mountain on a bright, clear, sunny day.

2013
March 9

Greene Co., VA

Puma Jennifer B (& husband) - cattle farm owners, hunter, predator hunter

 We live in Greene County, VA 6 miles east of the Shenandoah National Park entrance at Swift Run Gap, on an 80-acre cattle farm. My husband is an experienced predator hunter (he contracts hunts for coyote/fox/bobcats and other "nuisance" critters) and deer, bear and turkey hunter. He has spent a huge chunk of his 39 years in the woods, and is also an Eagle Scout and survivalist. That having been said, we have several raccoon hunters in our village and they are often in the forests around our home since we moved here last May. They are always chasing things adjacent to our property.
 This past weekend (03/09), as my husband was coyote hunting from one of our barns when the coon hunters and their dogs came swarming out of the woods at breakneck speed. Husband states he could hear them cursing and their trucks start up, dogs were going nuts. Something had scared them pretty badly. Next thing he hears is that very distinctive "scream" in the woods behind him (he was in one of our barns on a hay bale waiting for coyote). Across our eastern pasture something large and fast with "yellow-green" eyes took off toward the woods where he/she landed with quite a crash.
 We are pretty certain there is a puma on our property somewhere. I've heard it scream twice now and both times it chilled me to the bone. (The first time I was walking our hound dog and she took off for the house like a fire had been lit under her...I was terrified!) Hubby knows his wildlife VERY well and he has tracked bobcat on many occasions. A bobcat cry is very different from a puma cry, though both are a frightening if you don't know what they are.
 We have been watching our calves carefully (we have 2 new ones right now) and our deer population this year was quite non-existent, with the exception of a few chewed up carcasses we've found (we think those are from the coyote, though). We both believe there are puma in the mountains around us (we are less than 2 miles from the Simmons Gap trail in SNP) and we would like to help you out by keeping our eyes and ears open for them. We did find a set of tracks down by our southernmost cattle gate, but we weren't sure if they were coyote tracks or bobcat tracks-they weren't BIG, maybe 3-3.5" across, about 4-4.5" long. We didn't take a casting of them, but in the future if we find them we will. We also have found 3 piles of unidentifiable scat on our river bank (the Roach River runs through our property). My husband has seen all kinds of scat, but he doesn't know what kind this is. (I will try to get photos if the flooding river doesn't wash it away today.)
 I don't know why everyone is having a hard time admitting the puma/cougar/panther/mountain lion is here.  Why is that such a mysterious thing? If the coyotes can find their way to the East Coast from the plains and western US, why wouldn't the big cats? That makes no sense. This area is perfect for them and it's like a huge buffet if you can make the trip! Why wouldn't they come here? Makes perfect sense to me...for now the dog doesn't go out alone at night, and I carry a pistol. Hubby also chooses to not hunt in the tree stands anymore-too easily accessed by climbing cats!

2013
Jan. 20

Patrick Co., VA

Observation Jeff N, Hunter, Trail Cameras

15 minutes from Stuart (Stuart & Martinsville area): 100 acres with 3,500 acres woods adjoining. 7:00 AM, just after daylight looked from inside the house down the driveway and along 65 yards of deer trails. A very clear sighting c. 75 yards from house: a cougar in a stalking posture, low to the ground like sneaking up on something; light tan color like Golden Lab; 3'+ body, 3 1/2' tail straight up in the air with a crook at the end, c. 60-70 pounds; long & lean.

2013
Jan. 10

James City Co., VA

Observation [Requested "Anonymous"]

7:00 PM, a young mountain lion crossed the road in front of my car very near my house. I didn't want to believe it, yet that's what it was. I grew up playing in the woods here; I know what bobcats, coyotes, dogs, foxes, large housecats, etc. look like, and this was none of those. There is nothing else it could be. I'm having a lot of mixed feelings about this. I love nature and I think mountain lions are beautiful, but I had no idea they were living with us in our neighborhoods. I thought they preferred more remote locations.

2012
Dec. 8

Locust Grove, VA

Observation Erich D

I was on my way to work this morning, shortly after 3am. I was driving along Carrico Mills road; about a mile or so after getting on from State Route 3, on the left side of the road among some tall grass just outside the trees, was a lioness-looking feline, about the size of a medium large dog. I didn't think Mountain Lions were in Va, but I came across your site when I googled it after I got to work. Thanks.

2012
Nov. 2

Clarke Co., VA

Observation B'Lynn M, Biologist (& 2 children, home schooled & always looking for interesting stuff)

Road Kill Cougar:  On Friday 11/02/2012 at 3:00 PM as my children and I were coming out to our new property "Anxiety Removed" near Berryville, there was an accident on Rte 7 W about 1/2 mile before the incline to Mt. Weather / Snickers Gap that slowed traffic to stop 'n go; my children and I were were counting deer carcasses when I realized the carcass I was looking at was a cat of similar body size and color to the deer ... "beige winter coat, big cat head, mouth open, eyes closed, lying on its right side on the right side of westbound Route 7" (did not see / register tail or feet) ... I exclaimed "Mountain Lion!", with my 2 children looking closely at the cat face & body from the slowly moving car; my 7-year-old daughter was also looking at & exclaiming over 3 horses in a nearby paddock.  We didn't realize 'there are no cougars in VA' until a friend told me to report it to Cougar Quest.

[follow up] B'Lynn called CQ-VA on Saturday 11/03/2012 at 2:53 PM to report: around 1:30 PM, they drove back out to their new property with her husband driving, a camera and tape measure in her hands, and the children checking for landmarks. ALL of the deer carcasses, plus the cougar carcass, were gone.  They located the closest mailbox to the site of the "road kill cougar" and saw that the 3 horses were still in their paddock.

2012
Oct. 20

Warrenton, VA

Observation Charles E (& wife Peggy), Property Owners

Early afternoon, sunny, 25-50 yards, rural roadside, crossing 267 Alwington Blvd., Warrenton, about 50 yards past the turn into Home Depot. 18-24 inches shoulder height; 5-7 feet body length including tail; 3 foot (thick) tail; tawny color. The animal was slowly crossing Alwington Blvd in a lopping manner. It had a long thick tail. At one point it stopped and looked in our direction and continued into the brush. Its face looked exactly like the picture on your website. We have domestic cats and this was not a large domestic cat.

2012
Oct. 8

Shenandoah Nat'l Park, VA

Observation Ken H (+ wife Shorna & son Alok), Nature Lovers

2:30 PM; 40 degrees; cold, damp, overcast; 25-50 yards from moving vehicle; forested on both sides of the road (in Park boundaries); slowly walking / jogging (like all the cats I've ever had); 2-3 feet body length; didn't see tail (son thought he saw a short tail); appeared to be muted grey / grey-brown color. Saw it on descent from Skyland Resort towards DC, near 211 East; as we came around a bend, it was just over halfway crossing the road and proceeded to finish its crossing.

2012
Sept. 22

Manassas Battlefield Park, VA

Observation Lynne O (& dog)

 I was walking my dog in the Manassas Battlefield Park, near the parking area at Hazel Plain, at @ 9:45 on a sunny Saturday morning (September 22, 2012).  We were returning to the parking lot along the paved road when I noticed a movement in the grassy fringe around a stand of trees approximately 75 feet to my right.  The meadow grasses had just been mowed for the Fall except close to the trees, and I saw a large animal leave the grassy fringe, going away from me.  I expected to see a fox, but the shape and color were not consistent with a fox, and I said out loud “what the heck is that?”  The animal heard me, and turned around to face me…I was shocked to see a feline face, and stocky, light brown body of a young mountain lion.  There was no mistaking the face, and because of the short grass, my view was unobstructed.  It was approximately 40 pounds, light brown short fur, with wide, thick paws and long tail.  After we looked at each for a few seconds, it continued on its way, away from me, down a slight hill.  I lost sight of it, and returned to my car.  I was particularly surprised to see any wild animal that close to a parking area which had 4 or 5 cars in it in addition to mine, and where I usually saw fellow hikers and joggers every half hour or so.  It was also the first time that I had not seen any deer or wild turkeys while walking, perhaps as a result of the presence of the cat.

[follow up details] The feline that I saw while walking my dog had a long tail that was longer than its back legs, because it curled up an inch or so at the tip and then just grazed the ground...so in terms of tail length compared to body length, I'd guess it's tail was as long as its back....it would probably reach close to its shoulders if laying along its back.  The tail was the same solid color as the body, and was thick but not fluffy.
 It was amazing to me that any wild feline would be that close to areas frequented by people...however, the stand of trees from which it exited had been damaged by storms, and had several broken limbs that hung down away from the central trees, making a sort of large tree tepee, probably 12 to 14 feet in diameter.  Perhaps it was a tempting den?  And it sure was a shock, but also an incredible opportunity, once my heart slowed down!

2012
Aug. 30

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Appalachian Trail, Mile 53 marker between Milam Gap & Hazeltop Larry McG

Outdoorsman, Camper, Hiker

   08/30/2012, 2:00 PM - I had paused to survey the woods around me. When I turned to look forward again, I saw a large cat facing me on the trail directly in front of me. The cat was about 60 to 80 feet away. We stared at one another for about 10 to 15 seconds and then, it turned sideways and walked off of the trail into the woods.  I would estimate  that the animal was about  two to two and a half feet high. I had seen a larger cougar in the Canadian Rockies in July of this year when it ran through our camp early one morning. I observed that one for a minute or more. The SNP animal  was exactly the same. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera or cell phone with me. I was alone and I did not pursue the cougar at all. I did look for prints and scat on the trail and did not see any. When leaving the park around 6:00 that evening, I stopped and reported my sighting to the ranger at the gate.  He was skeptical.  I also had reported the event to a volunteer at Five Tents (President Hoover’s camp in the Park). The volunteer told me that reports of cougar sightings did happen but the park service position is that cougars do not exist there. I am very certain that it was a cougar that I saw, both head on and in profile. I’m sure it was not a bobcat.

   Follow Up Details - The cat I saw was light brown in color. I think the color has been called tawny. The color was consistent over the body, however, it had some white fur on the underbelly and on the face. The tail was thick and about as long as the body. I think that the cat was about as long as the trail was wide at that point, taken from nose to tip of tail. That would be at least six feet, probably a little more. I did not really notice the ears individually. I think I was focused more on the eyes. The face appeared classic to me.

2012
Aug. 15

See Below: 2005 Initial Report:
2001-2006

Lawrenceburg, TN More Cougar Observations David B.
David called on the 15th of August to advise us that the Lawrence County Advocate newspaper had published articles with photos on the 8th and 15th which clearly show indications of cougar presence. He then forwarded copies of those articles; the first shows large feline paw prints in mud with a woman's hand as size reference; the second shows severe wounds to a horse that were treated by a local veterinarian ... deep claw gouges on the shoulders & back flanks, deep bite marks on the neck ... consistent with only very large feline (a.k.a., cougar). A TWRA officer was quoted in both articles: "no hunter has ever reported seeing a large cat in this area" in the last 20 years. Perhaps no "hunter" has made reports to him or his agency, but David, his neighbors, and another veterinarian certainly have!  [CQ-VA Editorial Note: David has been tracking the cougars in the Lawrenceburg TN area since 2001, providing us with possible evidence that has so far not passed the "expert" confirmation we have expected, nor have TN Wildlife Resources Agency officials taken any of the reports seriously. He is an extremely reliable source of information.]
2012
July / Aug
Speedwell, VA Observation Linda L
Property Owner - adjacent to Dry Run Wilderness / Jefferson National Forest.
When I saw deer in my back pasture and wild [gray and tan] house cats near my hay barn, I saw a cougar from my backdoor using binoculars on five occasions during the months of July and August. He/she was tan, the size of a large dog, tail was long with a black spot, face of a cat. He/she was low to the ground coming across the pasture from the woods towards the hay barn. The deer looked but kept on eating. Another time the mother deer and two babies were close to my house and my horses looked up to the back pasture spotting the cougar. There were no ferro cats that I could see at the time. In my humble opinion, and I am no expert, the large cat had all the appearances of a cougar except it was small in size according to the information I read about them on the internet. I am the only eye witness except for an elderly gentlemen who was sitting on my back porch on the afternoon in August and saw the small cougar. They are not suppose to be here.
2012
May 28 update

GAME CAM VIDEO

2012
Jan 23

2011
Nov 4

South Boston, Halifax County, VA

Two ?Cougars? with Prey caught on game camera video;
?possibly 2 juvenile cougars learning to hunt?

Observation, Report, Game Camera Video Bob Crone (full name used with permission) - also see Bob's 2009 report below (2009 Aug 18 thru Nov 10) - the Crones now own 205 acres.

05/28/2012 Investigation Continuing - 6+ cameras mounted at property, but no clear pictures of "large feline"; large feline tracks photographed & cast that strongly resemble "cougar"; scat photos & description determined "probably not cougar" by consultants.

11/04/2011 Game Camera Video - 2 predators chasing prey animal - Majority of experts' replies through 01/23/2012: "Big Cats With Long Tails", "Too Small For Adult Cougar"; some experts who were unable to sufficiently enhance the super-speedy night video agree that the predators appear "too small for adult cougar" but are unable to identify the species; 5 big cat experts (so far) have identified the 2 predators as "puma", "lion", or "cougar"; 1 analyst claims "3-member canine pack"; most analysts have offered no opinion of the darker, hunched prey animal, but 3 say "deer" & 1 "raccoon"; 2 photographic experts have provided measurement analysis that support the size as bigger than domestic or feral cats and bobcats, but smaller than an adult mountain lion.  (NOTE: Neither CQ-VA volunteers' opinions nor the opinions of Bob & his non-professional associates are included above.) - Many, Many Thanks to all of the experts who have freely given their time and knowledge to review the video clip and provide their analysis!!! NOTE: video and photos will not be released until all scientific analysis has been received and processed and Bob Crone has given specific written permission to publicly post his copyright material. SPECIAL APPRECIATION TO BOB: Thank you so much for sharing your quest with us and for your patience during the scientific investigation process!

Additional photographic evidence of deer kill indicative of cougar is also under investigation.

2012
May 10
Shenandoah Co, VA Observation Greg K [Note to Greg: If you read this, please set your email to receive the reply I sent. bjc]
Judge Rye Rd., just east of WV line. 3:30 PM, sunny; 3' tall, 4' long, tawny color. "Driving slowly (20 mph) on county road in natl forest and large cat ran in front of me into brush..looked like a lioness one would see on natl geographic...called va dgif and they said I was either nuts or badly mistaken."
2012
Apr 2
Mountain Falls Park, VA Observation Lisa & Brian F
In our back yard at the far grass/weed line; 11:15 PM while standing on back patio; 25-50 yards away; 2'-3' tall; light brown; eyes yellowish green; I watched it leap and weave as it ran toward my dog and then as I screamed and yelled, it stopped. Once I could get my to to come back to the house, iyt stayed in the weeds and my husband watched it go up the hill and over a big rock pile as it disappeared. We took our dog to the ER Vet where she got about a dozen staples in the laceration. The vet also saw a puncture wound on her rump and another welt beside the laceration. We could hear the cougar with a low snarl type of sound ... a low gurgly growl unlike a dog. I am 100% confident this was a cougar and hope it doesn't come around here again.
2012
Mar 31
Berkeley Co, WV Observation Erin B. via phone
Giant black cat seen out of window in daylight; others have seen and heard; cats, dogs, chickens being killed; traps set.
2012
Mar 29 (report date)

2011 Mar 9 (encounter)

Page Co, VA Observation Michael C (and friend)
Description: cougar, 30" high, 48" long, 30" tail length, tan. A friend and I were camping on the Indian Grave Ridge Trail in the George Washington National Forest. About 2:30 AM I could not sleep and lit a cigarette. I decided to scan for wildlife with my flashlight and caught to eyes reflecting blue. The animal was perched on a rock ledge that overlooked the nearby dried stream bed. The head started to bob up and down which should have been a warning. I saw something large and tan so I thought it was a deer and started towards it. I soon noticed it was a large cat. I woke my friend who didn’t believe me at first. As soon as he saw it as well he said we should leave immediately. We left our tents and started back towards the trail. While we gathered our packs the cougar circled us working its way closer. We kept one light on it and one forward the whole way. It followed us for a while then turned back. It seemed like it was just curious about us like a house cat. It wasn’t afraid of the fire or our flashlights but it kept its distance for the most part. We both had surefire flashlight that produced plenty of light for identification. It was without a doubt a mountain lion. Most of the people I tell in the area are not surprised at all and a few have actually claimed seeing them as well in both the George Washington Forest and Shenandoah Park area. I went back to the same area this year but saw nothing. A neighbor up the road has land that border Shenandoah National Park told me that he also saw one in the woods on his property.
2012
Mar 22

2012
Jan 23

Mercer Co, WV Observation Erin B. via phone
01/23/2012: 7 house pets missing, including their 2 Yorkies; remains of clawed beagle found 01/22; hear screams but can't identify; game cameras being set up in woods.
03/22/2012: Giant black cat seen out of window in daylight; others have seen and heard; cats, dogs, chickens being killed; traps set.
2012
Feb 16
(report date)
Reedville & Lake Anna, VA Reports From Ronnie M.
1. Black panther seen by the father of an animal control office in Lake Anna about a year ago; he was afraid to leave his home for a long time afterward.
2. In Reedville 3 or 4 years ago, a resident of Twin Harbors (a rural swampy area) looked out his window in the morning at the insistence of his Labrador. He got a really good look at a cougar. If his camera wasn't dead, he would have gotten photos.
2012
Feb 4
Herndon, VA Observation Walter O'B & wife.
Not like anyone will believe us but my wife spotted a mountain lion or jaguar tonight. We were driving home on 02/04/2012 at 9 PM ET on Frying Pan Road in Herndon VA and we saw an animal cross the road. The animal was coming from Frying Pan Park crossing Frying Pan Road into the woods across the street. Frying Pan park houses many farm animals. The animal we saw had an elongated body and an elongated tail and moved like a cat. The animal stood at least 24 inches high and was at least 2 feet long. The reason we saw the animal was because the animal crossed under a street light and our headlights were pointed at it. The animal's color was pitch black. We searched for it by driving down side roads but it never showed again.
2012
Jan 27
(report date)
Afton Mountain, VA Report from Ben J
M
y deceased wife’s father told me about a large cougar he observed on Afton Mountain. This has to be somewhere in the range of 20 or more years ago. He was the estate manager of Royal Orchard, the ancestral retreat of the Scott family. A mere 7,000 acres. If you are headed West on I-64 there’s an overpass over 64 about ¾ up the mountain. That’s the road to the “castle”…fashioned after European castles back in the 1920s. Forty some rooms, a 2-ton oak door that’s’ about 8-10 in. thick… You get the picture! Anyway, one evening just about dusk he was up the mountain from the house and in a field with rock outcroppings and moderately tall grass. He first caught a glimpse of what he thought was possibly a cougar above and to his left but moving toward a rock outcrop on his right. Julian’s path took him around and to the right… sure enough the cat was waiting in ambush and a stare-down ensued with the cat slinking off. Julian stood his ground as he was armed. He estimated it as being 10 feet nose to tip of tail and close to 200# most probably a male. Unfortunately both father and daughter are gone, so no further details.
2012
Jan 10
Blue Ridge Pkwy, VA Observation Jimmy H & wife via phone
1. Morning: left Cherokee on the Blue Ridge Pkwy toward Pisqua (sp?). cougar (big cat 110#-120#, with long tail) jumped off the 8' embankment, landed in the middle of the road, took 1 stride, and was on the other side - we were flabbergasted! Will take camera to ride the parkway hoping for sightings.
2. About 30 years ago, a friend, Steve, was hunting in a field; a cougar jumped up from where it was lying and raced off. 
2011
Dec 30
N on Rte 21 in National Forest S of Speedway, VA Observation Greg B.
I was driving about 12:40am on 12/30/11 on RT 21 North to Wytheville from Independence, VA. I was in the section of road that passes through the National Forest area south of Speedway, VA. I would say that I was 5-6 miles south of speedway. This road is very bad to travel at night because it is like a zoo with numerous animals - you have to watch the wildlife because they will run into the road or just stand there. I had seen numerous animals on this stretch of road before including a bear and her cubs, numerous deer, dogs, cats, possums, mice, frogs, foxes, - but never did I see something this big. I had seen a mixed Lab earlier in the night on RT 8 - this sighting was as big or bigger. This animal was not a bobcat - it was bigger. It looked like a cougar or mountain lion from the pictures I have seen afterward. It had a long tail and a stocky body - it seems it was made of muscle and when I saw it, it was walking like it was stalking something. I was driving and noticed an animal to my right on the side of the road so I slowed down because I was afraid it would come into the road - at first I thought it was a deer but as I slowed to about 20 miles an hour, I looked at the animal better - total time maybe as long as 20 seconds. The animal was medium brown - its face was not of a bobcat it was rounded - a cat but without the whiskers sticking out. It was stocky - heavy - very heavy for a cat of some kind. All I can add is that this thing was bigger than a 50 pound dog - was broad in the shoulders and was stalking something when I passed it -  I could see it walk with that low to the ground stride that you notice with cats when they are walking up on something. The animal paid no attention to me.
2011
Dec 23
Campbell Co, VA Observation Amy W
I was taking my dog out about 2:30 am on Dec. 23, 2011 and observed a cougar walking between my neighbors houses across the road; my neighbors are all family & have pole lights between their houses; the cougar came directly under the pole light which lights a good portion of both yards. I knew what it was when I saw it because there have been many sightings over the years in the area. It was light gold in color and slowly walked from one house to the back of the other. It came out at the end of the second house and then ran in the woods. Then I heard the cry, mew, or growl. A mixture of all three describes it. I have no proof but I have no doubt what I saw. Just for the record there are no dogs in the neighborhood that are that color and it was bigger than the largest dog in the neighborhood which is a black lab pit bull mix. I live in Gladys, Va.on a dead end road in a rural country area of Campbell County.
2011
Dec 20
near Clifton, VA Observation James H
 I was driving to work (7:00 AM) when I noticed a large animal running down a high tension line towards Henderson Road Rte 643, south of Manassas/Clifton VA. I recognized it as a mountain lion. I have seen these before while stationed in Colorado. It was about 6-8 ft long maybe 3 ft in height and had a long tail. It passed/crossed the road about 10 yards in front of my vehicle. It was a clear morning, and the sun was just rising.
 Being an outdoors man and hunter I have seen all types in the wild. I know the difference between a bobcat, coyote, wolverine and cougar. This was definitely a cougar.  I have seen mountain lions while living in Colorado. I had one stalking me while elk hunting in the Rockies several years ago. This one I saw here was a mature cougar. I estimated the size, including the tail in the overall length. I am 5' 8" and I can be positive if it stood on its hind legs it would have been taller than me. It was massive and beautiful. There are many deer in this area and it is feeding on them; I have heard a full grown cougar eats one deer a week.
2011
Oct 23
Beacon Hill, VA Observation Nan D & husband.
  I live in Beacon Hill, just outside of Leesburg. Late yesterday afternoon, about 5pm, I was outside on our deck and I saw what looked like a large panther and a smaller one on the hillside in a grassy area.  These were BIG animals.  The smaller one was as big as our dog (an Australian Shepard).  The larger one looked black or almost black, but it was late afternoon and the light may have made them look darker than they were.  The smaller one looked like it had spots on its back or kind of a mottled coloring
[typical for cougar kittens / young juveniles]. I saw the tails of both cats very distinctly; they were very, very long.   I called my husband outside and he saw them as well.  By the time he went to get a camera, they were gone. I walked over to the area this morning [10/24/2011] to see if there were any tracks but there weren't (it is a grassy area, no mud or dirt).  There was some poop right where I saw the cats, so I picked it up.  For all I know it could be dog poop but I thought it would be worthwhile to collect it and have it analyzed just in case.
  My husband and I were just blown away by the tails on these things.  It couldn't have been a bobcat. 
2011
Oct 21
Purcellville, VA Observation John L. & companion.
  We spotted a mountain lion at 8:30 PM on Friday 10/21/2011 with 100% certainty. Easily was 150lbs-200lbs. The mountain lion crossed the road at the intersection of Lime Kiln and Groveton Rd in Purcellville, Northern Virginia. Was no further than 10ft in front my car, then moved to the side of the road where it perched on a beef farm's rock wall, where it looked back at us, made eye contact, and waved its tail. Then it jumped into the field of beef cows. I have seen mountain lions in captivity before, and this mountain lion was in my car's headlights and under a streetlight. There is no question about the animal's identity as we looked clearly at it and it did not run away quickly; it was not scared.
  We have seen wild bobcats and know the local animals very well. We have also been near mountain lions before, this was clearly a mountain lion. It was definitely a full grown animal, 200lbs may be an overestimate, but it took up more than half a car lane as it went across the road (4ft-6ft long without adding the tail into the length), it had a very long tail, and moved like a very large housecat, pretty much just like a lion would, jumping and perching onto a rock wall, than making eye contact with us. That was when it hit us that it was a mountain lion, there is no mistaking that face, especially with how close my car got to it before it moved out of the way. This animal walked with the gate of a large cat, we saw its face and body clearly, not just for a momentary flash. It's amazing how many people respond to animal sightings rudely. Initially I called and reported it because I wanted the local residents to be aware; it's near a heavily residential area. But now after being laughed at by local police, and rudely responded to by other agencies, I am inspired to prove this. Thank you for you kind response.
2011
Oct 1
Sky Line Drive, Luray, VA Observation Mike R & wife.
4:30-5:00 timeframe, cloudy but not raining, c. 30 yards away, observed for couple of minutes. Large black cat sitting prime and proper on a stone wall next to the road with feet together and long tail hanging loosely over the wall. Relaxed, graceful leap off the wall and into the woods.
2011
Sep 12
Blue Ridge Pkwy, VA Observation Katey B.
  S. of Rockfish Gap, between mile 3.5 & 3 on west side of road. Adult & cub. 2:30/3:00 PM, c. 20 seconds, sunny; in moving vehicle 5-10 yards away; rural roadside. Adult: tan, >2' at shoulder, >4' body length, tail length: "didn't catch it". Cub: approx. <1' height, <1.5' length, tan color. Standing broadside, walking onto road, turned around and ran back into bushes. "Unbelievable!" 
2011
Aug 15
Grayson Co, VA Observation Ronald C.
  2 mountain lions: tan, looked the same & same size, 2-3 ft at shoulder, 4-5 ft body length, long tail ?; 8:45 AM, sunny; 30-45 seconds; observer inside building c. 300 yards; urban farmland. 
  I can see a long distance from my back yard. I was talking to a friend on the phone and at first thought I saw a coyote, but with binoculars, I could see 2 mountain lions. They came through the bottom of a little field and then down a road into a Xmas tree field. 
2011
Aug 13
Rte. 77 / NC Border Observation John W. (woodsman, hunter)
  Runaway Truck Ramp; 4:00 PM; 60 yards; tawny colored cat with long tail, 4 1/2 foot long body; definite mountain lion ... no possible mistake.
  Several years ago, Snow Shoe, WV, winter snow ground cover, noted paw and tail- drag tracks following deer tracks; nails were retracted.
2011
Aug 11
Blue Mountain, Linden, VA Observation Michele P. (nature lover, manager of veterinary hospital)
"My yard right off the AT & GR Thompson Wildlife Management Area"; 6:50 AM, 10-25 yards, 15 minutes; tan/fawn color; c. 2' at shoulder, 4'-5' body length, 3'+ tail. "I was woken up by a screaming noise. It was calling at regular intervals. My boyfriend and I had heard this sound before (last fall) but the sound was farther away. I let the dogs, who were whining, outside. I heard the dogs barking and called them back to the deck and went to try to see what was making the noise from an upstairs window. I could not see anything. The animal was still vocalizing. I went outside and walked around the side of the house. My dogs followed me. I was standing in the yard and looking into the woods in the direction that my dogs were growling and looking. After about 30 seconds of scanning, I saw the animal. It was a large fawn cat. It was sitting about 70 feet from me. When it vocalized, it tilted it's head back. I sat there (wishing I had a camera!) watching it for about 10 minutes while it continued to call and just sit there. Then it looked in our direction and stood up. It was at this time that I saw it's long tail. It turned to the left and ran down through the wood behind my house."
2011
Aug 11
(report date)
Three Notch Mountain, VA Observation Gordon A.
I believe I saw a cougar 3 years ago but did not report it. It spiked my interest in cougars.
2011
Jul 28
Louisa, VA Observation Russ B.
At 7:30 PM (still light outside) as I was going from my house down the driveway, a cougar leaped completely across the driveway less than 20' in front of my car. It slid into the woods without looking back at me. This is the second time I have seen a cougar on my property ... the first time was about a year ago; the dogs were barking and carrying on in the early morning as I was getting ready for work at 4:00 AM --- I turned on the spotlights and saw the cougar in the middle of the driveway.
2011
Jul 17-18
Round Hill, VA Observation Donna M.  (phone conversations with eyewitness Donna & husband Rob who was out of town)
   07/17, c. 5:30 AM, beagle mix dog thrash against window to be let out; Donna looked out and saw a mountain lion, approx. 200 lbs., medium reddish-brown color, no spots, may have white under chin, body length c. 4-5 feet, didn't see tail or shoulder height as the cat was lying on a man-made mound c. 50 yards behind the house at the subdivision property line; it appeared to be looking at the house/yard; c. 5 minute observation; photo of eyes shining in the dark, but no animal details. A neighbor said he and his father-in-law woke up during the night hearing animal screams/noises.
   07/18, 12:03 PM - while on the phone with us, Donna thought she saw the cougar in a tree on the hill behind the house; hung up to try to get a photo. Called back ... not a cougar in the tree. Contacted local news paper, reported sighting to subdivision association, contacted our contact VDGIF to track & relocate or kill the cougar which he politely declined with explanations and further information
[see Note 1 above]; story picked up by Washington DC TV evening news with interviews of neighbors (Donna did not want to appear).
 
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Donna is a "credible" witness and we are not saying she did not see a cougar, especially since we have earlier reports from the general area fairly near where she lives. However, there are a few issues with this observation. We hope someone will verify her sighting! --- see nearby observations 10/21/2011 & 10/23/2011 ... stay tuned.]
2011
Jul 15
near Crozet, VA Observation Ed & Syl L (wildlife lover).
Jarmen Gap Road near Bulk's Elbow Mountain Road; 7:15 PM, sunny, 15+ seconds, 25-50 yards; tawny color, c. 2' at shoulder, c. 4' body length, c. 2' (?) tail length.
"Driving down the road. After taking the curve in the road - spotted cougar crossing road. Did not notice at first that it was a cougar - but then the animal stopped and turned to look at us (after I had already stopped the car) and I saw it's cat face and ears - then noticed it's tail as it turned away from us and continued walking off into the brush."
2011
Jun 26
Stephenson, VA Observation April C. & mother.
My mother and I saw a mountain lion cross the road in front of us this afternoon.  It was in Stephenson, VA.
2011
Jun 23
Grayson Highlands State Park, VA Observation by wife of JJ S., reporter.
My wife saw a mountain lion between Mouth of Wilson and Grayson Highlands State Park on Thursday June 23rd  around 8:00pm. She grew up in rural GA and said that it definitely wasn’t a bob cat as they don’t have long tails that stick up in the air as they are running [later clarified as: 'I didn’t mean straight up but more or less that the tail wasn’t hanging like a cat’s tail would standing still.  The cat was running and the tail was up as if serving as a counterbalance.'].  The ranger at the State Park said that “according to the game people that mountain lions ‘don’t exist’ (wink-wink)” in VA. Maybe it was some exotic cat, but she saw a big cat up there.
2011
Jun 15
Blue Ridge Parkway, VA Report by Don G; game camera photo by Ron B.
8:43 AM time stamp. Cat, tan, crouched / stalking position in front of large tree, looking toward saw-horse feed trough (for birds, turkeys, deer), tail not evident.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Based on environmental evidence in relation to size of feline, CQ-VA believed this to be a "domestic" cat; experts who were consulted varied between 2 domestic cat, 2 bobcat, 5 "definitely not cougar", and 2 no response.]
2011
Jun 11
Greenwich, CT Newspaper Article, originally reported by Jeff W (our New England associate).
May 31-June 5 large mountain lion observed and photographed in Greenwich. June 11 140 pound mountain lion road-killed by SUV near town of Milford. >June 11, 2 more reports from Greenwich area. No permits issued for "pet" mountain lion in CT; nearby states that do allow captives verified none missing. DNA tests being conducted to show if "North American Cougar" or Central/South American species. 
2011
Apr 28-30
Haymarket, VA Observation Charles H (hunter, tracker, wildlife observer).
  3 nights in a row around 3:00 AM at well-lit golf course behind his house; 10' from window (no lights on inside); 2 yearling cougars: 1 = 50-60 lbs, 1 = 30-40 lbs.; cat face with short ears, tannish blond, smooth fur, 2' tail sloped with curve on end; observed 10-15 minutes. Every 3 or 4 nights through June 17th, the smaller cat lay down under the lights; planning to set up trail camera.
  15 years ago, tracked a cougar in Wardensville WV area on son's property near WV Experimental Farm.
  Wife saw a cougar that was hit by a car in MD.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: See 11/1996 Baltimore County MD report by Sallie ... possible confirmation?]
2011
Apr 1 (report date)
Forest, VA Observation Jeanne P.
Enclosed is a photo of one taken in Forest, VA a few days ago. He's kind of in a ditch by the driveway, so you can't see how big he is. He lay there watching something in the woods for a while then walked off. There is no doubt it was a mountain lion. I know that last year friends had claimed several were spotted in their neighborhood in Forest, Va  as well,  but no photos were taken, so I don't know whether they were really cougars or not.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: The "cat" looked like it was cougar-color with typical cougar-ear markings; no tail visible; impossible to tell if really a cougar, but seemed very small when compared to vegetation, tree across the driveway, and a potted plant nearby. ]
2011
Mar 19 & 20
Springfield, VA Observation Linda C (grew up on Ranch in Missouri); Ralph DeT.
  1. 03/19: 8:00 AM sunny - Ralph - 50 yards; looking through a large window as the cat ran down the center of the street in front of the house. Long stretching strides; medium tan/brown; distinctive cat features.
  2. 03/20: 7:30 PM dusk - Linda - 20 yards; pulling into the lane, saw the cat running across the street further up, about 20 yards; very fast, lean cat with a very long tail that was S curved between it's legs. Having been raised on a ranch, I've seen wild cats, including cougars; this looked identical in physical features. 18-22" at shoulders, 30-35" body length, long tail, 60-70 pounds, medium brown, very fast.
2011
Mar 7
(report date)
Chickasaw, AL Observation Shelton Y.
Back in the early 70's, I think it was 1975, I personally saw a cougar cross a creek I was wading in. The creed is named "Chickasawbogue", not far from my mother's home. I have been an avid hunter and fisherman all my life and to be one of a few who have seen this beautiful animal in the wild is special for me. This cat probably weighted around 100 to 120 pounds. He came out of the water up on and crossed a sandy stretch of the creek bank leaving his paw prints. I wish I had been in a position to retrieve som plaster of paris to obtain a mold of his tracks. Have lived in Frederick County since 1981 and have hunted many areas in Virginia. You could probably query some of the folk who live up in the section of Great North Mountain. There, you will find people who have seen cougars. I wish you well in your quest in obtaining more information on this magnificent animal.
2011
Feb 14
Nokesville, VA Observation Paul M.
Photos - 3 1/4" paw tracks: experts determined to be canine
2011
Feb 7
Mannassas, VA Observation Shirley M.
Photos - 3" paw tracks in melting snow: experts determined to be canine
2011
Jan 28
Massanuten, VA Observation JJ dC.
Photos: large cougar-colored feline with long tail at Massanuten Water Park ... photo analysis and wild cat experts agreed this was a very large domestic cat ... not a cougar.
2011
Jan 25
(report date)

Stuart, VA

Photo forwarded by Cindy H; phone conversation follow up with Brad P.
  CH email: Her husband knows / hunts with JS. Cougar kill near Stuart (Patrick County) VA - JS went to get his deer stand and it came after him.
  BP phone: Fellow employee personally knows JS & forwarded photo after hunt. Brad P. hunts on Bull Mountain (Blue Ridge Parkway: Franklin & Patrick Counties); hunt buddy had 3 cougar sightings; spylink game camera hasn't photographed one.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Unable to locate JS in any media to confirm; request for contact not forthcoming. Checked to see if this could be a hoax ... many cougar hoax- sleuths checked all posted photos from US & Canada ... no matches. Distinctive head gear and face obscured by CQ-VA. Definite cougar kill ... location unconfirmed.]
2011
Jan 4
Chesapeake, VA Observation Sam L.
On Tuesday night, Jan 4, 2011, I was driving at about 45 mph down 
Centerville Turnpike toward Mt. Pleasant Road.  A light gray animal 
passed very quickly in front of me at a distance of about 30 yards, 
making me think some deer may be crossing the road.  It was 7:30 PM so 
it was illuminated by my head lights.  I watched it bound over the 
ditch to my right and clearly saw a long tail and noticed the body 
form and movement on the run did not match the many deer I have 
observed.  I did not get a prolonged look as it sprinted away in the 
adjacent field.  I do not think it was fully grown as the body 
appeared to be about three and one half feet long when stretched out 
on the run.
2011
Jan 1
near Williamsburg, VA Observation Catherine B.
I-64 West, 15-20 miles W. of Williamsburg, VA, right hand side of road, just in tree line about 20-25 yards; about 9:30 PM, few seconds, side of road illuminated by vehicle lights; standing broadside and then wide head turned toward the observer; brown with a little darkness on snoot & near ears. She was very certain of what she saw. "We know that there is no evidence of cougars in this area."
2010
Dec 29
Hardy/Moneta, Franklin Co., VA Observation Renee R. & nephew
My nephew and I were driving down 122 in Hardy/Moneta, VA (Franklin County) when an animal ran out in front of the car in front of us. It was a long lean brown animal with a long curled tail and we believe it was a cougar. It didn't look like anything we have ever seen in this area. He was 3 1/2 - 4 foot in height, 6 foot long, and was light/medium brown color with a distinct long curled tail.
2010
Nov 14
Moseley, VA Observation Susan W. (property owner)
  3:00 PM, sunny; observation c. 10 seconds while on foot in woodland; animal was walking / running away. Shoulder height 24-30", body length 4', tail length 2', color tawny, rounded ears.

  My husband Pete and I live on 3.5 mostly-wooded acres in Powahatan County, Virginia. There are other houses in the neighborhood, and they are also situated on acreage of varying sizes. So most of the area is made up of woods. Deer abound, as do possums, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and other small wildlife, and we often enjoy sitting on our upstairs deck, watching these creatures go about their business. (NOTE: There are plenty of domestic cats wandering about, too, and I am used to seeing them. This cat was clearly a cougar.) On Sunday, 11/14/2010, while walking along the wooded perimeter of our property, I heard a sudden noise in the nearby underbrush. It sounded like a spooked animal of some size, and assuming it was a deer, I immediately tried to spot it. I was stunned to see that it was, instead, a cougar. It fled back through the woods, and I ran along the border, keeping it in my line of vision as long as possible. It weighed perhaps 40-50 pounds, its ears were rounded (not tufted, like a bobcat's), and it had a long tail (also unlike a bobcat, which I have observed before in my native state of Texas). Since it was running away, I unfortunately did not get a look at its face.  I feel privileged to have seen this beautiful animal, and hope that the above information will be helpful to your endeavors.
2010
Nov 13
(report date)
Loudoun County, VA Observation Shad S.
I would like to report a cougar sighting in Loudoun County Virginia, on the corner of HWY 15 and Potomac Overlook Ln. The cat was sighted walking down through a field and stopped by some trees and backed up and marked them. We watched through binoculars. The cat was yellow in color and very muscle defined. It looked to be about the size of a small German Shepard dog.
2010
Nov 2
Bath County, VA Observation William & Gloria P. (property owner, hunter, volunteer for National Forest)
  Route 600, approx halfway between Rt. 39 & Bolar Mountain Rec. Area; 10:30 AM, sunny, approx 6 sec. sighting while in moving vehicle, woodland area. shoulder height 25-28", body length 4-5', tail length 3-4', color: light brown / buff.
  Breaking camp to return home after 6 days at Lake Moomaw, Bolar Mountain Recreational Area, campground Loop1, drove approximately 4 miles northbound towing travel trailer toward home and had a good sight distance ahead traveling approximately 30 mph; [the cougar] crossed west to east in front of pickup heading up on Bolar Mountain.
  I have hunted in Bath County since starting camping and hunting with my father in 1958. Have  encountered everything else that survives in Bath County but this was a first. Absolutely beautiful animal and had not my wife been a witness to this, I probably would not have believed my eyes.
2010
Oct 30
(report date)
Gore, VA Observation David C. (sent observation report to ECF); Report forwarded by Brad B.
  Just to let you know that I saw a large tan/tawnish color cat of about 100 - 120 lbs. crossing the field in front of my house the other day at 3:45 PM. The weather was clear and warm. There is no doubt as to the identification as I am a hunter, and outdoorsman and am familiar with the other types of wildlife that inhabit the area. I can assure you that it definitely was not a coyote or dog as its tail was nearly the length of the body and slender, the ears and face were short and was running with a feline gait. I live about 7 mi. south on Back Creek Rd. from Gore VA. on a ridge facing North Mountain near the WV line. I think it was just one of those "once in a lifetime events" but nice to know that they still exist in the wild!
  I have heard the locals refer to sightings and some folks, I understand, don't bother to report them fearing that no one would believe them.
2010
Oct 29
Lambsburg, VA Observation, Photo, Report, Phone Conversation Don G. (mountain property owner, hunter, wildlife observer)
Stewart Creek, Lambsburg VA, 1 mile post Blue Ridge Parkway, near mountains; within 1/2 mile of where he saw mountain lion 3 years ago; game camera photo of mountain lion: 24" shoulder, 4' nose to tail, tail not visible in photo; photos of a well-fed black lab, on the same camera at the same location indicate that this animal is slightly larger.
2010
Oct 21
Buena Vista, VA Observation Hannah G.
  Noon, sunny, 1 minute observation while on foot, 25-50 yards away in woodland / roadside rural area; shoulder height c. 2', body length 3', tail length 2-3', light tan or tawny brown.
  I have been a resident of the Shenandoah Valley, VA in Rockingham County, all my life, I live on a farm, I know our mountains. I had heard parents and grandparents talk about how the cougar used to be considered a local animal, but in my lifetime I have never known it to be. I commute to school two days a week in Buena Vista, VA, at the Dabney S. Lancaster, Rockbridge Regional Center. Around noon on a Thursday, we had a break from class and as I was getting in my car, I happened to glance up at the hay field behind the building and saw a cougar! The hay was chopped and bailed, the cat walked right into the wooded area and out of sight. Being a "local" I would consider myself "well versed in wildlife" - I know my deer, bears, and of course farm animals, and absolutely know the difference between that and a "wild cat." I proceeded to RUN back to my professor and told him my exact experience. He said he was in no way surprised and said he had heard more than a handful of stories about local sightings around the Lexington area. So I decided to research it on the Internet and this website is what I came along. Thanks for letting me share.
2010
Oct 16
Nokesville, VA Observation Ingrid P. (Au Pair - Family Nanny from Brazil); Report sent by Christine W. (property owner).
  12:00 AM, clear night sky, 2-3 minutes observation while in parked car on the property, approx. 5-10 yards away; shoulder height 3', body length 4.5', tail length 2.5', tan color.
  On the weekend of Oct. 16 my family had a Halloween party on our 10 acre homesite here in Nokesville Va. In preparation for the party, the family dogs (1 Male German Shepard & 1 Female St. Bernard) were locked inside of the horse barn. Normally these dogs remain outside at all times. After cleaning up after the party on Saturday we noticed in our back paddock that one of our emu birds appeared to be dead. After taking a closer look it was obvious some type of predator had attacked and eaten part of the bird. At this point, the dogs were still locked in the barn. When sharing the sad news that day with our family's Nanny, she proceeded to tell us that after the party Saturday evening, she drove her friend home to Warrenton VA around 11PM. Upon her arrival back home at approx. 12AM she observed a very large cat standing in the middle of the driveway. She stated that it had a very long tail and was similar to a tiger, but tannish or greyish in color. She was frightened to get out of the car. The animal casually walked off and she came inside. On Sunday night after letting the dogs out of the barn they proceeded to bark continuously throughout the night. We assume the cat returned to finish eating its kill.
2010
Oct 15
(report date)
Shenandoah County, VA Observation Jacob H.; Report sent by wife Juliann H.
  late Aug. 2009 - George Washington National Forest between Woodstock & Edinburg (own small hunter's cabin in GW Forest) - warm summer night, 11:30 PM to 3:30 AM, 4 hour observation from inside of cabin less than 5 yards from the cougar sitting in front of cabin door, walking, standing, looking around. Shoulder height approx. 2', body length 6+', tail length 2', tan color.
  My husband and I have owned a small cabin in the George Washington National Forest for the last 30 years. We've seen black bears, snakes, raccoons, and a bob cat, but never any mountain lions. In Aug. of 2009 my husband stayed for the night at our cabin. He had left some beef jerky on the front porch and had the screen door slightly open. He thought that he heard something walking on the roof, but was watching a movie and didn't think anything of it. All of a sudden there was a loud "thud" and the cabin shook. On our front porch stood a mountain lion, which had somehow jumped from our angled roof onto the far side of the porch. My husband raced about 3 feet to the door and slammed it shut, getting within a foot of the very surprised lion.  he lion ate the beef jerky, looked through the windows (since the walls to the front porch are 10 foot windows), and then lay down right in front of the door! Our cabin has no telephone lines and poor cell phone service, so my husband could not call for help. Finilly, the mountain lion got up and left at around 3:30 in the morning. We haven't seen one since, but we're a lot more careful now!
2010
Sep 26
Bull Run Mountain, Broadrun, (Prince William & Fauquier Co. line) VA Observation Lori K & John G. (property owner / nature lover
  right lane side of I-66 near Beverly Mill; 10:30 PM, clear night, 5 secs. 10-25 yards away from moving vehicle; shoulder height 2-3', body length 3', neither paid attention to tail length; small pointed ears, squarish jaw, short tan hair.
  As I was driving on I-66, bringing my friend from Idaho to our home in Fauquier Co., he called out "Watch OUt!" as we sped by a tan animal standing still in the right lane. We both initially thought it was a cat, but given the locale wonder otherwise. Other cars also passed it; one beeped at us as the car passed us so I wondered if they too saw the animal. It was the size of a large dog, tan, short hair with a very cat-like face, square jaw, and peaked ears.
2010
Sep 9
Fairfax, VA Observation Ed W. (nature lover & property owner) & others
 1) Mantua Hills Suburb; 10:30 PM clear night under security flood lights, about 5 sec. on front lawn, 5-10 yards, initially standing broadside prior to bounding away; shoulder height 24-30", body length 36", tail length 36", tawny color, 4 1/2' paws with 3" diameter thick legs. --- At 10:30 PM, my adult son had just finished taking the trash to the end of the driveway which triggered the outdoor motion sensor security flood lights. As he was walking around the corner towards his car, I walked out my front door onto the sidewalk towards the cougar. I was about 25 feet from the cougar, which spooked it and it fled thru the spotlighted area. It had a long tail (about 36" long), about an inch in diameter. It had 4 1/2" diameter paws with thick legs (about 3" diameter). It's body was approximately 36" long and tawny in color. It's head was oval shaped with small pointy ears pinned back. It used 10-12' bounds to make it's way towards the woods. It's paws made a loud thud as they hit the ground as it sped away. Then it was gone. I live two houses away from a 3/4 mile hiking nature trail and her sighting was next to a parallel hiking nature trail.
  2) 
At about 7:30 PM (still light out!) on the same night another neighbor spotted a cougar in their headlights by the side of the road about a mile away at Prosperity Ave across from Eakin Park . She was driving thru our neighborhood but lives in the next community.  I have talked to her! It was near a cross-county trail that runs for miles. I live two houses from another nature trail about ¾ mile long that is not directly connected to the cross-county trail but at the end of my trail there are woods that go about ½ mile to the cross-county trail, through which it probably traveled.
  3)
About 3 months ago, a cougar attacked a small dog near where my neighbor saw one the same night I saw mine. Don ’t know how to report it to a game warden but someone else did call one about this and the game warden said it ‘couldn’t be’!
  4) Most people here do not believe I saw it, but what do they know? I see deer almost every night when I come home. On Tues, Sept 7, when my other son was driving us home, the headlights picked up a buck, doe, and fawn in my front lawn and they froze while he drove up to the edge of my lawn. When he blew the horn, they sauntered off and disappeared. We regularly see foxes, although I haven’t seen one in about a year, also saw two coyotes in the last ten years. About 3 years ago I hit a deer in broad daylight as he jumped in front of my car near my son’s house. Also saw a beaver, full grown and practically got out of the car to ‘pet’ him (not quite!) near a stream that parallels the cross-county trail.
2010
Sep 5
Suffolk, VA Observation Sharmeen C & family.
Today is Sept 5, 2010 my name is Sharmeen. My husband and I believe we saw a puma in the woods behind our house in Suffolk,VA. This morning around 10:30 we took our children for a drive in the 150 acre woods behind our house and came upon the pond back there. As we pulled up, we saw a large black cat with a long tail jump from the bank of the pond to the top of the crest. We knew right away this was not right; it was as large as our dogs in the back seats. We have Pit-Shepard mix dogs. We then got out and left the truck to investigate. The crest was like a jetty surrounded by water with only one way off but it was heavily wooded; we couldn't see in but we could hear it moving in the brush. Not wanting to get bit and hearing the dogs getting upset we headed back to the truck. When we got in front of the pond again we saw the long black cat and its long tail cross a log and jump to the other side of the banks. It was not a farm cat! It was too big. The jump it cleared was approx 12-15 ft. It then disappeared into the thick woods. We noticed later that something had ripped off the corner of a bench seat on a ATV 4x4 cart that had been parked next to the pond. There were several paw prints and scratch marks next to the ATV. We then left to confirm what we had seen was a puma. Considering we don't live too far from the dismal swamp we weren't too surprised to find out we have not been the only ones in this area to see one. I hope this sighting will help your cause to prove there existence here. We will keep a camera with us the next time we're back there in the woods. As for us, we know without a doubt the puma is here.
2010
Aug 28
King George, VA Observation Adam S.
  I moved to King George Virginia on August 20th 2010 for work. I moved here from Illinois. Yesterday, August 28th 2010 while I was outside preparing the grill to cook dinner, I noticed a bright flash in the corner of my eye. When I turned to glimpse at what I saw, I was surprised to see that I was flashed by the tail or a large feline in the tree line across my neighbor's yard. Now our yard is adjacent to our neighbors and there are no fences or barriers. Estimated distance to the cat was probably 70 yards give or take. It emerged from the tree line and walked along the small ridge overlooking our neighborhood adorned with trees. I don't have a degree in biology, but I spent eleven years in Arizona; I know what a mountain lion looks like as opposed to a fox or bobcat or dog. It walked wearily in a cautious and feline manner; it noticed us as I alerted my fellow people in the yard that had spotted it. This cat was a full grown adult, it was large and extremely stealthy in its stroll. I hope this helps you in your research. After searching for cat info in Virginia I noticed the existence is still not accepted. I for one know what this cat looks like and can testify to you that this was indeed a large mountainous cat.
  I have three other adult witnesses; my wife, my coworker, and his wife, all witnessed the feline after I had spotted it. The neighbor children said their mother has also seen it multiple times. I will be trying to capture it on film, it appears this cat is not a one time visitor. My wife brought out my camera but when we had the camera the cat was weaving the tree line and being very cautious, I was unable to get a good exposed shot. I am intrigued by the apparent denial of local officials of this existence. I love reading about cryptozoology, but to deny this known animal as being here is absolutely crazy. Thank you Barbara for your time, I hope I will be able to capture some proof for you.
2010
Aug 15
Surry, VA Observation Don S.
I was driving past Chippoake's State Park in Surry, VA Sunday Aug. 15, 2010 - a huge cat crossed the road in front of me in the swamp - not sure if it is a cougar, but it had a tail and was about the same height of a small Lab. It was about 3PM –sunny to partly cloudy--temperature in the high 80’s and the humidity was bearable for this time of year—the color was a light to medium brown color—couldn’t tell if it was brindled or not from the distance the tail was long—it was strolling across the road—never broke into a run—at first I thought it was a big dog but it turned to look at me and was defiantly some type of cat—face kind of square and boxy—don’t know about the ears—I stopped when I got up to where it crossed but it was gone—good luck—let me know what you turn up—I have been here for 58 years and I never saw a critter like that.
2010
Aug 14
Frederick Co, VA Observation Mark W & wife (property owners, outdoorsmen, law enforcement officer)
We heard the whistle she makes to her kittens first. We've seen her several different days and times of day. We think we've seen a couple of her kittens, but they aren't much bigger than the strays that hang around here for the food we leave out for them ... or the raccoons that help themselves to the same food. Since this isn't the first time I (we) have seen her, we think she has a den nearby and has for several years. I used to see mountain lions frequently on Paris Mountain and occasionally in other wooded mountain areas of Clarke & Frederick Co. Of course they are here.
2010
Jul 12
Shenandoah Co, VA Observation Karen S (vacationer)
Vacationing for the first time on the river...last night in cottage, something in trash below deck...we tried to look between the cracks of the wood, but couldn't get a good look, so I decided to go down stairs and scare it (raccoon, opossum, black & white cat that had been hanging around?)...the small cat was sitting on the top step, terrified... as I bent down to pick up the cat, I looked down the steps, and saw a huge, yellow, lion with no mane walking away. Now keep in mind, I am not an outdoors type person and my knowledge of the area and what lies within it is slim to none. With every hair on my body standing up, I slowly stood up, turned around, went inside, shut & locked the door. That cat was, in my opinion, large enough to jump up on the deck and come in if it wanted to! We never saw or heard that lion again.
2010
Jul 2
Spruce Pine, NC Report Aaron C (home owner)
I have recently got a very clear audio tape of this cougar that has been screaming outside my house for many months. It leaves but always comes back to near my house. 
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: We are continuing to talk with Aaron in hopes that he can reproduce the tape to send us a copy while he keeps the original.]
2010
Jun 6
Basye, VA Observation Timothy H (property owner)
OK, I'll admit I may have been influenced by a friend's son who related that the Basye diner was all atwitter about panther sightings. It wasn't 5 minutes after I left my friend's condo that I made a wrong turn and ended up at a clearing next to a dead end. There it was, big cat, long tail, looking orange in the evening sun. I had a broadside view from about 50 yards and could tell this was no domestically-sized cat. It stood still as if it was watching the clearing (away from me) and after a minute I left and drove away. I didn't have my phone which has a nice camera.
2010
May 21
Loudoun Co, VA Observation Thomas D (wildlife supporter)
Despite my raising beef cattle and chickens, releasing bobwhites, and watching wild pheasants and turkeys on my property between Purcellville and Hillsboro, I welcome natural predators. On this night, one of our dogs was furiously barking and I heard a cough like deer during mating season (wrong time of year) only much louder and coming from near the dog kennel. I shined a flashlight and saw large, round, bright green eyeshine that blinked. Another pair of eyes was shining maybe 50 feet further away. They were 18-24 inches off the ground. As I walked over near the pasture fence, the eyeshine casually bounded away and stopped. This animal made a cream that could have come from a well-made horror move. I wish I'd had a more powerful flashlight.  
2010
Feb 23
Leon, IA Observation Lenny R (hunter, property owner)
7:00-7:30 AM: found parents' 50#-60# dog killed about 50 yards downhill from house, 1 of 2 smaller dogs badly injured ... about 12" snow, blood all over fight area ... large cat tracks leaving in 13 foot bounds ... later discovered all but 1 chickens were lost with one huge, heavy cage dragged and destroyed ... observed tracks as cat came down from tree, straight line walk to chicken coops, up & over pasture fence ... about 30' from house 
2010
Feb 17
Crozet & Wintergreen, VA Report Chris M (nature lover)
  Summer 2000, Crozet: My 10-year old daughter and her friend asked if we had "big cats" in Virginia. They explained that they had seen a large cat at least as big as a Labrador, drinking at the edge of one of our ponds, in a sitting position with its tail wrapped around its lower body. I went back to where they saw it but couldn't find any tracks in the leaves or on the rock where it was sitting. We talked with the game warden who indicated that Cougars are sort of like UFO's - lots of credible people report seeing them but no hard evidence is normally found.
  2009, Appalachian Trail near I-64 & the Blue Ridge Parkway near Wintergreen Resort: My friend, out hiking alone, came within 20 yards of an adult mountain lion. She said it was clearly visible and definitely a large cat she recognized as a cougar, with a long tail. It looked at her and walked off. She just stood her ground, without any sudden movements and it never made a move toward her.
2009
Dec
Martinsburg, WV Horse Attacked Mary O'B (owner / manager Equine Rescue farm)
  - We had a mountain lion attack in December. The horse that was attacked (claw marks down her back and legs
[photo forwarded to show huge claw sweeps]) was older and suffers chronic arthritis. The other horses were so scared they ripped the fencing down and took off. I have never experienced anything like this. The vet is the one who told us it was a lion. Foot prints and claw marks were almost 4" x 4". I notified Dept of AG, but no one ever did anything or cared.
   - We have only seen the cat one time; it was also seen in Falling Waters by some hunters; the sewage treatment plant off of the Potomac & Opequan also have seen it. We did see the tracks again in the snow, but again officials never came out to follow up on the attack or check the tracks.
2009
Nov 29
Paris Mountain, Clarke Co, VA Reports Noel G (reporter, nature lover)
1. Oct. 2009, Paris Height Lane: Andrew S - female cougar standing in road with 3 kittens; 2 weeks later, hunter saw female cougar with 2 kittens in same location
2. Nov. 2009, near Rte. 7: Barbara H (author) observed cougar on her way to a meeting 
2009
Nov 28
Skyline Drive, SNP, VA Observation Carol, Roger, & Julia R (nature lovers, environmentalists, amateur photographers)
Sunny evening. It crossed the road behind us as I was reviewing a photo of the overlook view. Both my daughter and husband shouted, "what is that!?" as they observed a large, black, cat-like animal cross the road and stop to look at them. It hopped onto the rock wall on the west side of the overlook and then crept down from the wall into the woods. We approached the spot and tried to see it down the woody slope, but it had disappeared.
2009
Nov 21
Roanoke, VA Observation Yvonne C (nature lover)
5:30 PM, driving on Rte. 311 past Jefferson National Forest, near Dragons Tooth heading towards Roanoke. I saw a very large goden tan cat quickly run in front of my car. I excitedly called my husband and told him. It was very long, perhaps 6-7 feet long and it's shoulders were almost as high as the hood on my jeep. The pictures on the internet of mountain lions (or cougars) match exactly to what ran in front of my car. I am positive it was not a deer, dog, or bear. It was not a bobcat. This cat I saw was huge! It was fluffy with thick legs and big paws. It was golden color with no spots. I just read that mountain lions in Virginia are non-existent according to the Forestry. Well, I don't know about that but I do know what I saw and am happy to see such a rare animal.
2009
Oct 4
Frederick Co, VA Observation John R (property owner, avid world-wide hunter); Report by Kelly R (wife)
10:00-10:15 PM, cougar scream very close to house, between garage & road; John's and dog's hair straight up; small children scared. Not first time cougar scream heard, just much closer than prior. John donned his head lamp, loaded his shot gun, and went out on the porch; the cougar didn't show itself.
  Feb. 1998, we moved to this location and saw tracks at the front porch in the snow ... they were large cat tracks, bigger than a bobcat.
2009
Sept
(12/2007-
09/2009 emails)
Nottoway & Dinwiddie Co., VA; Virginia Beach / Great Dismal Swamp, VA Observation Douglas A (military base property manager; game tracker)
1. I work on a military base where I am one of the persons that manages and has access to the land to include the uninhabited areas that are locked and that very few people have access to. I have been tracking sightings reports from credible professionals, people I know personally (military, forestry, security, environmental fields), over the past few years on and around the installations where I work. I know that cougars are here in VA and think my installation(s) may be one of their refuges since we have plenty of space, deer, and very few people. I believe they roam all over, but are actively using the green space that surrounds most of our river systems as thoroughfares between the Great Dismal Swamp and the mountains. Rivers like the Nottoway, Appomattox, Mahrrin, Roanoke, and maybe even the James, though I don't see how they could easily get around Richmond.
2. c. 2005, on my way to work I saw a road kill cougar but couldn't stop - intersection of Baltimore Rd. and Rte. 460, at the town of Ford Crossroads in Dinwiddie Co. I took off work a little early that day hoping it would still be there. Unfortunately, it was completely gone with hardly a spot on the road by the time I got back there. Someone had obviously policed up the carcass. It was a  beautiful animal when I saw it; very sleek and a dark reddish / tawny color.
3. Fall 2008 I was backpacking with my son. We had just gotten back to the car and started down the gravel road from the parking area above Crab Tree Falls on our way back down to the blacktop road SR 56, when a cougar jumped down the hill across the road about 50 yards in front of us and continued down the side of the hill, making it across the road in one bound. It was more of a gray color, but that tail and the cat-like motion is unmistakable. Very Exciting! (Coincidentally, where I saw him is just a couple short miles from Painter Mountain Lane; go figure.)
[Painter is another name for cougar, mountain lion, panther, etc.]
4. Throughout 2008 I was involved with an extensive Meso Mammal Study with military and VA Tech experts on one installation. Unfortunately we never "got us a cougar".
5. Currently, I'm very interested in the reports coming out of the Great Dismal Swamp and surrounding areas, some of which are on your web site.
2009
Aug 26
Purcellville, Loudoun Co., VA Observation Alice B (nature lover)
Telegraph Springs Rd, near entrance to Curle Lane, 8:45 PM, clear dark night. What I first thought was a deer bounded across the narrow road with thick vegetation on both sides, 40-50 feet in front of my car headlights. I've seen literally thousands of deer in my life; this wasn't a deer; it wasn't a dog. Head much bigger and boxy, squarish, closer to the body; body mass and color similar to a smallish deer; legs thicker and straighter; graceful. I really think it was a cougar.
2009
Aug thru 2010
Feb
Augusta Co. & Bath Co., VA;
Elkins, WV
Reports Adam E (wildlife observer; citizen scientist)
Bath Co. - Scotchtown Draft Rd (Rt. 629)
mid 1970s - My father saw a cougar along this road - very rough, dense country
Augusta Co.- Criders
1. Aug 2009 Handyman building retaining wall at my cabin: The mountain lion was about 50-75 yards from him, just sitting on the side of the ridge watching him, no defensive posturing or motion to get closer to him; he was so shaken up that he refused to come back to work after his sighting. As tight as money is right now, he would have to be pretty sure of what he saw.
2. Sept 2009 Bill H observed live animal and tracks while in vehicle & on foot. Animal: feline, 24" shoulder height, 60" body length including tail, 30" tail length, tawny color. Tracks: approx. 3.5"x3", 1/2" deep in mud, no claw marks, 18"-24" stride + multiple smaller similar tracks assumed to be cubs; followed track trail <5'.
3. Other residents in area describe multiple cats (one reported black, one with cubs) being spotted at least 6 times and claim VDGIF captured and relocated one of the adult cougars in Aug 2009.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: We followed up with VDGIF who had no knowledge of this report, had not captured a cougar in the area, and would not, under any circumstances, relocate a cougar to a natural habitat.]
Elkins, WV (52 miles from Criders, VA)
Sept 2009 Shortly after the Criders cougar was "captured", a female cougar with two cubs were reported.
2009
Aug 18 thru Nov 10
(phone, email, pix)
Halifax Co, VA Observation Bob C (property owner - 93 acres near S. Boston bordering 2,000 acre private hunting land, hunter, big game hunter, game camera enthusiast, wildlife observer -  [CQ-VA Editorial Note: Bob sent photos & video; photos were sent to expert trackers whose opinion, as usual, was mixed: definite, probable, possible, not feline; our opinion is that the large, deep mud tracks are indeed cougar])
1. 08/07/2009 7:30 PM (still light outside): saw cougar near a pile of cinder blocks next to my pole barn, about 100 yards from back door where standing; 2" grass that had just been cut. It was at least 120 pounds (may have been over 125 pounds), over 2 feet high at the back (which could be seen over the 2' pile of cinder blocks when it passed behind them); definitely a mature cougar. Tan body about 4' long with at least 3' tail, held straight out with the black tip curled up; very muscular legs. Before fully identifying, he called out to his wife: "There's a dog as big as a mountain lion out by the barn!" After realizing that it was a mountain lion, he said, "I couldn't have been more surprised if I had seen an elephant in my back yard."
2. 08/08/2009 afternoon, bush-hog cleanup with friend found & photographed cougar tracks sunk up to 1" in the mud along creek / watershed area c. 200 yards from barn - 4 1/4" x 4 1/2", some overlapping like cats walk, claws visible in deep mud but less than 1/4" deep, rounded print with thick heel pad unlike dog prints.
3. 08/11/2009 took more photos of the area; mud dried; many canine tracks; undetermined other.
4. 08/17/2009 follow up - Bruce P, friend, 3 miles NW of his property: big, full grown boxer attacked 2 weeks ago by large feline assumed to be cougar: razor clawed hind legs, slices front to rear of body. Others saw the cougar 5-6 miles east of his property around this same time.
5. 09/18/2009 follow up - Reports 09/05 5 miles North; 09/06-11 reports and possible game camera photo 15 miles South.
6. 11/10/2009 follow up - Workman 1/4 mile and across the road was on the 2nd floor porch at 10:30 AM: 1) observation in field: approx 3' body without tail, at least 2' tail up in air, ready to pounce, brown gray color; 2) got binoculars; 3) watched cougar cross the road and pasture toward the house and then into the woods where there are rock outcrops, caves, and very overgrown woodland. 
2009
Aug 17 thru
Sep 5
(emails)
Monterville, Randolph Co., WV Observation Jim W (property owner, nature lover, professional outdoor writer, author)
I have had about 10 mountain lion sightings going back to 1976 or 1977. All except one have been full grown and tanish.
 - 4 sightings were probably of the same cat, as it had a regular pattern in 2 consecutive Octobers (1999 & 2000). These sightings were in my yard in Monterville. The cat would appear in my neighbor's yard about 300 yards away and slowly work its way up to my yard. My neighbor would call me on the phone and inform me it was in his yard and to be on the lookout.
- One was a sub-adult in wintertime, with snow on the ground and it had a winter darkish coat. My wife, Betty, witnessed this sighting which was in Pocahontas Co.
- The closest 2 sightings were in the 50 foot range.
   ~ In '76 or '77, I was backpacking by myself on what they call the Upper Elk (river) near Slaty Fork, WV. I was sitting on a rock a long step from shore looking downriver. About 7 PM in August. I slowly turned around and there it was sitting on a rock in the river bathing its 2 front legs. No more than 50-60 feet. The cat saw me and just stared. I was near paralized with fear. I never moved a muscle. The cat finally leaped to the bank and loped away from me. The aftershock sank in and I half ran back to my car about 5 miles downriver, leaving all my gear at the campsite. The next day I got a local to go back with me to retrieve my gear. That August was dry and we could find no prints. The local never believed my story.
   ~ In In the mid '80s, I was behind one on my ATV on a gravel road going to the top of Elk Mountain; it was loping up the same road in front of me. I pulled up close enough to get a positive ID, then backed off.

All of my sightings were "no doubt" cougars. No one can expect to have a sighting when they are looking for one; it's one of those being in the right place at the right time scenarios. I am pleased they are here. I don't care how they got here, but I do not believe the rumors that our DNR brought them in. The only thing I know is they are reproducing as many reliable sighting are young offspring. The WVDAR's denial that they exist in WV is ludicrous; it could be for a number of reasons, including not causing a panic to not paying out "damage fees" for lost livestock (hardly anybody raises sheep around here anymore), but it's still ludicrous.
2009
Aug 14
Montvale, VA Report Paul S (nature lover)
About 15 years ago, my father and my uncle claimed to sight a cougar on my father's farm. I was reminded of this when I saw a photo of a mountain following behind a whitetailed deer buck at a small store in Bedford, VA. When I asked, the clerk said it was taken near Lithia, VA at Iron Ore Mountain, the "Spec Mines".
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: After seeing a copy of this photo which Paul provided, it is one that has been copied off of the Internet and making it's rounds as originating in several eastern states. Paul also provided a link to a sighting July 10, 2008 that was reported in Craig Co, south of New Castle --- sure sounded like a cougar to us! - go to www.roanoke.com/outdoors/billcochran/wb/168668]
2009
Aug 12 - ...
(original report date, continuing ...)
Elkins, WV Observation Kimberly S-W, husband, children, friends of the family, and others ... Reports Kimberly S-W (property owner, writer, reporter, avid wildlife observer, nature lover, and professional grief / bereavement councilor) & Jim W (see Aug. 17 for other observations) [CQ-VA Editorial Note: This is the most credible observation and the most difficult for us to summarize after many conversations, facts, and confirming observations reported by others than Kim & her family ... a mother cougar (Lily) with two kittens (Freddie & Freaky) were sighted on numerous occasions by numerous individuals (some with "expert" credentials) and is well documented in the Elkins WV newspaper (www.TheIntermountain.com - search "mountain lion" or Kimberly Short Wolfe in their archives for August + 2009).]
Summary: Kimberly & family moved to a long-abandoned, overgrown, wooded farm in May 2009. June started the sightings of a large mountain lion in and around their property, close to the house, walking down the driveway, bounding into the woods, etc., with many follow up sightings through June, July, August, September. As it turns out, this was a female (Lily) who was denning on acreage, apparently very close to their old farmhouse, hunting to feed herself and her kittens ... a young kitten (Freddie) was observed even more often than the mother in August ... it was soon discovered that there was actually a second kitten (Freaky). The fearful (but tolerant!) family identified a pattern of sorts as the cougar(s) made their rounds. The family's kenneled dogs were terrified and their cat refused to go outside. The cougars did not cooperate when a reporter / photographer came to take their pictures. Game cameras have so far failed to "capture" the cats. Kim has some photos, but says they just aren't good enough for "proof". WV DNR has been sympathetic but unsuccessful in finding the animals; police and other professionals were notified --- not interested; neighbors were notified and were supportive, keeping their wary lookout and reporting back any related experiences. A retired Game Warden is a neighbor and has confirmed the cougars. A veterinarian neighbor confirmed the reports. A outdoor wildlife magazine journalist / author has confirmed the reports. Fortunately, Lily and her youngsters have behaved themselves - Lily trained her kittens to hunt deer and other wildlife, not to attach "Fluffy" the family cat or the neighborhood dogs, cattle, horses, etc. and no harm was done the last we heard. With over 10 individuals having seen this cougar family (many on more than one occasion), is there any doubt of the veracity and credibility of this mountain lion family living in WV, in the mountains near Elkins?  If there's a female mountain lion with two kittens, is there a doubt in anyone's mind that a male mountain lion exists? Are all cougars east of the Rockies "extinct"? Are all credible cougar sightings "escaped pets" that can't fend for or feed themselves and have no other cougars in the territory with which to breed? I leave it to you, the readers of this web site, and especially this report, to figure out the answers.
2009
Aug 8 / 9
Salem, VA Report Karen U (nature lover)
A cougar took down a deer at the Roanoke Camp (off Dry Hollow Rd) this weekend and I have been trying to determine if indeed it could have been a cougar or if it was a bobcat. The camp is near a reservoir in a very wooded mountain area with few houses; Dry Hollow Rd. is a small road with 3 one-lane bridges. I will try to get the camp director to fill out a sightings report.
2009
Aug 8
Luray, Page Co, VA Observation Penny M (nature lover, hiker)
Vacationing near Shenandoah River just west of Rte. 340. 8:00 AM, Saturday 8/8/09, I was out for a morning run on some back roads. I noticed a large, dark-colored animal in a fenced pasture just ahead of me. I initially thought it was a bear, until it ran, jumped a 5 foot pasture fence with ease, and landed about 4 feet from the fence. It then stopped in the road and turned to look at me. I was only about 50 feet away. I was frozen with fear as I realized it wasn't a bear, but a mountain lion. It was dark, maybe very dark brown, with a very long tail 3-4 feet long. It looked like it could have easily weighted 100-120 pounds (I have a 100 pound lab, and this cat was larger than my dog). It stood about 3 feet tall, and had a rounded face with low-set ears. I knew not to run, so I just stood there and waited. It finally took off on the other side of the road into the woods, and I made a U-turn to the nearest farmhouse! If it hadn't been the last day of our trip, I would have gone back to look for tracks to possibly photograph! I telephoned VDGIF; they suggested I call the Page Co. office on Monday, but then tried to inform me that "there are no mountain lions in Virginia...what you saw was a bear or a bobcat". I am an educated woman who lives in the country; I have seen many bears and bobcats. This was a cougar/mountain lion. There simply was no doubt in my mind. It was so beautiful and graceful. I will remember it forever!
2009
Aug 3
Virginia Beach, VA Observation Curtis McD (former Boy Scout; 2 close encounters with mountain lions in California where lived prior to move to AA)
Mountain lion family walking less than 5 yards from my standing position. Golden colored female cat the size of my Irish Setter, yet way more streamlined; 4 cubs, the one closest that I could see the best seemed to have paws too big for itself, but was curious and was approaching me till another one ran by in front of it and they turned away. I have someone who will go out to the location with me to try to take pictures.
2009
Jul 11
Shenandoah National Park, VA Observation John & Kathy H (hikers, nature lovers)
August 1990: sunny, clear early evening, SNP, heading north about 5 miles prior to Dickey Ridge. Sleek, dark tan cougar ran out of the woods, across the Skyline Drive, and bounded over the rock wall. 100-150 yards in front of our car.  My wife distinctly remembers the date because it was 4 weeks before our daughter was born.
2009
Jun 30
Clarke Co / Frederick Co, VA Observation Michele C (commuter, animal lover)
3:30-3:35 AM on way to work, Rte. 17 near Sky Meadows Park, on left, eating in grass near side of the road --- about 2 feet from my open car window, saw head & front, not back of 100# - 120# cat, one color --- it looked up right at me --- BEAUTIFUL! --- definitely a mountain lion.
2009
Jun 18
& Aug 5
Jefferson Co, TN Reports Debora S (property owner)
1. A couple of years ago, my neighbor Ed saw one run onto my property; this evening my husband Les saw one nearby while driving home to our very rural remote mountainous property (just off the Shropshire Hollow which adjoins the Muddy Hollow; also near Cocke & Sevier counties). I hope you can tell me more about these apparently secretive and indigenous animals.
2. Another neighbor Mrs. S, recently (August 2009) saw one. We'll try to get casts of tracks if possible. 
2009
Jun 11
Crozet, VA Reports Marjo vD (observer)
1. About 2 years ago, my friend and I are looking at land next to Mint Spring Park in Crozet. It was an overgrown brushy field. At one point, my friend says: "Look." I turn around and see that we are "stalked" by a cougar which disappeared in the woods. It was one big cat with a long tail, sort of the color of deer in the summer.
2. Another time, I saw a cougar crossing Buck Rd., Crozet. Fast and large, definitely not a fox or deer.
3. August 2008, Buck Road. Backing up my car, a cougar is standing perfectly still a few yards away looking at me before calmly walking away towards the woods. There was no possible mistake; this was a cougar. A BIG cat, gorgeous coat, long tail. Ever since this sighting, I have my camera in my lap when I am on Buck Rd, but no luck so far.
2009
Jun 6
Capon Bridge, WV Sighting Donnie W (hunt club member), reported by wife Kimberly W
Donnie was in his truck driving slowly up the dirt road to the land owned by his hunting group on the capon River. He spotted an animal lying near some rocks and ferns. He stopped and looked and realized it was a mountain lion. He watched it through binoculars for appx. 5 minutes. It was aware of him but didn't seem to be too concerned. After a few minutes, it quietly got up and moved off into the woods, disappearing quickly. It was around 6 feet long with a long thick tail with dark fur at the end. One of the other members of this hunting club had seen 2 mountain lion cubs a year or two earlier, in this same area of the woods.
2009
Jun 1
Chesapeake, VA Observation Dawn P & daughter Isabella (nature lovers)
As I was driving my daughter to school at about 7:45 AM, I looked to my right and saw a cougar walking slowly across an alfalfa field which had been mown a few days ago; my daughter looked and recognized it right away as a cougar. I wanted to pull over for a photo, but there is no shoulder, just a ditch. I will try to get prints as the ground may be soft enough. I would have thought I was crazy without the sighting about 2 miles from here reported on your web site. 
2009
May 22
Frederick Co, VA Observation Donna Y (rural property owner, nature lover)
May 22nd 2009, dusk; outside the old family farm house she recently inherited and is process of renovating: heard blood curdling big cat scream less than 1/8 mile from house; Uncle had talked about the mountain lions when she was a child, but she didn't know that there were any still around. Next day, found tracks around the pond that appear to be cougar; will set up game camera and will take photos & make casts of any future tracks. Has also found tree scratches possibly made by cougar. Researched wild cats and determined that the sound, tracks, and scratch marks fit cougar. Talking with owner of a local small store, she was told that they had heard the cat's mating cries on May 31st. Will provide follow up of future observations.
2009
May 14

Isle of Wight, VA

superimposed photo

Game Cam Photo by Charlie W; Comment by CQ-VA; Photo by VDGIF
A "cougar" photographed by a game camera was reported in print and web site by The Daily Press, Newport News, VA as provided to CQ-VA by one of our observers in that area. The size relevant to the foliage, the ears, and the lack of a curl on the end of a long tail was suspect to CQ-VA; as was the fact that cougars are very aware of everything in their environment and extremely difficult to "capture" on laser cameras. VDGIF investigated the report and used the same camera focused on the same spot to photograph a dog, a deer, & a kneeling biologist; they superimposed each on the "cougar" photo and came to the conclusion that this is either a large domestic cat (like our 30# blond cat who definitely will not walk across the laser beam of our game camera) or a bobcat (which Ben Shrader of ECF has determined to be very leery of game cameras, especially at night when the original "cougar" photo was taken). Many thanks to Rick Reynolds for sending us VDGIF's research results and many thanks to Charlie for cooperating with their investigation! [Please note: we are not saying that there are NO cougars in the area; just that this picture is not a cougar.] 
2009
Mar / Apr
Rockingham Co, VA Overheard by Nathan McD
Sheriff's deputy mentioned someone calling to report seeing a cougar on Massanutten Mountain. He dismissed it as crazy.
2009
Mar 26
Ararat, VA Observation JS (hunter, nature lover)
2:00 PM; 50-100 yards from moving vehicle; live tawny brown animal crossing road; approx. 23"-25" high at shoulder, 4'-5' body length, 3' tail; top of head & along the back & top of tail had black-tipped fur. 
2009
Mar 26
Report Date

2009
Apr 16 Follow up
Southampton Co., VA Observations reported by Peggy G
- Late March 2009, c. 11:00 PM, leaving brother's farm with sister, house set back in woods: In the trees to my left, came a very agitated cat snarl. We jumped into my sister's van and heard an even louder growl/snarl that gave us the cold chills! I do not walk from dusk to dawn anymore around the paths on our farm. 
- 1st week Jan. 2009: a local man was driving his truck on a back road, within 2 miles of other sightings, during a deer hunt when a deer ran across the road in front of his truck and chasing it close behind was a cougar.
- 2008, early summer, 9:00 AM: local woman saw a mountain lion bound across the road and said that it looked just like the ones she has seen pictures of.
- 02/2008: my 2 sisters saw a cougar jump in front of their car after visiting me; it landed in the middle of the road in one jump, and disappeared into the woods with a second jump. Jean reported that it was a very large, muscular animal with strong looking legs and a long tail; definitely of the cat family, and much larger than a bob cat.
- 2008, early morning: my sister-in-law had her "cat sighting" on the way to work. The animal landed with one leap in the middle of the road and jumped from there out of sight in the woods. She particularly noted the cat ears on its large head and the very long tail.
- 2008, 9:00 AM: a neighbor had a cougar run across the road in front of her car. 
2009
Mar 18
Warren, VA Observation KH (property owner)
12:30 AM off my back patio, I saw a large light colored cat. It was the size of a large lab retriever. I am in Warren County just 1/8th of a mile from the Shenandoah. I did not see a tail to see if it was a bobcat; the prints look like a bobcat but very much bigger.
2009
Mar 2
Report Date
Fredericksburg, VA Observation Tim P
About 5 years ago while traveling with my family through Fredericksburg on a 2 lane road, I saw a big muscular cougar about 150 feet ahead on the road. There is no doubt about what I saw and it was not a little cat either; it was a very muscular cat with a nice big muscular face. All four of my family members saw it and we all agreed with what we saw. The big cats are out there for sure!
2009
Feb 28
Report Date
New River, WV Observation Gary W (retired Federal Police Officer, seasonal employee with NPS) [sighting date not provided]
I saw a cougar in the National Park along The New River. WV DNR and the National Park Service denied the sighting, but I was adamant! They said it must have been a lion that was raised as a pet and then released. I tried to find the late 60s / early 70s Washington Post article about Dept. of Interior releasing mountain lions imported from out West, but was unable to find a copy. 
2009
Feb 13
Frederick Co, VA
Observation & Animal Tracks Philip H (rural property owner, hunter, nature lover, park ranger, environmentalist)
- 02/13/2009: Photos & casts of probable cougar tracks; front and rear feet; front foot c. 4" wide x 4+" long; rear foot is slightly smaller. 
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Our expert tracker has confirmed these tracks as "large feline, probable cougar". We are indebted to Phil for allowing us to re-cast his casts!]: At about 5:00 PM, I was walking around my house checking for wind damage when I noticed large animal tracks in an empty flower bed in front of my front porch. I immediately went in the house and got a tape measure and camera. I took 4 pictures of the best track. I had to go out that evening so it was about 10:00 PM when I made the castings from plaster of paris. I have since gone onto another web site which showed cougar tracks and am certain that these are cougar tracks. I have seen this type of track one other time in a small patch of snow sometime during the winter of 1995.
- 2000, Fall, c. 7:30 PM: I had just finished feeding the fish in my pond and was walking back around the pond when I heard a thud like an animal jumping from a tree. I looked towards the sound and saw a large animal running away from me at about 20-25 feet. Its rear quarters were approx. 24" tall and its tail was at least 36" long. Its color was a mix of light beige and dark brown. It  was running, but not like a real scared cat. The hair on its tail was matted like it was wet and the tail was 5-6 inches wide.
2009
Feb 2
Smyth Co, VA Observation Jeff A and father
Feb. 3, 2008: My father and I were outside talking at dusk and I saw something trot across the road about 60 yards above us. My father asked me if it was a dog and I said "No, look at the tail dragging the ground behind it". I grabbed a light so I could get a better view and it stopped and looked back at us and paid us no more attention; it walked away and disappeared into the woods. It looked like a black panther! When I called DGIF, they said it was a black lab until I asked "Since when does a lab's tail drag the ground", and the phone when dead - they hung up on me.
2009
Jan 25
Report Date
Cumberland Co, VA Observations reported by Martin L (avid outdoorsman & reader on animals and history)
- My mother saw a cat the size of a large dog cross the road in front of her. She noticed it had a long tail and was dark brown or dark gray color; she described the color as "muddy". [within last 3 years]
- I saw a similar cat about 100' from our house. It stood about 2'-2.5' tall at the shoulder, had a length (nose to rump) of approx. 5', and a tail (that swooped almost to the ground and then curled back up at the tip) with a length of about 3'. This cat had a huge head (about the size of a Labrador Retriever's except more round and cat-like) and a dark, muddled color. [within last 3 years].
- 01/24/2009, I found a scat pile in my front yard that was a U-shaped scratching mark with a pile of dirt and moss in the center of the U. Inside this pile of dirt was a small pile of feces that were much smellier than a domestic cat. I saved a sample of the feces in case someone wants to test for DNA; I am almost sure that I have found the feces of a cougar.
2009
Jan 2
Winchester, VA Observation - Animal Tracks Steve K (hunter) + wife & children
Noon, sunny day, walking in rural woodland area; fresh & plainly visible tracks observed in mud; <1 hour old; estimate 4" wide x 4" long with sinking depth of 1". Very clear impressions of a feline track, looks too big to be a bobcat. No claw marks in any of the tracks; long stride about 24"; walking with consistent track distances. The tracks followed deer tracks. 
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Steve said that he had a photo of the tracks, but has not yet sent a copy for confirmation.]
2008
Dec 5
Report Date
Berkshires, MA Observations reported by Chuk P
11/09/2008, my wife Sarah & I saw a cougar go under a guardrail, North Adams MA, Rte. 8 N. It squeezed under the guard rail (there was less than 12" clearance) and disappeared into the swamp area; we had a full view of the muscular body and long tail, around 100' in front of the car.
Other observations:
- 2006: Michael H of Alford MA saw one cross the road in front of his car in broad daylight; he jumped out and ran toward it; it walked slowly away without acknowledging him.
- About 13 years ago, I saw an adolescent, not fully grown, that still had its spots as it crossed the road in front of my car in Becket MA running full speed.
- 1999: Sarah walked by one on Schultz Rd, Washington MA.
- 1990s: Hanna K saw one on Rte. 66 Huntington MA as it ran across the road in front of the car she was in and saw it jump and extend it's body with it's huge tail.
- My father Charles saw one in the '80s while he was on the turnpike in Becket MA; it was eating on the side of the road in broad daylight.
- Ed W of Otis MA saw two in the mid 1980s.
- Bob R of Florence MA saw one in the Eastern Berkshires cross the road in front of him and jump up a ledge [no date provided].
2008
Nov 22
Great Dismal Swamp, Suffolk, VA Observation Gail B (property owner, nature lover, environmentalist, some tracking training)
11:30 PM, dark clear night, approx. 1 min. sighting from stationary car, 10-25 yards away, leaves on ground so no tracks found when checked the next day. My house is set in the woods between a very large area of undeveloped woodland and a marsh about 10 miles west of the Great Dismal Swamp. I returned home and saw movement in the shadows; I watched the moving forms as they neared my neighbor's garage lights; a deer was being pursued by a large low cat shaped animal about 24-30 inches tall at the shoulders and about 4-5 feet body length; the tail length was unclear as he was backlit, but I noted the size! and movement! of the very stealthy feline predator.  The animal chased the deer around the yard twice and disappeared into the woods by the marsh.  In the light of the garage, I very clearly saw the shape of the two animals.
2008
Oct 13
Wintergreen, VA Observation Stephanie P (hunter, nature lover)
8:10 PM, Walking on edge of road as we were driving down the mountain from the ski resort, 5-10 yards in front of car's headlights, toward the guard rail was a cat as tall as the guardrail, lanky, about 70 lbs, color of a deer, with a long tail that dipped almost to the ground and curled up. I mainly saw the back side so know exactly what the tail looked like. People can't take away from me what is burned in my memory. This is unbelievable! 
2008
Aug 17
Frogtown, VA Observation Robert R-B + wife & 2 adult friends
Juvenile Cougar: Blue Ridge Mountain Rd, 3 miles S of Rte. 7, just N of Frogtown, N of Sky Meadows State Park, cougar went into Dept of Homeland Security area; 12:00 Noon, sunny, 10-25 yards, in car; 2 feet at shoulder, 4 feet body length plus >18 inch tail, medium reddish brown. As we arrived, the cougar was standing just to our left, then trotted into the woods and crawled under the barbed wire fence that separates the road from the large Dept. of Homeland Security facility. The last thing any of us expected to see was a cougar, but we all independently, simultaneously yelled- "mountain lion!".
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Follow up e-mails determined that this was not a bobcat, Robert et al being very familiar with bobcats - tail re-defined as about 1/2 body length. Further, it was noted that 2 DHS video cameras were in the area - if anyone at the DHS facility knows about this cougar, we would appreciate hearing from you!]
2008
Aug 3
Report Date

2005
Mar 28 Observed
Rockingham Co. VA Observation Robert M (hunter, property owner)
12:15 AM, in stationary vehicle, clear night, coming home from 3-11 shift work, observed 3-5 min., 25-50 yds - a large object pounced past the headlights of my truck, ran up a slight hill between two homes on Cory Drive and stopped, turned its head, light reflected off it's eyes. It was the biggest cat I ever saw! It was as big as a large German Shepherd and its tail was very large. It turned broadside, sat down, and wrapped its tail around its side. I watched the cougar for about 2-3 more minutes, drove to my house, and notified the sheriff of the sighting.
2008
Jul 30 & 31
University of Maryland Washington Post 08/01/2008 news article, pB02; TV news stations
One report 07/30 night; Several Eye Witness Reports 07/31 from 6:00 AM to late afternoon
Light tan / tawny brown; about 4 feet long, 4 foot tail, 50 lbs; investigated by MD Dept of Natural Resources and University Dept of Public Safety. No follow up report re. capture or more sightings.
2008
Jul 29
Leesburg, VA Observation Gina L (property owner)
3:20 AM for 5 min from front porch; dark, light rain; My dog woke me to go outside; I turned on the front porch lights and heard a very loud hissing / snarling sound that was very unique coming from the pine trees about 75-100 feet from the porch. I could find no evidence the next morning, but my lab/basset was very interested in the smells. I check the internet to try to determine what made the sound; the closest was a cougar. Unfortunately, I only heard the animal; I did not see anything. 
2008
Jul 27
(discussion)

2000 Summer (experience)

Shenandoah National Park, VA Experience John S
  Hiking conversation, while observing a bear with two cubs: JS & daughter met couple who said "you don't want to be out here in the early morning because that's when the cougars are stalking around"; discussion about official statements that reports of cougars in SNP are still "unsubstantiated".
  JS personal experience: Summer 2000, 9-10 AM, hiking in Whiteoak Canyon just below Skyline Drive, almost same location as 2006 report from 2 brothers (see below): fog / mist, hard to see; heard eerie scream from large feline, then heard a growl; thought might be a bobcat, but sounded like larger animal; growls/screams kept repeating; felt threatened & vulnerable; picked up rocks & threw towards the sound; never saw anything, but most certainly felt that I was having a standoff with a mountain lion that was not happy with my presence. When I told my experience to one of the park rangers, he got very excited as if he felt validated, once again, that mountain lions are, in fact, IN the park and surrounding areas.
2008
Jul 20
Great Dismal Swamp, Chesapeake, VA Observation (phone) Michael F (farmer / rancher; gov't engineering supervisor) - wife (biology teacher) also saw but not as clearly
10:30-11:00 AM timeframe, clear day, dark brown cat with long tail curving up on the end ran across the road in front of my truck; it was coming out of the swamp into our farm fields which are located next to nature conservancy property; neighbor lost couple of calves 2-4 weeks before - don't know what killed them.
2008
Jul 15

Scott Co., VA

Observation Jonathan D [also see Feb 11, 2008 report]
Possible cougar tracks (approx. 3" long) taken with cell phone at closed & locked shale mine where JD inspecting vegetation & drainage; photo taken in drainage ditch to sedimentation basin; prints in clay; area: very rugged, sandstone outcrop cliff formation; grasses 18-24" tall.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Our track expert sent the following comments: "These are the front track (left) and rear track (right) of (most likely) a canine. The shape of the tracks are similar to a feline, because they have a round shape rather than oval, and can easily fool even an experienced tracker. Because of the soft clay, a feline could extend its claws for traction and produce such a track. If the rear track were directly in the front track, I would be more inclined to think it feline. Pictures of the track pattern would be helpful. While I believe these are canine, it is not with absolute certainty."]
2008
Jul 12
(report)

1994 mid-July (observed)

Shenandoah National Park, VA Observation Helen K & 4 children (ages 2-8)
1-2 miles S of Loft Mountain information center on Skyline Drive in SNP; 11:00 AM; clear sunny day; observation < 1 min. at 5-10 yards while in vehicle; saw large tan animal loping down the open mowed area on the east side moving toward the road; slowed to a stop; thought might be a camper's dog. The animal crossed the road at a moderate pace approx. 15' in front of my stopped vehicle & I recognized that it was a cat. The cat's back was approx. the height of my sedan's hood (30"); the color was a golden brown; the coat was solid in color & the hair was short; the features of the head & face were feline; the tail was quite long (c. 36"), but shorter than the body length (c. 50"); the feet were large heavy paws. The cat sauntered across the road and only began running as it entered the woods on the west side; it did not approach the car or look in our direction. We continued to the visitors center and reported the sighting to a park ranger who assured us that it was a bobcat and showed us a bobcat display; the size, color, proportions, & features of the sighted and illustrated animals were entirely different. I could believe that this animal had been domesticated and released, as the cat appeared to have no fear of being in the open or near our vehicle. It is hard for me to imagine that there were no other reported sightings of this particular animal due to its proximity to a campground & high traffic visitors center.
2008
Jun 8
Frederick Co., VA Observation Andrea R
Construction site Brookland Lane area; brief observation while walking with two dogs on sunny day; about 50-100 yards away; approx. size: height 2.5' at shoulder, 3.5' body length, 2' tail; dark color. I thought at first that it could have been a large dog, but it moved like a cat. It was about the size of a golden retriever and had a long tail that moved like a cat's tail, not like a dog's tail wagging. It walked slowly & completely ignored my two dogs barking at it. It walked into the woods and I heard a dog on the other side barking at it.
2008
May 28
Berkeley Springs, WV Observation Judy S
8:30 AM, I saw what I believe to be a panther about 200' away from the window, crossing the top of the yard at the summit of Spriggs Rd, S of Berkeley Springs WV, walking downhill towards the SE, and entering a semi-wooded area towards an apparently abandoned house on the next property. Because we lived in Kenya (foreign service), we are familiar with "big cats". In my opinion, this was definitely a mountain lion / panther. The most striking features were its very long tail, its rounded, cat-like head, and its steady, determined cat-like walk (like lions in the wilds of Kenya). The color appeared to be brownish-gray. I estimate the length of the body as between 3-4 feet; its tail was very long - about 3' - and carried slightly above the body in a relaxed manner. We searched for tracks &/or spoor, but found none. 
2008
May 26
E. of Cumberland, MD Cougar Road Kill J.C.
6:30 PM rain just started; traveling E. on Rte 68 near State Park on motor cycle; slowed down considerably; saw dead animal about 5' back from the shoulder on the S. side of the road - observed large, long "cat" with 3' tail; did not stop & did not have camera; told friend who had contacted you before on 05/27/2008 and we called in the report. If anyone knows more about this roadkill, please contact CQ-VA.
2008
May 1
Akron, OH Observation Kim N & wife
My wife saw what she thinks was a cougar with a smaller animal in its mouth; it went under a fence but did not drag its head or the kill on the bottom of the fence. I went to the site and found 2 hairs where it went under a fence; the hairs are coarse, short (2") with tiny close together waves until almost the tip. Can you tell me where I can get a hair picture?
2008
Apr 5
Winchester, VA Observation Becca L
Mountain Lion dead (I think) on the side of the road just past the Apple Pie Ridge elementary school; paws bigger than my hand; didn't stop or slow down for fear; reported to sheriff.
2008
Apr 2 (report)

2004 June
(observed)

Wise County, VA Observation Gary & Cheryl J
Appalachian Mountains. We spotted a young mountain lion standing on the side of the road at the edge of the woods. It stood there and looked at us for several minutes before it calmly walked into the woods. I couldn't believe what I just saw; my wife is from southern California & has seen this animal before. No, it was not a bobcat - too large & had a long tail. We could see this cat clearly. We mentioned it to neighbors & one said he had it regularly raid his dog/cat food left out on his back porch at night (his home backs up to the woods). We have to laugh when we hear someone say there are no mountain lions this far north (supposedly only found in Florida)! They are here among us and probably have been all along.
2008
Feb. 26
Parkersburg, WV

Phone Query Pat [no last name]
2nd hand report of cougar allegedly hit by car between Parkersburg and Grantsville WV, euthanized by game officials on Monday Feb. 25, 2008 was questioned by caller. CQ-VA contacted John Lutz of EPRN (WV) for input / follow up. Turns out that this cougar, killed in Arizona in 1999, has been making the e-mail hoax circuit in VA, WV, PA, ME, & possibly other states. The e-mail (4 forwards with no original dates) that had been sent to John with this and another photo claimed the cougar was hit by a car between Grantsville & Walker WV and "charged the Fish and Game guy" when he went to "put him down". Moral: Check your facts before you forward a cougar kill allegation hoax-mail. Thanks, Pat, for putting us onto this one! And, thanks, John, for the facts!
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Oren L followed up with a phone call on 03/04/2008 (see his observation "Fall 1985") to say that a radio talk show host out of Wheeling WV claimed that the Grantsville 'roadkill cougar' weighed in at around 350# (!!!) - a bear maybe, but not a cougar - and added to the general hype & hysteria. Oren asked if we were debunking all cougar sightings in the Parkersburg / Grantsville area, and we hastened to tell him no - that this article is only about this particular hoax e-mail with the warning not to believe unsubstantiated "facts" propagated by individuals or the media.]
2008
Feb. 11
(report date)
Coeburn, VA Observation Jonathan D & wife
I live in Southwest Virginia. I grew up in Wise County. I now live in Abingdon. I just wanted to tell someone else about what my wife and I saw one evening near Coeburn, VA. This has been a pretty long time ago, probably 7 years ago. We were driving home around 7pm one evening in early August. We turned off the main highway onto a secondary road to take the scenic route. Not very remote, just off the four lane highway. As we came around a curve, a large cat (Mountain Lion) crossed the road in front of us. It leaped once to the center and once to the other side. I can still see it a vividly now as we did then. It was a fawn color, probably 4 feet long from nose to rump and had a long tail, about 2 feet. It had long smooth short hair.  Not shaggy like a dog or for or coyote. I immediately pulled over to the side of the road where the cat entered the woods. It was out of sight. I have a friend that swore he saw one in the High Knob area while deer hunting there years before. I never did quite really believe him until that evening. I found out later, that a man just up the hill from where we saw the cat, raised chickens and had been losing some but didn't know to what. To the left of the road was a steep bank that goes down to the Guest River. It is a small river and I would normally call it a creek. Beyond that was private farmland that backed into the national forest. I have been an avid hunter for years, 25 or so. I have only seen one bobcat that whole career. So, I believe there are definitely mountain lions around. I don't understand why the state doesn't support this.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: We know that at least some of the VDGIF officials are aware that at least some of the cougar reports are valid. However, physical, scientifically re-confirmable proofs are needed to determine whether there is a native "wild" population or whether released / escaped "captive" cougars are responsible for these sightings. Our observers' stories help us map "possible" and "probable" sightings for future tracking expeditions and for current camera trap attempts (one is now in it's 2nd year - sponsored by the Federal Government and supported by the State agency; 2 others that we know about are sponsored by another cougar organization and a wildlife group). Only with photos, videos, & track casts (of adult and young cougars), or scat and carcass parts (for DNA testing) can we prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Virginia has one or more "wild" cougar populations, thus allowing the VDGIF to justify the budgetary allotment required for tracking these elusive animals. All assistance with this citizen science project is greatly appreciated!] 
2008
Feb. 4
Leesburg, VA Observation Matt McC
6:15 PM; Sycamore Dr / Potomac Station Dr.; tan; tail same diameter base to tip (2'-3') = 3/4+ body length of 3'-4', had white tip on end, was held at 45 degree downward angle to body with last foot curved up; staking something in brush, moving like a cat; jumped across the ditch. Stopped vehicle; shone lights on the animal; got out to take pix with cell phone; animal ran off.
2008
Jan. 4
(report date)
Surrey County, VA Observations Earl T
1. Thought that you folks would like to know that a cougar has been spotted in Surrey County, VA. A fair number of folks have seen the cat (including my wife and I). Hopefully no one shoots him.
2. There is no doubt that this is a mountain lion. The game warden has met with the local hunt clubs about him (or her). Month's ago he walked right in front of my wife's car as she drove down our driveway; he did not seem to care about her at all. When I saw him about 1 or 1 1/2 months ago, he was walking across the state road like he owned it. Then about 2-3 weeks ago we both saw him running across the state road in front of us - spooked by a bunch of hunters and hunting dogs. He appeared smaller to both of us in this sighting which means there could be two, though it was likely his speed that made him appear smaller.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: CQ-VA discussions with local game officials validated this report, while cautioning that the animal in question may not be "wild", but a captive that sometimes gets loose and has been periodically reported for several years. We hope to provide follow up in the future.] 
Fall - Every Year Kerneysville, WV Observation Christopher J
For many years have observed cougars in the fall, usually in the evening toward dusk, on Opequon Creek in Kerneysville WV area. <5 years away; wooded area. From: vehicle, on top of our tent, from Grandma's porch. Cougar activity: standing broadside, walking / running broadside, waling / running face on. Light brown color 
2007
Dec. 31
Middletown, VA Observation Linda & Floyd (Sr.) H
New Year's Eve traveling from Stephens City to Middletown to visit son and family; turned left from Middle Rd. onto Minebank; headlights caught large (shoulder height c. 2'; body length c. 3'; tail length 2'-3') tawny colored mountain lion on right side of road walking slowly broadside before turning slightly and entering wooded area. Stopped vehicle, backed up swinging headlights onto the mountain lion until it disappeared into the woods; it was not in a hurry or bothered by traffic. Our observation was pretty remarkable, made even moreso when a common house cat crossed the road at the next turn. Floyd Sr. made the comment that it was probably searching (and finding) Christmas leftovers being thrown out.
2007
Nov. 23
Page County, VA Observation Cory M
On the morning of November 23, I'm certain I saw a cougar. My family has a cabin in Luray, VA in Ida Hollow, which borders the Shenandoah National Park. I was walking up the ridge where my hunting stand was located, still being somewhat dark around 6:45 AM, when I startled something upon reaching the top. I assumed it was a deer as I often jump them up in this spot but, the animal seemed to only run about 20 yards down the other side and then slowing down to a walk which seemed odd to me, as all the deer usually run off in the distance. After coming to the top of this ridge I still had to walk about 30 yards up it to reach my stand and while doing so I could hear the animal walking down below almost parallel with me. I got up into my stand and didn't hear anything for ten to fifteen minutes. Being light by now I heard some commotion in the thick laurel above me moving closer and closer to my shooting lane. The cougar ran a cross the lane 40 yards from my stand, moving up the ridge. I did not get to look at the animal head on, but it seemed to be as large as a yearling deer, and I could clearly see a slender tail sticking somewhat straight up in the air and being about a foot and half in length. I also could see the animal was tan and slightly lighter in color than a whitetail.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: From the tail description, this was probably a bobcat, not a cougar.]
2007
Oct. 21
I-81 near Buchanan, VA Carcass (Road Kill) Sharon C (& college age son)
I-81 near Buchannan in rural area, approx. 9 AM, sunny; in moving vehicle <5 yards from carcass; body length 3', tail > 2'; animal lying on its side; color tawny brown, white cream mouth with dark outline surrounding it. The cougar had been killed by a car(?) very recently on I-81 near Buchanan close to the Blue Ridge Parkway exit in Virginia. I was taking my son back to college in Wise VA. It was completely intact when we saw it by the roadside. Very young cat; I don't believe it was fully grown. Due to where the animal was killed, it must have been seen by many people unless they simply weren't paying attention. You simply couldn't miss either seeing the cat (it was large), what it was, or it's beauty. It was right on the shoulder of the road - you couldn't help but see it, nor could you mistake exactly what it was. It was a beautiful animal. 
2007
Oct. 20
Boyce, VA Observation Melissa Y
Wild Cat Hollow Rd off Rte. 50, back side of Paris Mountain, 1 1/2 miles west of Sky Meadows; 8:30 AM. Description: 3' long, 3' high, 3' tail with crook in it; total shiny black coat, no other color; ears close to head, not pronounced. Deep in woods on a fire trail, heard long before saw, large black cat made quick, tight 360 degree turn on rock by the back of a pool approx. 25' away from me. Full extension as jumped off rock. 3 strides, sounding as heavy as a human's, took it 100 yards down the hillside into a meadow. "I was excited, not fearful, to see this elegant healthy full-grown cat!"
2007
Oct. 2
(report date)
King George Co., VA Observation Craig H
This is to let you know that I feel that we have confirming evidence of a large cat being back in King George County Virginia. For the past two weeks we have seen the raccoons, foxes, deer, birds and badgers vanish from our property. This morning we found two different spool or scat piles around two to three feet in diameter from a large cat about 60 to 80 pounds. I know that years ago we used to have a small black panther that had lived in the area for over twenty years before passing away and we do back onto the northern most section of the Great Dismal Swamp where this cat probably came from. I have seen stool piles like this in Mississippi with panther tracks around them so I feel pretty certain of what I am looking at.
2007
Sept. 27
Purcellville, VA Observation Marn K
Cotoctin Creek, NE of Purcellville; about same size as 50# dog; blond color; slinking along the edge of the woods; tail definitely too long for bobcat trailing along ground; 2 streams, lots of deer; 1 hour before sunrise.
2007
Sept. 23
McLean, VA Observation Eric V
Time: 4:30 PM, sunny & clear, 80 degrees; 5-10 yards from vehicle. Observed large cat cross the road in front of my vehicle from right to left and disappear behind brush in front of a residence. Stopped vehicle after crossing the animals path, but did not exit my vehicle and was unable to see animal. Animal was approx. 24"-30" tall. tan color with no discernible markings. Would compare overall size with a large German Shepherd or Doberman. Slender build with tail slightly longer than body. Tail was carried horizontal with the animals back during observation, curling slightly upward at the tip. As animal was first observed, was walking briskly, maybe a 'trot' would best describe it, then seemed to bound or leap into the brush; may have become aware of my presence. This was a cat for sure; specifically what type of cat I can not say, but bears strong resemblance to pictures of "mountain lions" that I recently looked at on the internet. Notes: This is a heavily developed area, only a few miles from Washington, but the area of sighting is near wooded areas including Pimmit Bend Park (Pimmit Run) and not very far from the Potomac River. We also have a deer overpopulation problem here. 
2007
Sept. 15
Sheldon, CT Report Jeff W
Puma sighted by two people in woods near Sheldon; slight rain, no clear tracks.
2007
Sept. 7
Chesapeake, VA Observation Eric K & family (3) + friends (4)
Close to Dismal Swamp on Bunch Walnuts Rd., Chesapeake VA
Evening - 5 minutes each of 2 consecutive days; sunny; 50-100 yards from back deck of house; photos & video. We were helping some neighbors move in rural southern Chesapeake and took a break on their deck. Their oldest boy saw what appeared to be a deer (getting dark) in the back of their 3 acre lot. He went to get his binoculars and soon discovered it was a cougar. Every one of the 2 family / 8 people saw it through the binoculars before it left. Myself and the other dad went back to the back of the property and with a spot light saw a baby cougar. This might explain why the mom stayed so close for so long, as it had a baby (thank goodness it did not decide to defend her baby). The next day the other dad saw the baby in the same spot and took a video and picture. The video and pic was sent to the VA DNR and it was confirmed as being a cougar. where the video and pic now is I do not know.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: CQ-VA has not yet obtained a copy of the photo or video. Rick Reynolds, VDGIF contact, was unable to track down who had received the evidence and who had confirmed that the animals were cougars. Hopefully, Eric will be able to get copies from his friend and share them with CQ-VA.]
2007
Sept. 1 (report)
High Meadows, VA Observation Robert P
June 9, 1979, 7:45 PM: On farm owned by parents, High Meadows Hunting & Fishing Club, Inc. Animal was stalking 180 lb. doe. When the doe ran off, the cat appeared out of 2-3' laurel and perched upon a small mound of granite rocks. It was 4' - 4 1/2' long with a tail of 2 1/2', general color was brown / tan with dark markings on its head and tail, hair was short. Many deep caves and plentiful deer in the area would have provided a good cougar habitat.
2007
Aug. 2
Frederick Co., VA Observation Polly D (former zookeeper, B.S. in Wildlife Biology)
08/02/2007 6:00 PM, Sunny, in stationery vehicle, habitat: rural roadside heading into a thick wooded area toward North Mountain. Approx. 28" shoulder height, at least 56" body length, tail length >28" (curled near ground); color: tawny grey. I discovered later that 2 of my neighbors had also see it, but didn't say anything because they didn't think anyone would believe them. Their description was consistent with what I witnessed.  We all saw it in the same location as well.
2007
July 29
Bentonville, VA Observation Ed B & 2 sons (ages 11 & 7) + 3 other children (ages 2 - 13)
1:00 PM, Bentonville, Whitney Land - on gravel road, in car, then got out for better look. Cougar was running down a path and into the woods; about same size as 75# Lab, but lower, longer, and more slender. No spots or ear tufts. Tail was not bushy; it was long (about the same length as the body or longer). Color was tannish brown / light brown. Face not seen clearly. Several streams, RR track, near Rte. 340.
-  Neighbor heard big cat growl on July 27 as she was getting out of her car.
-  Friend in Bentonville reported seeing a cougar 1 year ago in the western part of Shenandoah National Park.
2007
June 25
Martinsburg, WV Observation Charlow
I live off Needy Road in Martinsburg.... WV.  My cat went missing 2 weeks ago   Last week around 1130 pm I heard cooing like an infant / or cat meowing sounds... went out thinking my cat had returned ... the noises stopped. Then last night as I went to put my key in the front door while returning home from work at 430 am, I heard an actual cougar snarl, in the area behind my home. They have just dried up a run off spring and cleared land behind my house for 2 additional home lots. I live in a hilly area just after Salvation Road in Stonebridge.
2007
June 24
Loudoun County, VA Observation Christa B (Park Ranger, Hunter)
Road kill cougar carcass- Rte. 7 E Bypass Leesburg VA. Observed at 12 noon from moving vehicle & 5 PM from stationery vehicle; <5 yards; sunny weather. Tan body, black tipped ears and tail. Game warden contacted 6-7 PM.
 
I was traveling from Harper’s Ferry, WV to Springfield, VA via Rt9 to Rt7 through Leesburg, VA. On the Rt7 bypass, I came across a struck COUGAR, laying on the left side of the road, just past the bridge for Business Rt7. On my way home from Springfield, VA, I decided to make sure of what I’d seen. I turned around, and revisited the scene. It most certainly was a cougar. When I got home, I contacted the VA DNR, and they apparently went to investigate and take care of the carcass. It had not been reported to authorities. In the past 72 hours, coyotes have been spotted here in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, and Northern VA, and there certainly isn’t a shortage of white-tailed deer. Perhaps the cougar is returning to its land. Might I suggest a follow-up by your group in this matter? I just thought I’d inform you of this recent development. Thank you for your time and interest in protection and conservation.
  
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: This is a most interesting case. After various calls on June 29th, CQ-VA found that VDOT had received a call at 8:40 PM on 06/24/2007. The report read to us over the phone stated that the animal was picked up at unknown time by "Kinlaw", was described as "large dead cat", location "Rte 7 near Stockley Way, Leesburg, VA" (Stockley Way is actually Lane and this "location" is just south of where Christa saw the cougar on the Rte. 7 Bypass at the business route junction into Leesburg), case closed 1:10:54 PM 06/25/2007.  No other cat / cougar / mountain lion pick up logged for 06/24 according to Fred with whom I spoke and who checked files.
  Rick Reynolds, VDGIF, followed up on July 2nd and was told the animal was a "dead deer".
  Another interested cougar quester contacted VDOT on Dec. 11th after finding out about this roadkill during a phone conversation with CQ-VA - following is a summary: "I called VDOT about the roadkill report of June 24 and a woman named Tracy was very helpful, checked the computer for roadkills on that date at Route 7 and Stockley Lane, and said the only thing picked up that day was dead deer. Finaly she asked what the animal was that had been killed. I told her it was a "cougar" or mountain lion and she said, "Oh, that sounds very familiar, I remember that call," and she turned from the phone and said to others in the room, "Does anyone remember getting a call months ago about a mountain lion being killed on the road?" Nobody responded and she continued to insist to me that she remembered that call. I asked her to connect me with "Kinlaw," the name mentioned in your e-mail to Rick Reynolds as the guy who picked up the animal. She did, and Kinlaw said he knew nothing about a mountain lion, and said he didn't actually pick up dead animals but called a contractor who did that. I asked for the contractor's name and amazingly, he gave me his name--Ali Khan--and his phone number. So I called Ali Khan - he didn't remember picking up a mountain lion and I tend to believe him. He added that "sometimes VDOT picks up animals and doesn't call me." He promised to check his own records for that day and call me back if he found anything but I'm not optimistic. Ali Khan called me back and said his records for June 25 (nothing for June 24) show a deer was picked up at Rt. 7 and Stokely "Way"  that day. He also said he didn't pick it up, but the guys who work for him did so. How many layers are there in roadkill pickup?
2007
June 3
Woodbridge, VA Observations Angela DeH
Today, as has happened every spring for the last 5 1/2 years, my Black Lab and Pit Bull mix dogs were going crazy barking on the back deck. Behind the house, at the edge of the woods, the cougar sat staring between them - its stare was intent; it leaned forward with bent knees looking ready to pounce or run. The cougar usually stays around for 3 weeks, emitting its bloodcurdling, long scream with a growl at the end. Its a lion for sure: small perfectly round ears, very lite cream / tawny color, a gigantic head, about the size of a Rottweiler or Saint Bernard, approximately 34"-36" when sitting to the top of its head. Watching it walk, the tail is fat, long, and curves toward the ground; the tail goes down at least as far as its ankles with the tip curled in the grass. The first time I saw it, I was sitting in the woods near a run-off pond, which is now a year-round pond. My dogs were stalking birds when the cat got up from its hiding place and started to stalk them; I got up yelling and it ran off. I've seen tracks in shallow water, sand, mud, and in clear spots in the woods but haven't yet made any casts. Neabsco Creek, which flows into the pond, would be an easy access route - a cougar can walk along the shallow creek under all the roads that cross over it. Others in this area have also seen this cougar each year.
2007
May 19
Lambsburg, Carroll Co., VA

Observation Don G (outdoorsman)
  05/19/2007: Since my close encounter with a cougar in 2003 (see below), I have been trying to find positive proof of the existence of cougars in this area. I purchased a motion sensor camera but have been unsuccessful in getting a picture of a cougar. The track I found yesterday is the closest I've come to finding proof. I am reasonably certain that it is a cougar track. It is approx. 3 1/2" wide and 3" long. It followed a deer track which was not very distinct. I found it within yards of Stewart Creek within a quarter mile of my house; my road dead ends into Stewart Creek along the Wildlife Management Area. I found tracks which I believe to have been a cougar's in sand near Stewart Creek a couple of months ago but they were too indistinct to make a mold.
  07/23/2003: 11:35 PM, 5 min. observation from 200 yards to within 30' of the deck I was standing on; used hand-held "million candlepower" spotlight to observe the cougar. I have absolutely no doubt that it was an eastern cougar. It was similar in color to a deer and the long tail, head, and "stalking walk" were that of a cougar; it was not a bobcat as I am very familiar with bobcats. It may have been a young cougar, as it weighed about 80 pounds and was about 5' in length. The cat didn't seem to fear the light, but when I whistled for my dog, the cat ran back to the safety of some nearby brush beyond the scope of my spotlight. A second area resident, Emmanuel G, reported seeing a cougar near his residence several weeks prior. At least 2 other neighbors have sighted a cougar in this neighborhood since my sighting in 2003. All the old timers in this area have cougar tales of encounters over the years and many hunters have heard their screams or caught glimpses while hunting.
2007
Apr. 11
(report date)
Loudoun County, VA Observation Claire A
  I am writing you to inform you of 2 separate cougar sightings.  These sightings are not from me personally. I live in a community in Loudoun County (Leesburg, VA). We have a 511 home community. One of my neighbors last week stated they saw the "panthers" down near the creek at Old Mill Vet off of Lawson Road. Her being new to the area I didn't believe her. Her fiancée also witnessed these cats. However, another neighbor posted on our community web site (he does not know my next door neighbor), that he was walking his dog on the trails in the early AM on the 8th of April and saw a Cougar. Now I believe my neighbor. After doing some research, I found your web site. I can try and get the people who truly saw these beautiful cats to e-mail you. In the meantime I thought you might be interested to know.
  The game warden won't respond to our calls because they stated they get calls all the time. Until they have a confirmed sighting with a picture they won't respond. Would they be keeping these beautiful animals in the interest of the cougar or hurt them? 'Cause I would really like it if we get a confirmed sighting to be able to trust that this animal will be treated with respect. After all they were here 1st.
  (Further clarification: 2 cats sighted together near Goose Creek, next to the W&OD trail near Lawson Rd.; single cat sighted 3/4 mile from other sighting.)
2007
Mar. 25
(report date)
Crozet, VA Observation & Newspaper Report Randolph B
  I didn't know if you had heard about the cougar sighting in February 2007 in Crozet, VA (Albemarle County near Charlottesville). I just found out about your site, so I am emailing you the Newspaper copy herein.
  Before I add it to the end of this email, I just want you to know that I too saw a cougar about 1994/1995 between December and April near Crozet. My business partner lived in a rented house on the top of Bucks Elbow Mountain in western Albemarle County above Crozet. The road going up the mountain is dirt and zigzags for 4 miles to the top. After visiting the top, I was on my way down the 1-lane dirt road when a cougar went across the road 15 feet in front of my truck (I was going 10 miles an hour) and leapt up the embankment and went up the mountain into the woods (no leaves at this time of year...about 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. full sun). There was no mistaking what this was. The tail was as long as the big cats body which was much larger than a yellow lab. This cat leapt up that 15' embankment like it was nothing, stopped at the top and turned around and looked at me as I stopped the truck, and then went off into the woods. I got out and looked for tracks...then I went down the mountain and the next day I called the VA Fish & Wildlife folks. They were cool about the sighting and said they had had some recently in the area. Their Web site currently lists the Eastern Cougar as part of the fauna in Virginia.
  I am a very qualified observer as I have a Bachelors in Environmental Science and a Masters in Environmental Ed and have taught same at the college level. I am also an amateur wildlife photographer and a lifelong fisherman used to the outdoors and can identify all sorts of creatures by their sounds alone. I'm a fairly good tracker and scatologist too. At the time I was 45 years old. There have been many sightings near Crozet.

Crozet Cougar Seen Near Hilltop Street (Crozet Gazette-Feb 2007 Vol 1 No. 9 Pg 7)
  A large cougar was seen by Roger Rawlings in his yard on the north side of Hilltop Street in Crozet shortly before noon Saturday Jan. 20. Rawlings was cutting firewood near the rear of his lot, where it borders the eastern reaches of Barnes Lumber Company, and when he cut off his saw to move a branch he heard an unusual noise. He expected to find a cat when he turned around, he said, but was surprised and startled to see the cougar about 25 yards away. "It was pretty big. It wasn’t no small one," Rawlings said. "I got a good look at him." He estimated its length at five feet and described it as "tan with a white patch on its belly." Rawlings said the nearest the cougar came to him was about 15 yards. He is familiar with bobcats, he said, and the animal he saw was not a bobcat. Rawlings said the cougar "showed his teeth. He was staring right at me. I took off running as fast as I could." When he went back later to recover his saw he found no sign of the cougar. He said he believes they will attack.
 
His neighbor Sharon Hutchinson said she has heard what she believes is the cougar in the same area, the woods between Hilltop and the railroad tracks, on three different occasions. "I heard that awful wailing like a baby," she said. She said one night her son’s dog, Jake, which was tied in the yard, "was raising a fit" barking and when she went to investigate she saw "a pair of yellow eyes" staring at her through the dark. "I swear to God it was there," she said. "I’ll guarantee he was there that weekend" [when Rawlings saw it]. Hutchinson said she reported her encounter to Albemarle County police.
2007
Mar. 17
Madison County, VA Observation Tammy T (Park Ranger)
9:30 PM, 5-10 yards, from moving vehicle; habitat: rural roadside, farmland, woodland My daughter and I were driving home from visiting with her grandfather in Madison County Virginia - on Rte. 658 heading toward Rte. 657. Before I came up to the three way stop sign at Ruth & Thrift, I saw this rather large cat crossing the road into the woods. This was a very large cat compared to domestic cats around here. It's color was a light tannish brown, the walk was different (head kind of down), it's size was large (but I do not think it was a full grown adult cat), it's ears were slightly rounded and it had a rather long tail. Nothing like a domestic cat. I was so excited that I called my mother immediately to tell her that I had seen some sort of wild cat but couldn't think of what it was called. I knew it wasn't a domestic cat or bobcat because the characteristics were not the same. My mother said that it sounded like a mountain lion - so I looked it up on the Internet and there it was. I keep telling myself, I hope my eyes were not playing tricks on me ... but I know what I saw was not a domestic cat or bobcat and looks VERY similar to a mountain lion. I keep looking at different pictures of mountain lions on the Internet because I did not want to report something unless I am absolutely sure and this is something I am sure about.
2007
Mar. 10
(report date)
King George, VA Observation Justin K
I strongly believe I saw a Cougar on my family's farm in King George, VA back in November '06 at approximately 5:30 am on opening day of deer season.  I was pulling into the farm when I spotted several deer that all seemed spooked and I didn't think it was because of me.  I proceeded to park my truck and gather my gear so I could go get on my stand.  On the walk down to the pasture I shined my powerful flashlight over at an old barn because I detected movement and eye reflection.  There was a huge cat approximately 4' in length with a tail that seemed at least 6' long. The strong light caused the cat to become disoriented for a second and it couldn't find an exit and ran towards me, broke towards the right, and then in the opposite direction.  At this point I was a little spooked myself.  I continued to walk through the pasture and heard noises that sounded like a metallic purr off to my left. I shined my light in the direction and saw a set of eyeballs that were about 2 feet off the ground.  Those eyeballs continued to follow me until I got on my stand.  I never saw or heard the cat once the sun came up.  I'm about 80% sure that what I saw was a cougar but I never reported it until now....  I was tempted to shoot it, but I never really felt threatened.  After reading and learning from your web site, I'm surely glad that I didn't shoot such an amazing and beautiful animal (if it was in fact a cougar)...
2007
Mar. 8
(report date)
Kingsport, TN Observation Angela W
I live in Kingsport, TN where my husband and I have both seen a panther/cougar, whatever you wish to call it, outside of our home. We live at the bottom of Bays Mtn. and there is a huge field to the right of us where deer constantly graze. Both times that we have seen this animal (it has been very close with a very short amount of space between us), it has been in the late fall (2005 & 2006) around 10 to 11 pm. It was a very magnificent looking animal and a very scary sight at the same time. Escaped pet/ wild/ whatever ...we did see this animal and are very aware/positive of what we have seen (we do know the difference between bobcats/dogs/wolves/coyotes etc.). The panther/cougar that we saw would have to be considered as full grown and possibly male because it was very large. It appeared to be solid black but it was night time. It's tail was almost as long as it's body length and it knew I had seen it because it looked at me and opened it's mouth - I saw it's teeth, but heard no sound. I was fascinated at seeing it but still had enough sense to be scared to death. My husband is a very no-nonsense type of man and he came inside very shaken up the night he saw it out. Whatever category it falls under, it was a very large cat...much, much larger than a bobcat and most definitely a full grown cat. It's existence has changed our patterns of walking when it is cool late at night in the summer. We are not sure if it is around here during those months but I have no desire to find out!
2007
Mar. 6
Northern NJ Report Jeff W
2 pumas sighted on land trust 35 miles from NY border, near Adirondacks in northwest NJ
2007
Mar. 1
(track print for comparison)

Western Cougar Prints

Photo of Cougar Track in Snow, Jeremy V (Cougar Quest Volunteer reporting from Oregon) I'm at my dad's in Portland. We've been going out to hot springs over the weekends. On one hike I saw a bunch of cougar tracks in the snow (see attached picture). We had split up to search for the hot spring, so I quickly turned around after seeing the tracks and hearing noises up ahead. They seemed extremely fresh and like it was a huge cat.
2007
Feb. 26
(report date)
Wintergreen, VA Report Marilyn F
Last year my husband and I were camping at Sherando Lake.  We were talking to a resident (retired Norfolk police detective) who told us that he and his son had seen a cougar just outside Wintergreen Resort several years ago.
2007
Feb. 21
(report date)
Shen. National Park, VA Mountain Lion Sighting Randy F (with brother Gary F)
In July 2006 my brother and I hiked from the lower parking lot at the beginning of the White Oak Canyon Trail to Big Meadows. At a point a little past the halfway point of the White Oak Canyon Trail, past the steps and before you get to the last of the falls which is the one closest to the horse trail, we clearly saw a mountain lion. The time was between 9:00 and 9:30 in the morning. My brother told me to look to my right. He started fumbling with his camera. The mountain lion did not run off but ambled 10 or fifteen feet from us turned around and looked and then went a little further and did the same thing. Finally he was out of sight; we were tempted to follow but did not. My brother got one picture but the mountain lion was almost out of sight. On the Appalachian Trail between Skyland and Big Meadows we met a ranger and told him about the mountain lion. A week later my brother was called to discuss what he saw.
2007
Feb. 7
(report date)
Prince Edward Co. / Charlotte Co. line, VA Cougar Sighting Anne P
We own 60 acres of undeveloped land that boarders many more acres of timber land on two sides and is within a short distance of Briery Lake State Park; a creek runs through and this is where our sighting occurred. About 18 months ago (summer 2005), my children and I saw what I believed was a cougar on our rural property. I did not report it, as I did not believe cougar were found in that area and thought people would think I was crazy. My son, walking backward, yelled "What is that?" We turned to see the animal in mid-air, jumping across the path into thick woods. It was approximately 4 1/2 feet long from nose to base of tail and perhaps 2 feet tall. It's coloring was darker than a deer. There was a long tail. My daughter, seeing a book with a cougar picture that I was recently reading, said, "That's what we saw that time!" and was very insistent and excited.
2007
Feb. 3
White Hall, VA Observation Julie M
I have some unusual scratch marks on some trees that I cannot identify. Although I haven't seen a cougar, or  footprints or scat, it looks like a very large cat scratched those trees. My neighbor, also on Green Spring Road, said that there had been a  mountain lion sighting in May or June 2006 in a meadow on Apple Pie Ridge road, a mile or so south of Green Spring Road. The lion was observed chasing a deer in the meadow, in very late afternoon.
2007
Jan. 26
(report date)
Dinwiddie Co., VA Cougar Sighting Joyce I
  My brother and sister-in-law had an encounter several years ago on their way from Varina to Keysville, VA. They were driving along Rte. 460 through Dinwiddie Co. when they witnessed a very large cat with a long tail crossing the highway. They were both startled at what they saw and asked each other..."Did you see that?" My brother said, "That was a Mountain Lion!" My sister-in-law described the animal exactly as your web site does. Unfortunately, they were not able to get photos as the Cougar disappeared into the woods.
  In my opinion, a pack of coyotes is much more a threat than a cougar. Mountain lions, who are more solitary creatures, are less likely to pose a threat to humans and large animals, such as horses. Our authorities need to ... develop plans to cope with the wildlife that already exists here ... At least cougars are native in the east...coyotes are not.
2007
Jan. 17
(report date)
Louisa, VA Cougar Sighting / Track Cast (photo sent with report) Scotty D. & Nephew
Dates of Observation: June 15, 2005 observation c. 100 yards from farm house in meadow by South Anna River (cat 2 times larger than 65# husky / lab mix with long tail, ears erect, facing calves bawling in neighbor's field, c. 5PM); July 30, 2005 found tracks in "leak" of sandy loam, took cast of right front foot; Nov. 2006 neighbors saw the cougar, were concerned because have young children. Has heard of other sightings in Louisa and Goochland and near the North Anna Power Station.
2007
Jan. 6
Sterling, VA Cougar Sighting Jon H
Am I crazy or was the long, lanky, low lying, tannish, 3-4 foot long (not including tail) animal that I saw crossing Acacia Lane in Sterling, VA last week a cougar? It was crossing about 75 feet in front of my car and my first thought was "what an odd looking deer", but the long down then upward curving tail told me otherwise. This is one of the last undeveloped areas in the industrial section of Sterling that contains America Online and both sides of the street are wooded here.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: There were 2 other reports in Loudoun County in the fall of 2006; one where the sheriff posted a warning sign, the other a passing observation. This report is well within a cougar's territory if it is the same animal.]
2006
Dec. 10
near North Mountain, VA Casual Mention in Note to a Friend Diane K
"A few weeks ago we heard the loud chilly growl of a mountain lion here on the ridge. The world is a strange and wonderous place."
2006
Nov. 25
(report date)
Upper Marlboro, MD Observation Lorraine P
My mother, daughter and I saw one of these cats about 4 years ago crossing the road in the Clinton and Upper Marlboro area, but very close to Andrews Air Force Base.  This was before all of the area home building.
I really believe the authorities do not want to admit that these animals are around because they may be forced to stop the area home building that is destroying the wild life habitat.  If you talk to many of the older hunters in the area they too have seen these big cats.  They are no one's pet.
2006
Jun. 21
north end Big Creek State Park, IA Cougar Sighting / Recording Jeanette D.
.wav files recording her Golden Lab and animal thought may be cougar since many in area had seen a cougar and several dogs were severely injured (one killed) by a "probable" cougar; the animal on the recording was identified as a fox by Iowa DNR
[CQ-VA experts also identified the sound as fox (or possibly raccoon) not cougar]. However, the actual observation by this reporter and 6 others in a 4-mile radius is definitely consistent with cougar. Jeanette & husband saw the cougar come out of the forest into their yard light early in the morning of June 21 and briefly stand behind their Lab. "It was yellow in color, tail long as body and fluffy, cat face ... it was about 3" taller than our Lab and 6"-12" longer than our dog". A neighbor saw 5" tracks left in a muddy corn field after their dog was killed. The Iowa DNR is skeptical, but, according to Jeanette, did meet with the residents, assigned additional law enforcement & DNR personnel to the area, and have arranged for a tracker with dogs to follow up on any further sightings / dog kills.  [CQ-VA Editorial Note: We hope to hear back and will follow up on this report.]
2006
Jun. 17
I-85 VA; near Nottoway River Cougar Sighting Tim A.
Traveling south from Richmond VA to Durham NC, cougar crossed I-85 in front of car c. 15-20 miles north of South Hill near the Nottoway River.  Originally from Keysville VA & never heard that cougars were in the area.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Have requested more detail regarding this sighting.]
2006
Jun. 6
Bradford Co., PA Cougar (?) Photos Linda O.
Sent several photos showing a domestic housecat walking along gravel drive with cut grass and small orchard and of canine tracks, later determined to be made by her Great Pyrenees dog.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: We're not impressed with obviously fake reports.]
2006
May 23 & Jun. 8
Winchester, VA Cougar Sightings as reported in The Winchester Star (May 24th & May 25th issues)
A woman walking in the early morning and a man walking at 4:45 PM on May 23rd 2006 saw and reported a cougar. The Winchester Star sent a reporter and photographer to the scene where Winchester Police Animal Control Officer, Garland Miller, was checking for evidence after the woman's report. A black bear was reported on the same morning in the same area in the Meadow Branch community. The black bear was considered as "confirmed sightings", the cougar as "unconfirmed sightings" - even though no evidence was found to indicate the presence of either. The reason: black bears do roam the area; cougars do not exist in Virginia. Cougar Quest - Virginia went to the area on May 25th and again on May 26th. We found possible cougar prints in very loose soil and in a rain-dissolved muddy patch; we found deer tracks, bird tracks, and small animal tracks (probably squirrel). The newly developed area is adjacent to woods, marsh, swamp, ponds, creek, and miles and miles of savannah grasslands with brush and tree hummocks. A railroad track crosses East through the savannah and the development before entering more highly developed areas; this railroad track leads from the mountains and pastures west of the city - a little used "highway" for migrating bears / cougars. Of concern: a daycare with 5 1/2' - 6' solid fence play yard where the cougar was seen - squeals of invisible young children sound like penned puppies or piglets, not humans, to a cougar, and the fence could be easily jumped over by a cougar; we contacted the director and suggested they post adult personnel outside the fence when the children are in the play yard. On June 8th 2006, residents of the Meadows Branch community once again saw and reported the cougar - there was no write up in The Winchester Star. We do not know "the end of the story". We highly commend Officer Miller for his response and follow up!
2006
May 17
Crozet, VA Cougar Sightings Judy L.
"Crozet Gazette" June 2006 issue reported cougar observation the week of May 17th in Crozet. Judy reported that 2 other families in the neighborhood had also seen a cougar at different times during May.
2006
May 11 - June 1 (?)
Gibbsboro, Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, NJ Cougar Sightings as reported in the Courier-Post & Philadelphia Inquirer (May 26(?), 2006 and June 1, 2006)
Since May 11, 2006, nine people, including two police officers and a state environmental officer, have seen a large cat roaming in several areas on the Gloucester County, NJ, a rural, wooded South Jersey area near the Delaware River. Each eyewitness described the cougar as being 90-100 pounds with a thick tail longer than its body, large paws, and gray or light brown, depending on how the sun was hitting it. On May 11th, a man saw the cougar from about 50 yards away while in his vehicle - he said it was about 6' long from nose to tail. A farmer watched the cougar on May 20th from about 200 yards away as it walked along the edge of the woods in his cornfield then leaped into the woods. Two children saw the cougar in a tree on the afternoon of May 25th - it leaped down and ran off; shortly thereafter, one of the police officers responding to the report saw the cougar as it crossed an access road at the DuPont plant 30 yards in front of his cruiser. The environmental officer found paw prints where the big cat entered the woods. The second police officers saw the cougar chase a small herd of deer. Four teenagers saw the cougar May 28th after 10 PM near a Little League ballfield. The cougar was also seen near a daycare center where the director decided to keep the children inside and the windows closed and locked until proof that the cougar was captured or no longer in the area. A NJ Tracker reported that he had tracked a cougar in the county two years ago (2004) and the current tracks are belong to a much bigger cougar, probably well over 100 pounds, that could be the same animal. Additional law enforcement personnel were assigned to patrol. NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife personnel set up trip cameras and determined that the sightings "did not indicate a danger to the public". A police officer stated that if caught, the cougar would be DNA-tested; if wild, it would be released in a western state; if a former pet, it would probably be destroyed.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: It makes no difference to most federal and state officials whether the cougar has been living on its own, surviving in the wild for X number of years: if DNA tests show any contamination by South American pumas, it will automatically "prove" that the cougar is a released pet, probably obtained through the (illegal) exotic pet trade; if DNA tests show only North American puma / cougar / mountain lion cellular structures, it will probably be considered "wild"; if DNA tests show Florida Panther traits, it would be considered "wild" and "endangered" and be returned to the Florida Everglades.]
2006
Apr. 26
Alexandria, VA Cougar Sighting Jennifer M. (and neighbor Randy H.)
My neighbor and I both saw a cougar in the woods behind my house. It's body was about as big as my neighbor's 2-year old German Shephard; it's tail was about as long as the body and had a curve in it and light rings around it, so I think it was a young cougar.  It was quite simply orange in color - very beautiful color. It was standing on a tree trunk that had fallen over and is about 6' off the ground. It was just checking things out. It did see us and didn't do much until my dog barked. Then it just went deeper into the woods. I am concerned  that it was an exotic pet someone dumped when it got too big. The woods are very small and are surrounded by highways.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Interestingly, the next day, two adult cougars (one described as tan, the other as black) were sighted at Andrews Air Force Base across the river from her location and reported in Washington news papers and television.]
2006
Apr. 12
Charlottesville, VA Cougar Sight & Cries Tara & Mark I. (report submitted by Mark I.)
5:00 AM: from house porch observed tawny brown animal with dark spots, approximately 2' at shoulder with 3' body and 3' tail in residential backyard near woodland. "We woke up to the sound of the animal and thought it was our baby - it sounded like a baby in serious trouble. When we realized it wasn’t our baby, we went onto our porch to see if one of our neighbors was in trouble. When my wife saw the animal, it froze for a couple of seconds and took off running back into the woods. The cougar seemed very young and it may have been calling out to its mother. It was also initially crawling with its body close to the ground while it was calling out."
2006
Apr. Report:
2001 & 2003
Monterey, VA Mountain Lion - 3 Sightings Sharon H.
  2001: had daycare, mountain woods / field; #1 - mowing after kids left, neighbor (Mr. R) came by to say he'd shout at a black panther he'd seen at about 3:00 PM and not to mow after dark. That night about midnight, I heard a horrendous scream outside the kitchen window that sent chills up and down my spine; I dropped and broke a platter I was washing. #2 - several weeks later, one 5-year old boy was still playing in the back yard waiting to be picked up; I was in the kitchen washing dishes. T., standing on the picnic table, called "Come Now, Come Quick" his face red with excitement and pointed across from the barn near the woods yelling "Lion, Lion"! I ran out and got him inside quick. We watched from the kitchen door as the mountain lion limped from the barn area through the lot in a half circle and went slowly back into the woods, seeming to focus on its feet. It was very large (about 2' from the ground to its belly) with a long tail about the same size as its long body, a dark brown between yellow, tan, and grey in color. It looked just like a lion without a mane. It looked older, not young. The Deputy Sheriff, my neighbor (Mr. R), and T's father went after it with their guns, but found nothing.
  2003: #3 - After realizing I was in the middle of big animal territory (coyotes, bobcat, & black bear seen frequently), I closed the daycare and moved to town. One late evening, sitting on the porch with my friend Rosie, we heard a puma scream up toward the cemetery in the woods that joined the woods of my previous property. It was quiet. Then, we heard it scream again from across town.
2006
Mar. 18
Madison, VA Cougar Observation Marie & James McD
Today, at about 4 PM, my husband and I went out on our back deck and about 50 yards away slowly walking along the tree line was a cougar. We have many deer in this wooded residential neighborhood; the group had passed through about 1 hour before we saw the cougar. Others in this neighborhood have said that they had seen these beautiful animals, but this was our first sighting. The cat was about 3 feet from shoulder to rump - it was much larger than the many bobcats I've seen growing up in Maine and had a slower gate. It was walking side to me but didn't seem in too much of a hurry. Its head was turned away but I could clearly see the rest of the body and tail which was approx 3' long and turned up at the end - tan / tawny color.
2006
Feb. 8
Jefferson National Forest, Wise County, VA Panther Sighting Buster W. (& friend)
At approximately 12:00 noon (2-8-2006) a Virginia Division of Mined Land Reclamation Inspector and I were traveling east on Forest Service Road #700 in Jefferson National Forest, Clinch Ranger District (Wise County, Virginia). We saw what appeared to be a large dark colored cat cross the road 40 yards in front of my vehicle. It had a long slightly upturned tail and round head. It appeared to be 3' from rear end to snout not including the tail; which appeared to be almost as long. It jumped the berm to the center of the road and then jumped to the road-cut bank. Very athletic. We stopped at the point that it left the road. We could see where it hit the bank and the top of the road-cut but could not make out any tracks. We looked into the timber and listened for movement for about 10 minutes but did not see it again. I am a geologist and outdoorsman and spend a lot of time in the woods, but I have never seen anything like this. It was much bigger than a bob cat and it had a long tail. I have heard accounts of Cougar (Mountain Lion) sightings on Black Mountain and Pine Mountain (VA.- KY. state line) from people I believe, but I always thought that a "black panther" was a mythical folk tale.
2006
Feb. 1
Skyline Drive, VA Cougar Sighting & Photos Patrick B. (& Ed L.)
Attach are a couple of pictures I was able to take on 2/01/06 while traveling south on Skyline drive in the area between Simmons Gap and Loft Mountain. I don’t have the exact mileage marker as I never thought to mark an exact location (sorry).
It was approx. 3:00 pm in the afternoon. A co-worker, Ed L., and I were taking the scenic way back to Highway 64 from a business meeting in Elkton on our way back to Williamsburg. We were enjoying the scenery and I already had my camera out to take pictures. As we came around a slight bend, we saw this cat walking diagonally across the road 40 yards or so in front of us. We pulled up to where the cat had crossed and I had enough time to take these two pictures. I don’t believe they are conclusive but I thought I would pass them on. I have lived most of my life in the country in upstate NY and have spent a lot of time in the woods as an outdoorsman and hunter. I have seen a Bobcat five or six times and this cat we saw was at least 2 to 2 ½ times the size of any Bobcat I have ever seen, it looked much more muscular and longer.  [CQ-VA Editorial Note: The photos show what appears to be a cougar from body & head / ears clarity; however, the tail is hidden behind a tree, so the cat can not be "confirmed" as cougar by our experts.]
2006
Jan 6
(report)
Clarke Co., VA Observation Jim, Erik, & Gary S (hunters)
Late 1970s: Farm on old Charlestown Rd. & Crums Church Rd.; sunny afternoon, 4-5 minutes duration; 25-50 yards; hunters on foot. We were gopher hunting when my father had us stop and stand still. He then pointed out 2 tawny mountain lions, 1 large (mother? - 2-3' at shoulder, 4-5' body length, 2' or more tail) and 1 smaller (cub). they proceeded to walk slowly past us, stopping every now & then to sniff the air. After they went out of sight, we went back to the farm house ... quite scared.
2006
Jan 6
(report)
Elkins / French Creek, WV Newspaper Articles sent by Evelyn W: The Daily Mail, Hagerstown, MD
April 7 & 14 1976: Elkins 04/07/1976: Farmer shot cougar after it killed one of his lambs; a biologist with WV DNR confirmed the mountain lion and stated that it probably came from KY or VA "where there have been several reports of sightings"; the cat was to be shipped to the Smithsonian to determine if an eastern or western species. French Creek 04/14/1976: A 100-pound mountain was tranquilized and captured in Pocahontas Co.; it was taken to the French Creek game farm by conservation officers; officials had guarded the animal; it was full following a sheep kill and didn't want to leave; a part of her tail had recently been cut off.
2005 / 2006
Fall / Winter
Summit, VA Cougar Track & Neighbor Reports Doug B.
Before seeing the tracks in the snow, I hadn't seen evidence of the cougars reported by my neighbors. The tracks were the same as those I've seen while hunting in the west - definitely cougar. One neighbor had talked about the screams heard several nights in a row, another about 2 cougars watching and pacing on a ridge above her house as she mowed the lawn, and another about 2 cougars seen as she was working in the yard. We all agree, they come and go; but cougars were here in our woods this past year.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: We learned about these cougars in June 2006 and went on a quest through the mixed deciduous / evergreen woods, ravines, and knobs. No cougar evidence, but plenty of animal sign: fox, bobcat, skunk, squirrel, deer. We plan to return as soon as we hear that the cougar(s) are back.]
2005
Dec.
Parker Mtn. (5 mi from SNP), VA Mountain Lion (Panther) Sighting Janice S-F (& husband)
AM - snow on ground - both saw a large panther running up the mountain ridge in and out of trees and over rocks / boulders from the ravine beside their farm house; house "butts up against the ridge"; neighbor's dog barking and running after it; neighbor later reported that her dog had come back with a wounded eye. Husband took photos: very long and thick black tail and black body obscured by tree trunk. Large tracks found next morning near car parked at end of drive that "my husband could put his fist in". When reported to SNP personnel, was told it was probably a pet.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Unfortunately, the photos were too distant for us to positively identify; this reporter has excellent observation skills and once saw a cougar cross the SNP trail in front of her.]
2005
Dec. 19
Warm Springs, VA Mountain Lion Cross-Breed? Lindy W.
  On September 20, 2005, about 3:00 PM, I saw a large cat slowly cross 220 North, approx. 1 mile north of the 39/220 intersection in Warm Springs. It never looked at me and went down the embankment into the woods. It was the size of a small lab and very muscular, very fit. It was completely DARK grey and had a bobbed tail. It looked like a mountain lion, but the tail threw me. I have seen bobcats before as well as coyotes; this was neither. Bobcats have tufted ears; this large cat did not.
  On December 19th, 2005, I was driving up our driveway, exactly one mile from the last sighting, at 5:00 PO; snow was on the ground and the same cat slowly crossed my drive. His feet were massive! It did not acknowledge me this time either and went into the wooded thicket. We have a lot of deer on our property and they were out the next morning; haven't seen any signs of anything being killed on our property, most of which is open land. None of my neighbors have seen this cat. When I called the game warden to report the incident, he had no idea what I had seen. This cat looked like something that would be in a zoo.
2005
Dec. 17
Christiansburg, VA Cougar Sighting Margaret P.
Around noon just off exit 118C, I-81 she and a friend saw a cougar on a hillside across a highway from the Denny’s Restaurant. The cougar was walking broadside across the hillside with a cub bouncing around her (presumably female because of cub). The sighting lasted a few minutes. They had seen cougars in a zoo and compared the size as similar with a dark tawny color and long tail. Not being from the area, she asked a local if there were mountain lions around there; he said that there were in a disinterested manner as if they were fairly common.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: Follow up by CQ-VA Honorary Director Don Linzey, 30+ year cougar researcher, could not confirm or deny this observation.]
2005 Initial Report:
2001-2006
Lawrenceburg, TN
(
Map)
Cougar Sightings / Sounds David B.
2001
: heard bloodcurdling, hair raising scream about 9:00 PM approx. 300 ft. from house "like a woman being murdered on loud speakers" (2 min.) "then like a small child laughing". 2003: son & friend saw two cougars in the big field next to house - lots of tracks. 2003 / 2004: listening to police scanner, heard report of screams in nearby David Crockett Park; Park Ranger followed "large cat" up Shoal Creek Trail. March 26, 2005: dozens of tracks on 4-wheeler trail in the field next to house (deer tracks interspersed) - photos. May 8, 2005: neighbor, Beverly P, almost hit cougar with car about a mile from his house; it ran into a field. Yellowish tan, as high as the front of her car, long tail, cat at least as long as her car was wide. May 25, 2005, 5:15PM: walking in above field, saw head pop up above waist high sage grass then disappear; got binoculars & watched as cougar got closer, popping head above grass periodically and looking at David; it's ears flattened as it got closer; "I'll never forget that face and the fear I felt!!!"; at less then 600 feet, cougar stood staring at him for at least 20 seconds. Cougar stopped in tall grass, David was in 1 1/2' high grass; he hurried home, looking over his shoulder but cougar did not pursue. From height of grass and size of head & shoulders, David assumes the cat was over 150#. Color tan / reddish brown with white under chin & inside of ears. Summer - Fall 2005: found large cat tracks & smaller cat tracks (like mother with cub), "scrape marks wider than I can spread my fingers" showing 4 claw marks with scratch marks at least 2 - 2 1/2 feet long, and carcass remains (deer, coyote, armadillo) found in same cleared place in field; "lots of scat, strong smell of cat urine". Winter-Spring 2006: more evidence; game camera set up; CQ-VA submitted scat specimen to labs for DNA tests.  More: Over 20 people in 3-5 mile radius have reported cougar sounds and sightings to David. [CQ-VA Editorial Follow Up: Scat (fresh, frozen) was overnighted to 3 labs for DNA testing - 1 = "too desiccated";  1 = "identified some coyote hair; may be prey; can not confirm species"; 1 = "the specimen was lost" ... so much for DNA tests!]
2005
Late Fall
Clarke / Loudoun County, VA Mountain Lion Sighting Pete D.
I was working on the mountain property southwest of Berryville and had a man using a weedeater. He looked up about the same time I did. The mountain lion was very close to my helper who turned white as a sheet and held up the weedeater as if to defend himself. The mountain lion jumped from rock to rock up the hill, seemingly right over my head. It was a beautiful big adult mountain lion, very big with a long, long tail.

2005
Nov. 17

Bath County, VA

Sighting Greg D. [confirmed bobcat]

While hunting in a ground blind in the George Washington National Forest, he saw what he thought may have been a cougar walk by him. It went down the mountain and when it returned later he was able to get photographs. From the photographs we were able to determine it was a bobcat. Even though it turned out not to be a cougar, he was able to get good photographs of a cat rarely seen in daylight.

2005
Nov. 04
11:00 AM

Hillsboro, VA

Cougar Sighting - Reported by Dan S. (homeowner) & Jerry K. eyewitness. A supervisor and crew that were laying fiber optic lines saw a cougar on his property. Eyewitness observer Jerry K. of Texas, with many years backcountry & animal tracking experience, confirmed sighting was made by himself & crew of 3 - "obviously nursing, female lion, approx. 6' including body-size tail, tawny / tannish-yellow, came out of brush at Dan's creek (200 yds. from his house) with something black in her mouth the size of a large chicken or barn cat, walked along the edge of the treeline, S into & across a large recently cut hayfield, then E up far treeline into woods" - "I was surprised to see a lion in Virginia, but was amazed to see a lion fearlessly crossing such a large field in the middle of the day."  [CQ-VA Editorial Note: CQ-VA went to site 12/03/2005 after much rain washed out any tracks - no fresh tracks or other evidence - confirmation pending next observation.]

2005
Nov.
McDowell, VA Panther Lele S. (reported by mother Patricia S.)
We live close to the river on a large farm with a long driveway from the road to the house. Early in November 2005 at 5:15 PM, Lele stopped to open the gate to our driveway. When she stood up out of her car, she saw a black panther crouched 4' from her at the side of the driveway. It ran off across the street. It was about 20" high, 2 1/2' body (not including the head), had a 2'-3' long tail, and was about the size of a large Lab (between 50 and 70 pounds). From then to now, she won't get out of the car to open the gate after dark - she calls and we go down to let her in.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: "The Recorder" newspaper which serves Highland and Bath Counties published this story in their March 13, 2006 edition. From at least December 2005 through March 2006, "The Recorder" published attempts by residents of these counties to have the VDGIF and other wildlife personnel help take care of their concerns about wolves (wolfdogs / wolf hybrids?), coyotes, bobcats, and other wildlife that was preying on human property and acting strangely. No cougars, no wolves in Virginia. But, a lot of reports and even frozen wolf "evidence". And, a lot of rabid animals - including a 32 pound bobcat that jumped into a pickup with its window rolled down and attacked 2 hunters.]

2005
Aug. 04

Bath County, VA

Cougar Sighting Paul W. (Off Rt. 627 Scotchtown Draft Rd.)

Hiking on a trail to South Sister Knob in the George Washington National Forest. When rounded a turn, observed a cougar observe him and run into the woods. Very fresh feces was on trail along with strong cat urine smell. Feces / smell was observed by three other people. Will collect sample if it ever happens again.

2005
Summer 2005

Edinburg, VA

Cougar Sighting Emmett U.

A friend of his spotted a cougar crossing his field in broad daylight. Similar sighting by neighbors mentioned at local bar-b-que.

2005
Aug.

WV

Scat - Craig C. [confirmed canine]

While hiking in the Mononghela National Forest found what he believed to be either cougar or bobcat scat. He sent a picture of the scat which the experts all report to be canine - probably large dog.

2005
July 30

Patrick County, VA

Cougar Sighting Rhonda B.

At 3:45 PM looked out kitchen window and saw a tan cougar walking broadside across the backyard. Observation lasted about a minute at around 25 yards away. Notes it was at least twice as big as her 75 pound Labrador Retriever.

2005
July 26

Goochland County, VA

Cougar Tracks Ben J.

Noticed cougar tracks on a road site being constructed adjacent to a creek. Took photos of the tracks and casts. A close acquaintance who lives a mile away related seeing a large, long tawny cat with a three foot long tail on two separate occasions.  [CQ-VA Editorial Note: Our experts have identified the track as feline: probably cougar (1), possibly cougar (2), definitely bobcat (1); and as canine (2). We are hoping for additional evidence.]

2005
July 24

Shenandoah Nat'l Park, VA

Cougar Sighting Janice S.

Janice is a volunteer for the park who, for two weekend days each month from May-Oct., is based as a guide at Old Rag Mountain in SNP near Madison, VA. While hiking to the summit via the Saddle Trail in the late afternoon she saw a cougar walk across the trail about a mile from the summit. Having observed many cougars in Colorado, she describes it as being a picture perfect mountain lion and appeared to be hunting/stalking deer. It crossed the trail about 50 ft. in front of her and never looked toward her. She reported the sighting to her supervisor who told her "there are not any cougars around here". She asked for spray or some sort of protection, but park officials said it wasn’t necessary and they didn’t want to frighten people. She also asked about having a radio to carry while working and was told that volunteers do not have the privilege of radios. [CQ-VA Editorial Note: This is a very surprising and extremely unsafe practice - if a volunteer, standing in for a paid ranger (who does carry a radio), were to fall or somehow become injured (or find an injured hiker/tourist), they would have no way of getting help. Other national parks make carrying a radio mandatory for all their crew - paid and volunteer. We do not understand how SNP could not follow the same precautions and hope this oversight will soon be corrected.] She also reports that she has heard a big cat’s scream a few nights and that a neighbor of hers in Stanardville, VA took a photo of what he thinks is a cougar track.

2005
June 15

Washington County, MD

Cougar Sighting Charlotte S. (Kaetzel Rd.)

While walking dogs around 7-8 pm, saw a large dark animal run across road app. 30 yards away. About the size of a large dog, but had a very long tail with a tuft on end. A car coming down road scared it off into the bushes. First thought was that it was a panther. Also has heard screaming sounds at night.

2005
April 21

Blacksburg, VA

Mountain Lion Sighting, Jayson M ( via e-mail) "I just thought I should let someone know that I saw a mountain lion at about 12:30 AM as I was driving south on Rte. 81 around mile marker 123-124. I got a good look at it and am 100% sure it was a mountain lion. It was about the size of a German Shepherd, and very lean. The tail was long and the same width all the way down. It came from the left across the interstate to my right, walking south along the road, then paused by the side of the road (that's when I got a good look at it), and then ran into the woods in those mountains."

2005
April 4

Advice From Montana

Hi Barbara, About 15 years ago the mountain lions started moving into populated areas of Montana and stalking people, especially small children. It is a myth that they will not attack people and they are very hard on the dog and cat situation! Be careful if there are big cats in the area. We always walked in groups, Mr. Smith & Mr. Wesson are good company in cat country. Your friend, Bill [e-mail] [CQ-VA Editorial Note: While we do not share his opinion about carrying firearms, we do agree that hikers should stay in pairs or groups and that children and pets should be closely monitored during all outings in unfamiliar territory.]

2005
Mar. 31
Wells Mt., near Wyalusing, Bradford Co., PA 
Mountain Lion (Cougar) Sightings with Photos forwarded by Wayne W. (original by Millie McC.)
A rural resident took photos from inside her house early on the morning of March 31, 2005. "Now will the Pennsylvania Game Commission finally admit that the Pennsylvania Mountain Lion, or otherwise known as a cougar, is no longer extinct in the state?"
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: The 3 photos definitely show a cougar on the porch and looking in the glass door!!!  03/01/2007 UPDATE: The same three photos were recently reported as being taken in Michigan. When contradicted by MWC, claim was made that these photos were originally taken in Wyoming by a Missouri biologist (??? really ???). Obviously, the cat and the house were somewhere / somewhen - maybe in PA? This is a good example of why scientifically re-confirmable proof is required for recognition of a cougar's presence in any area, especially in eastern states! 02/01/2008 UPDATE: The same three photos were recently reported as being taken in Giles County, Virginia. According to www.cougarnet.org, Dr. Dave Rogers took these photos in Lander, Wyoming in a riparian corridor that he calls home. Thanks to VDGIF Rick Reynolds for providing this update & web reference.]]

2005
March

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Sounds (evidence?) Linda H, (Stephens City, Property Owner) As I was walking my 2 dogs the other evening, I heard a deep throaty, rumbling growl / purr (that's the only way I can describe it) - if it had been any louder, the ground would have shaken! - every hair stood up - on both me and my dogs. No, it wasn't a coyote or bobcat or bear or owl - I know what they sound like. It was definitely a cougar. We have strange scratch spots in the yard and scat with lots of hair and bones that has gotten watersogged in the rain. I'll keep my eye out for fresh scat and freeze a baggyful for analysis. [CQ-VA Editorial Note: Scratch marks like she described on the phone are common marks made by cougars called "scrapes" to mark their territory. We hope Linda will be able to provide specimen if she notes the same conditions in the future.]

2005
March

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Sightings Melinda B, (Cross Junction, Property Owner) Around March 15, our housekeeper arrived around 8:00 AM on a bright sunny day in time to watch a cougar cross our driveway and meander through our field. She was very specific in the detail of her observation and quickly wrote it down. About 4 days later, my husband was going out to kennel our dogs for the night when he heard them in an uproar. He had a weak flashlight that he shown up into the tree where the dogs were hopping around and barking. Expecting to see a raccoon, he was truly surprised to see two big yellow eyes, set wide apart, staring back at him. He's sure it was the same cougar seen by our housekeeper. I'll take extra precautions when I let my little boys play outside, but hope to get a photo of that cougar.

2004/2005

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Sightings / Live Stock Kills Spring thru Winter 2004 / 2005: Several reports, Frederick Co., VA (Siler / Gainesboro / Hayfield, Property Owners / Farmers) [synopsis] A tawny mountain lion was observed by several respected individuals around 4:00 PM in the same area off Rte. 600. A dark colored and a tawny mountain lion were seen together in the area by several farmers. Calves were killed in a manner consistent with cougar kills. Several rather large dogs "went missing". Farm cats "disappeared". On a stake-out one night, the dark mountain lion was seen over a recent heifer kill as the tawny mountain lion ran off into the woods. The dark lion was ["humanely terminated"]. [CQ-VA Editorial Note: see related (?) story below. Could the dark mountain lion have been the mother and the tawny mountain lion, terminated several months later, be the cougar-in-training? We'll never know without DNA testing on the carcasses. We have been assured by the Federal Endangered Species Inspector's representative, that our proposed procedures of handling an anonymously dumped carcass will not result in prosecution of ourselves and, obviously, will not result in any investigation of the anonymous donor.]

2005
March

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Aggression [anonymous] (Brucetown / Clearbrook Property Owners) A tawny mountain lion had been roaming this part of the county and for several months got more and more bold, coming toward humans on their front porch, killing cattle in the pastures, and perhaps the cause of missing dogs and cats. Many people saw it. Some reported it, but were laughed at and told they were crazy. "No authority would do anything to help us get rid of this aggressive cougar." Finally, it was ["humanely terminated"]. "Now, we can sleep again without constant worry and fear for our children, pets, and livestock." [CQ-VA Editorial Note: see related (?) story above. Was this one related to the one above or was it a released pet / escaped zoo animal that had not learned hunting skills and was relying on humans to provide food?  It is our opinion that law enforcement personnel should always treat multiple "threat reports", such as this, with honor and dignity, bringing in experts to assist with the investigation of aggressive animal behavior (even if such animals are supposedly extinct) as they would with any aggressive human behavior."

2005

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Sighting / Evidence Needed:: Rob (& Ann) S, (Professors of Environmental Science LFCC; Nationally Recognized Wildlife Photographers)

  Big predators bring out the best in fervent discussion - but, all science must be based on material reproducibility. Years ago I had a student make a sighting of a cougar in Shenandoah National Park; he got a job with Bob D who was the Fish and Wildlife Biologist tracking the evidence for Cougars in the E. USA - he even got his picture in National Geographic associated with the project. Another student obtained casts of potential tracks which I showed to 3 cougar experts with 3 different opinions: yes, maybe and no. I have kept many written records of possible sightings in N.W. VA (some seem very credible including female with 2 young) but no documented proof. I have many stories to go with the sightings - one person used to see them pretty frequently, especially black ones. If someone reports a black one in the east there is about a one in zillion chance they are correct. With all that said, and my extreme skepticism of any observation, I have seen one - Ann and I saw one crouched along the campground road in the southern part of Shenandoah National Park in the south district - it was stalking (crouched ready to make the kill) a female deer with two young babies who were frozen, staring at the cougar with a pure look of trembling death - we were 82 paces from the cougar in our van - we were observing it with 10x image stabilizer binoculars - the cougar kept looking back and forth at us and the prey - we opted to observe rather than reach behind and grab the cameras (frankly, we thought we would have time for photographic evidence after the kill) - finally the cougar crossed the road, down the bank and under a log - we searched for a track and more importantly for a single hair on the underside of the log (DNA test could have established the subspecies) - the ghost left no sign. 3 days later the park botanist had another roadside sighting. Because we did not get a photo (and neither did he), this is still just a hypothetical observation and there is still no proof.

  The next question: was it a released cat from some disgruntled "owner", an escapee, or did a few of the Eastern Cougar subspecies actually survive? Were they secretly released in the park? - for the last 30 years I have asked every SNP park naturalist, Park superintendent, and wildlife biologist (behind closed doors where secrets could be shared) if they were released purposely in the park and the answer is always "no". Physical evidence is needed for the cougar to rise above the ranks of Elvis sightings.

2005

Ski Resort, WV

Mountain Lion Tracks Spring, Luke D, with parents. It was afternoon and I was on a ski lift going to the top of the mountain when I saw tracks in the snow. They were fresh and plainly visible in the light snow cover, less than 5 yards from the lift.

2004
Nov.

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Tracks & Scat Barbara C, (Siler, Property Owner, Executive Director CQ-VA): A crouched right hind leg and right front paw in the mud at the stream where the cougar paused for a drink. (Observation and discussion shared with 2 local heavy equipment operators / hunters who agreed that only a "mountain lion" could have made the very large 'cat' prints.) 04/2005 follow up: one piece of cougar scat (visually identified by 2 cougar rehabilitators) found at base of tree up the ridge from the tracks. [CQ-VA Editorial Note: Another expert 1st identified the scat as probably not cougar based on the food material in the scat - later stated that it could be a cougar that had eaten a raccoon.]

2004
Sept.

Frederick Co., VA

Charlie H, (Honorary Director CQ-VA; President NSVAS) Myriad sightings of the elusive, ghost-like cats have added excitement to the modern lore of our Appalachias, but definite proof remains as elusive as the cats themselves. The respective state wildlife agencies all officially deny the existence of a true or resurgent population of cougars. But the interest in this magnificent animal is now facilitated by the internet, DNA science, and remote camera 'traps'; soon our official agencies may be compelled to recognize -- and study, and fund, and protect -- the recovery of the cougar.

2004
June

Warren Co., VA

Observation  Kelly E - employee at LFCC, Environmental Science Dept. (S. Warren almost Page Co., VA, uncle’s property where she rents a house)

Early morning; daily jog with baby in jogging stroller; along power lines. Large 4" diameter (presumed cat) prints on deer trail: one extremely clear in mud, others not clear; near prints found long snake-size (about 2 feet long, curled up like snake) hair ball next to print; almost ran stroller over it. Returned with camera; mud drying & photo not clear. "I haven’t run back there since then; won’t let my cross-country running daughter run there either." [donated piece of the hair to Cougar Quest – VA, another piece to Shenandoah Nat'l Park] 11/09/2005 at LFCC: found small bones mixed in hair seen under high power microscope (Prof. Rob S, Prof. Raymond S, Kelly, Barbara (CQ-VA)) – probable squirrel bones, definite fox squirrel hair – probable fox scat (though no fecal matter apparent) – probable not associated with large cat print unless cat stalk / take fox at that juncture.

2003/2004

Frederick Co., VA

Panther Sighting: Winter Tommy V, (Gainesboro, Property Owner) The first indication that a mountain lion was on my property were the tracks in the snow. Several nights later, the moon was full and, as I looked out the window while getting ready for bed, I saw a panther crossing the field - it looked coal black, midnight black, not tan or tawny. A couple of afternoons after, I glanced out the window to see the panther dragging a deer carcass across the snowy field into the woods. We kept a close eye on our dogs and wouldn't let them loose for several weeks.

2003
Dec.

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Sighting - Deer Hunting: Nick M, (Hunter): I was hunting on private property with permission from the owner. I sat on a log in the sun with a snow flurry now and then. I almost fell asleep when I heard a noise. Looking up, I was staring at a mountain lion. I froze. He wandered off. I will never hunt on that property again!

2003
Nov.

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Sighting: Jay Y, (Honorary Director CQ-VA, Hunting Ridge, Property Owner, Wildlife Rehabilitator): "As I look up from my seat on the back deck, I see a cougar stealthily walking up the far hill along our fence line. I reach for my binoculars and inspect every part of him! I watch how he holds his head so straight, his body low, his shoulders hunched, his every muscle intent on moving forward in a deliberate, concentrated walk. Only the tip of his enormous tail bobs as an anxious warning. I suspect he is headed for our neighbor’s carcass pile, testimony of hunting season’s bounty. He will dine well tonight."

[CQ-VA Editorial Notes: Note 1: A local hunter on the wooded property side of the fence line confirms that he came within 30' of a tawny mountain lion at this same location in the fall of 2001. They made eye contact; he froze; the mountain lion turned and walked away. He continues to hunt on the property. Note 2: A young lady was looking for her pet chicken and found . . . feathers and cougar tracks . . . at the same location in 1998. Note 3: Three other hunters report they have seen a mountain lion in the same area at various dates through 2004. Note 4: Late Nov. 2005, the horses in Jay's pasture reacted with great fright to something in the woods and would not be calmed - she attributes their behavior to the cougar. However, due to development in the area and no fall carcass pile, the cougar was not seen.]

2003
Present (?)

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Mates Annual Spring Occurrence Kim C., (Mountain Falls, Property Owner) Every year throughout the spring, we have to put up with nightly caterwauling from two cougars on or near our property that starts just after dusk and continues through the night. We believe this noise is related to the cats mating. There are definitely two voices. We have a poor recording from last year and will definitely get a better one this year, now that we know someone takes us seriously and is looking for proof of our cougars. We think we know where the den is but haven't had the courage to get too close. When my brother was hunting near there, he heard growls and hisses of warning and quickly moved off in a different direction. [CQ-VA Editorial Note: Sharon B., who lives in Mountain Falls, shared a report in 2006.  When they were building their house, residents advised that they have no outdoor pets and put any livestock in the barn at night. When asked why, they said "This is cougar country." As she said, "Everyone knew cougars were around and would prey on pets and pastured livestock, so they took precautions. To this day, there are no small pets and livestock is sheltered at night."]

2002
Sept.
30
Kalkaska Co, MI Damage And Nuisance Animal Control Permit issued by MI DNA - Law Enforcement and Wildlife Division - "large feline inflicted scratches on various horses, mules; missing chickens; left tracks by rabbits / pigs" - disposition - lethal method: trap or shoot [CQ-VA Editorial Note: refer to Michigan Wildlife Conservancy (MWC - www.miwildlife.org) for Michigan Cougars population proofs and white paper]

2001
Nov. 15

Frederick, County, VA

Cougar Sighting Randy K. (Cattail Lane, Gainesboro)

Saw cougar from a hunting blind about 25-50 yards away. The cougar saw him and turned and walked away. The body was 3 to 4 ft. long and tail was 4’ to 4’ 6" long.

2000
Nov. 11

Shenandoah Co, VA

Gary B

(Zepp) Sighting near Orndorff’s Rainbow Trout Farm. Man observed cat fitting a cougar’s description. Said he saw it lying down and it jumped up and ran. Said it had a long tail and it was tannish brown.

2000
Aug.
Hardy Co., WV Cougar / Deer Observation - High Power Line near Moorefield / Fisher - Jeff T., Professional Photographer
I know that mountain lions survive in the East - I saw one. I was picking berries at the base of a mountain, under a high power line. Hearing a commotion up the mountain, I looked up and saw a large deer racing out of the woods, across the power line field, faster than any race horse I’ve ever seen. A mountain lion was almost on it’s tail and gaining ground, a fluid streak of muscle, long tail straight behind the body, making the cougar appear even bigger than it was. Before I could put down the berry bucket and focus my camera, they had disappeared into the woods on the other side of the field. It looked like a documentary film, only it was real life. A missed photographic opportunity that will never be forgotten.
1996
Nov.
Baltimore County, MD near PA line Cougar Kill & Other Evidence - c. 10 mi. S of PA line on Rte 165 - Sallie R. (property owner)
We lived in an old farmhouse on 7 acres of land with lots of wooded acreage around us. Every fall, we heard cougar screams like a woman being strangled. One year our daughter brought home a deer skull that she had found at the end of a branch in a large tree she was climbing. Nov. 1996, as we were driving home in the evening, a cougar sprang from the left into the middle of the road directly in front of our car - it was the largest cat, a huge cat, dun colored, beautiful! Unable to stop, we ran into and over it with all 4 wheels. Suffering extensive damage to our front end and undercarriage, my husband continued driving the short distance to our house. We called the authorities who had a road crew clean up the mess. Asking for confirmation details the next day, we were told that it was a "road kill" and could get no further explanation. It could have been nothing other than a mountain lion.

1995
Oct.

Frederick Co., VA

Cougar Cry - 2 stories: Barbara C, (Siler, Property Owner, Executive Director CQ-VA): 1) Sitting under the "Mother" tree on a full moon night, I heard a small animal scurry into the nearby bushes, immediately followed by a deep growly, rising in pitch, two-tone yowl from the nearby woods that set every one of my hairs on end and made me wonder if I foiled the meal or would be next on the dinner plate. Stupidly, maybe, I stayed under the tree - and heard no more. 2) My fearless dog, Spike, was spooked a few days later, so I went out with him as the sun was setting. The cat's cry, not 50 feet away in the same wooded area, caused Spike to scurry behind my legs with his short smooth hair sticking out like a porcupine and my hair to stand on end yet again. This time, I yowled back in as close imitation and as loudly as I could manage through my human vocal structure. We didn't see or hear from that cougar again that year.

1995

Frederick County, VA

Cougar Sighting Spring: Teresa S., (Apple Pie Ridge, Property Owner): My husband and I built our home on his family farm in 1994 in the Green Springs/White Hall area of Frederick County (between Hunting Ridge and Apple Pie Ridge). In March or April of 1995, I was waking from our home to my in-laws' to return books and movies along the scenic route - through the old logging road which runs the property lines. My three dogs were with me and just as soon as we hit the wooded portion of the property, they started acting strange. The hair on their necks and backs was raised, they would freeze and act like they were scenting something. I did not feel threatened but was getting a little spooked. I heard a noise ahead of me which I thought sounded like my father-in-law using his tractor out in the hay field - like the metal bucket on the tractor scraping against a boulder (there was a very large rock pile boarding the field). I proceeded to the field but saw no sign of my father-in-law or the tractor. All of a sudden the dogs took off and I heard the cougar scream. My initial reaction was to look up. The only time I had ever heard that noise was on TV (Lassie, in particular) and there was ALWAYS a mountain lion in a tree or on a cliff about to jump down on the unsuspecting traveler. Then the dogs burst out of the woods and crossed the path in front of me and into the field. The grass was pretty high and I could see the cougar running away from me towards the "big woods" or where the property ended and several hundred acres of unoccupied property began. I distinctly remember his tail - it seemed to be 8' long and curled at the very end. He was leaping and running - making tremendous strides in front of the dogs. I was carrying a plastic grocery bag of books and movies AND my camera! The last thing I was thinking was to take a picture. I whistled for my dogs to come and turned around and ran - I think I thought I was running for my life - even though the cat was running in the opposite direction. I had to negotiate a barbed wire fence which did not go well. The fence won that battle. I believe I left a 3" diameter patch of hair and scalp hanging in the fence. I ran all the way to my in-laws house, crashed through the door and collapsed in a chair trying to catch my breath long enough to tell them what was wrong. I think my father-in-law was skeptical but my mother-in-law still swears to this day that she saw a black panther in the same area of the farm when my husband was a baby (1957-58-ish). I did not see my dogs again until about 2 hours later - they were fine but tired. My husband's theory is the carcass of a cow that was dragged into the woods may have attracted the cat. He went out that evening to look for signs and sit and watch for a while but we have seen no other sign since. It was an experience I will NEVER forget - very memorable and exciting. Unfortunately, the woods behind the farm are being developed rapidly so that was most likely my one and only encounter (although we did have a black bear very near the house last July). Thanks for allowing me to officially tell my story to someone who won't look at me and wonder what planet I was from.

1994
Feb. 5

VA

along Rte. 55 toward WV line (Duck Run Bridge)

About 10:20 PM

David D

Black cat around 90-100 lbs. about the size of a Doberman, crossed road in front of my car, stopped, crouched, and stared into the headlights. Definite cat body, muscular

1994
Jan. 24

Frederick Co., VA & Hardy Co., WV line

Big North Mountain at Rte. 55 on ridge.

10:45 PM, partly cloudy & cold

Christie W

Body size about 4 feet in length, maybe somewhat smaller; color brownish-gray; very long thick tail; came down bank & crossed road in about 4-5 leaps.

1993

Madison, VA

Mountain Lion: Joe A (near family home ) Less than a mile from Grave's Mountain Lodge, when we were driving home from dinner, I saw a live mountain lion on the side of the road. My relatives confirmed that it was a mountain lion, and report that they have spotted it several times since.

1989
Dec.

Frederick Co, VA

Cougar hit by car: Jo C (dec.),. (Siler / Shockeysville, former Property Owner) Driving home on a dark night from a visit with our children, we slowly rounded a wicked curve, slammed on the brakes, and bumped into a dark ... panther that was standing on the side of the road. It jumped across the road and disappeared into the trees on the other side - it's tail was almost as long as it's body! We managed to drive the rest of the way home, but had extensive body work that needed to be done on the car. [CQ-VA Editorial Note: The story was later changed to a "cow" that had been bumped into and leaped across the road into the woods at the insistence of their son who told them people would think they were crazy.]

1986
Aug.

Warren County, VA

Tawny Mountain Lion Meryl C (several sightings near Dry Run At South Fork Shenandoah, Property Owner, Nature Lover, Environmentalist) 1) Scat & tracks in builders sand pile <12 hours old, fresh & plainly visible. 2) Live tawny mountain lion: 25-50 yards away, walking along the roadside, approx. 30" tall at shoulder, 42" long, with a 30" tail. (Meryl notes that other residents have seen cougars along Panhandle Road (Rt. 613) in Warren County from 1986 until at least 1995.)

1985
Fall
St. Mary, WV Observation Oren L
Twin sons Matthew & Jeffery (age 17) killed a deer near the family 'old home place' on Federal Ridge Mountain near Middle Island Creek & hung it in a tree; when they came back with Oren, the deer was gone - without a photo of the deer in the back of the pickup with one of the boys, Oren would have questioned their claim of the big buck - they wondered what had taken it, thinking another human or dogs. A few weeks later, Matthew spotted a cougar at the old bathtub watering trough on the farm near where the deer had been killed - there were fresh tracks & Matthew showed them to the farmer (who had not lost any animals to predation). A bit later, just below the nearby Mt. Pleasant Church house, Oren was hunting when two young cougars, about the size of beagles and with the typical dark / tan / spotted coloration, ran off from the brush within 25' of where he was walking. The missing buck mystery was solved - the thief: a mother cougar thankful for a free meal for herself and young. But, there's more ... in the Spring a year and a half later, Oren and his sons went camping near their favorite hunting spot; there were huge rocks and caves on the hill they chose as their campsite, as well as LOTS of deer bones. Now they knew where that mother cougar had dragged the boys' kill. They decided to move their tent, just in case she was still nearby.

1980
Nov. 22

Shenandoah Co., VA

Rte. 655, 2 miles into North Mountain.

Early morning

Clarence B

Heard in pine & hardwood hollow. Confirmed later that day by nearby resident.

1980
Spring, probably April

Loudoun Co., VA

Rte 690 near Philamont

Donna D

Large cat, tawny color, long tail

1979
July 31

Shenandoah Co., VA

Massanutten Mtn., 3 mi. N or more on Signal Knob Trail from Elizabeth Furnace

Doug P

Cat-like walk; thought it was a deer until tail was seen, not bushy, but cat-like.

1978
Dec. 19
Blue Ridge Summit, PA Cougar Sighting / Mrs. C. M. and husband
While sitting in their home at 7:17 AM, looking out a picture window over their snow covered land, they watched a large doe grazing along a narrow foot trail. Suddenly a large greyish-brown cat leaped down out of a tree onto the doe. The cat brought it down, but the doe managed to escape and took off. The cat was identified by Mrs. C. Mack and her husband as a cougar from pictures provided by John Lutz, EPRN. They contacted a local game warden who examined the area, found traces of blood but no deer or mountain lion, and classified the event as the work of a mountain lion. New residents continue to hear and observe offspring of that 1978 puma.
[CQ-VA Editorial Note: CQ-VA Honorary Director, John Lutz, with more than 30 years cougar research as founder and President of EPRN, confirms this story and believes that the animal was a puma.]

1978
Early Aug

Clarke Co., VA

Rte. 632 (1.5 mile in off Rte. 7)

Betty L

- saw long tail; size of a large dog (larger than fox and bobcat)

- on road at night.

Previous to this, Jack & Betty L heard what they thought may have been a mountain lion early in the morning.

1978
April to August

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Rappahannock Co., Keyser Run Area, Thorton Fike Trail, Old Hull School, Beaver Dam, 10 yards SE of Pond, C.C.

Tracks found repeatedly in this area April through August 1978

1977
Nov. 25

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Browns Gap Fire Road, near old dump

12:00 Noon, misty about 40 degrees F

R Family

Large cat with long tail (18"-20"), greyish brown about 18" high. About 2 feet long excluding tail. Did not show fear. Trotted purposefully down fire road for about 300 yards and then up a faint path.

1977
Aug. 25

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Dark Hollow Falls Trail at Skyline Drive

9:15 PM, clear & cold

Harry W

Animal tan in color & long tail. Animal crossed road east to west. Stopped car to get a better look, but animal disappeared into woods.

1977
June 26

Blue Ridge Pkwy, VA

between Buena Vista & Skyline Dr.

8:00 AM, partly sunny

Ike & Phyllis T

About the size of a small German Shepherd dog, but longer body, shaped like a cat. Long curved tail, rather large feet. Walked across road, then ran into woods.

1977
May 13

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

100 yards south of Lewis Mt. Campground

8:55 PM, just before thunderstorm

Alice D. & Joseph C. D, Jr.

Saw large animal crossing the "Drive" about 3 car lengths ahead of us going from west to east, lighted by pick up truck head lights. It was walking, not running. It’s length from head to tail was a little less than width of pavement lane (approx. 6’). It was about 2’ high, that is the back or shoulders. It had a long tail that hung low with a swoop upwards and a smallish head with a short muzzle and round ears. It’s all-over color was tan with no distinctive markings. "It reminded me of a small leopard without spots. I believe it was a mountain lion." It had short hair.

Observers have seen several bobcats and feel familiar with them. Animal’s color was lighter than illustration in Peterson’s Field Guide To Mammals. Tail description, "looked like if you grabbed it, you would feel meat / muscle, rather than fur." "Fur length not longer than a German Shepherd dog, perhaps about that long or shorter."

1975
Oct. 4

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

½ mile N. of Big Meadows

11:00 AM, clear, cool

Marylin L

Light brown cat. 3-4 foot body. Long tail, short ears. Crossed highway from west to east, from low land to high land

1975
Sept. 9

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

mile post 23

9:45 AM, clear

James D. C

The cat had a long tail. Was reddish blond in color. Dark around ears and tip of tail. Weight approx. 60 lbs.

1975
July 6

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

mile post 63.6

11:10 PM, clear with light rain

Rob Y & John T (Park Rangers)

While on patrol, driving north, we observed a large yellowish-tan animal cross the road approx. 100’ directly in front of us (east to west). Although we only saw the animal for a brief instant, we both agreed it had all the characteristics of a puma. The animal was large: approx. 60 lbs. or more, much larger than a bobcat. The animal was cat-like in it’s physical structure and body movement. John T observed a long tail and the animal was short haired. The animal was short legged, yet long in contrast to a deer or bobcat. In approx. 3 bounds, it crossed the road and ran up a steep embankment into the woods and rocky area. We attempted to observe it with spotlights and flashlights with no success. The following day, we returned to the area and searched for tracks but were unable to locate any, mostly due to the rocky terrain. Both of us have patrolled the "Drive" during darkness hours very frequently, and have observed many bobcats and probably all other related wildlife in the past.

1975
Sept. 28

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

10 minutes N. of Skyland Lodge

11:00 AM

Dean B

In the middle of the road, then over a low stone wall. He was honey-colored and about the size of a German Shepherd dog.

1974
Aug. 13

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Hawksbill area

12:00 midnight, clear

Mike A

Large cat crossed the drive. At first thought it was a dog, but with it’s long tail and bounding movement in crossing the road, was sure it was a puma.

1974
Aug. 7

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

mile post 37.5

O Family

They seemed positive the animal was a puma because they noticed specifically the exceptionally long tail and large body of the animal. They further stated they had lived & traveled a lot in the Rocky Mountains region and knew a puma when they saw one.

1974
Aug. 6

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Cabin at Skyland Lodge

2:00 AM

Skyland Employee

Sounded like a baby crying. Employee stated she had a good enough look at the animal to say positively it was larger than a bobcat, had a very long tail, and was a yellowish-brown color. She frightened it away with a flashlight.

1973
June 5 & 6

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Skyline Drive, mile post 90

9:30-10:00 AM, fair, fair

John R. (Park Ranger)

On two consecutive days, visitors have reported seeing what they called a bobcat crossing the road. Later, their description of the animal – very long tail, size of a collie dog, solid brown color - indicated it could have been a puma.

1973
April 28

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

on trail from upper Hawksbill parking lot to crest

2:30 PM, moderate, cloudy

Mr. & Mrs. Richard S. D

Man & wife who are familiar with SNP sighted an exceptionally large feline with smooth dun-colored coat, long smooth whip-like tail and flat face about 25 yards ahead of them on trail. Round ears – no tufts. Size about 40 inches excluding tail. Weight about 60-70 pounds. "About the size of a young German Shepherd dog, only it was definitely feline, both in shape & movement."

1968-1970

Frederick Co., VA

Panther: Peggy R, (Siler / Collins Grocery, Property Owner) Our son G was coming up to the cabin one night when a panther crossed the road in front of his car. He came in excitedly reporting the shining amber eyes in the night-black cat with a long tail. A couple years later, my husband C was showing a prospective buyer a piece of property nearby when they looked up at the limestone overhang on the bluff to see a panther stretched out in the sun looking back at them. C said he thought that having a panther on the property would surely nix the sale. But, the buyers were delighted with the resident wildlife, including "their" panther, and quickly wrote out the deposit check.

1968
Aug. 5

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Skyline Drive, mile post 95

Morning, clear weather

Joseph S

Crossed Skyline Drive & "bounded" up bank and disappeared. Had long tail. Man said he knows bobcats & recently observed pumas in zoo. Emphasized it was not a bobcat.

1967
Aug. 2

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Skyline Drive, 4 miles North of Big Meadows

Hot

Ranger A (Park Ranger)

Animal described as cougar. Also several visitors reported seeing animal fitting cougar description.

1960
Feb.

Shenandoah Nat’l Park, VA

Rappahanock Co., US Rte. 211, Skyline Drive, east of Panorama

Dusk

Employee of Sullivan Heating Co.

Saw large cat with long tail. Was too large and tail too long to be a bobcat. Tail almost as long as body.

 [End Note from Barbara J. Chaplin, Executive Director, Cougar Quest - Virginia: Cougars are normally reported as tan, tawny, honey-tan, reddish-tan, greyish- tan, light brown. brown, soil-brown  - all using a variety of brown. However, dark colored cougars have been reported in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and elsewhere for many years and are normally called black panthers by their observers. Most scientists believe that a melanin (black) variety is impossible; most cougar research groups immediately dismiss all reports of black-colored cougars. A very small group of scientists and only a very few cougar researchers believe that dark grey / black cougars may be a possible color variation in small pocket populations where inbreeding from too small a resident gene pool results in physical oddities, such as the pugged faces found in the endangered Florida panther population, kinked tails, or dark (melanin) coats. On the other hand, there aren't supposed to be any cougars in the eastern states - none at all. Why then distinguish that there are no black ones if there are also no brown ones? The answer is that no black cougars have been seen in the western states where there are many cougars and a large gene pool - totally different circumstances in my mind. I am open minded to the possibility of black as well as tan / brown colored cougars. I also recognize the very real possibility of color-blindness changing tan to grey and shadows making brown look dark grey / black. To me, personally, all observations from credible eye witnesses are worth noting and mapping to determine clustered locations of possible cougar presence. To some of my CQ-VA colleagues, this attitude is an anathema, and I have been asked to eliminate black panther reports entirely. In an attempt to satisfy all and probably satisfying none, on this web page any "black panther" observation is noted as simply panther or dark cougar / mountain lion. CQ-VA maps do not delineate the color reported; other organization maps may. Only those who read this end note will know that my goal is to locate eastern state cougar populations, whatever the color, wherever they came from, however they got here, and whatever they are eating to survive. Only your scientifically re-confirmable physical evidence will eventually prove whether any cougar survives in the east. Thank you for your interest and assistance in our Quest!]