March 2013 Virginia Mountain Lion Update | Old Dominion Wildlife

March 2013 Virginia Mountain Lion Update

March 23, 2013

Eyes in the Night (probably deer)

Eyes in the Night (probably deer)

Here is a roundup of a recent mountain lion reports and opinions:

From K.A.:

In mid-Dec. 2012 we heard frightening cats screams in our woods, like nothing we have ever heard before. Our house cats were terrified. Yesterday my husband saw the paw prints and are having them analyzed. Powhatan, Va.

From L.K.:

I live outside of the village of Orlean, Virginia on 10 acres which is a very small homesite in this rural area. About 9pm on December 14th, I was walking my dogs behind my house at the edge of woods when I heard something I had only heard on TV. It sounded like a VERY large cat but I wasn’t sure. My husband played several calls on his computer for me to identify. About the fifth one, he played the exact call that I heard. Only then did he tell me I had identified a couger.

From D.C.:

There is a mountain lion caught on a game cam dragging a 8 point buck in mendotta, Va. Personally seen

From Zak:

Reports of Mountain Lion in Grundy, Va

From Michelle:

A mountain lion was spotted recently in Cross Junction, VA. I did not see it…but the news was reported in our community newsletter.

From Laurie:

I saw a mountain lion along hwy. 7 near Bluemont, VA in Nov. 2012. I was on my way to the Obama/Clinton/Dave Matthews rally. At first, I thought it was a dear, but as I approached, could see that it was a mountain lion. It was crouching underneath the guard rail. I’m assuming there may have been some road kill there. I could see the muscles in it’s shoulders.

From Nathan:

I have not seen a big cat but I certainly heard what I believe to have been a cougar in August 2012 in the woods behind my house. I have a hard time believing it could have been anything but a big cat.

I live in southern Franklin County, VA and frequently see coyotes and recently had a very large black bear walk out of the woods and right up my driveway. So, the predators, and prey, are plentiful. No doubt a cougar could be fat and happy around here.

From Cat:

My husband saw one in the back of our field in 2007 in Jeffersonton – which is not very far from Amissville. I firmly believe that we are in a mountain lion’s territory and that they exist here in Northern Culpeper/Fauquier/Rappahannock county. I don’t believe what the Wildlife officials state in dismissing the existence of Mountain Lions/Cougars/Panthers in our Commonwealth. They deny the existence because they would then qualify for endangered species status and would need habitat to be maintained.

I think that the re-introduction of elk and wolves into the Commonwealth points to the knowledge that Wildlife officials have of Mountain Lions in our area. Wolves and bears are two of the only “predators” of the mountain lion. Also, they never caught the mountain lion and black panther that were sighted outside of Andrews AFB years ago so we may have black panther DNA reintroduced into the area as well.

From Luke:

I’m from abingdon va and do a lot of fishing around tumbling creek. Me and a friend was wading up the river and the fish was bitting good in one area so we stopped for an hour or so and there was a tree that fell in the river about ten yards from me when I saw what I kno was a mt lion jump up on the tree walk down to the water got a drink and walked back up in the woods. Very scary.

From Sarah:

I was at my father-n-law’s in Dickenson County and sitting on the porch one night and a very large black cat what I consider a Panther walked right around the front of the porch sneaking around to the side. The very next day the dogs were going crazy and it was screaming up in the woods behind the house.

And one from the skeptical point of view…

From Richard:

Sorry, but I respectfully don’t believe it. I do suppose there could be the occassional released or escaped pet, but not a population. Cougars are treed by dogs. Its how they are hunted.
with the number of dogs running and treeing animals in Virginia in the hunting seasons, don’t we suppose at least one in the past 30 years would have been treed? Eyes play tricks.

See Also:

December 2012 Update

Are Eastern Cougars Extinct or Not?

Free Eastern Mountain Lions Book

Mountain Lion Book Reviews


24 Responses to March 2013 Virginia Mountain Lion Update

  1. June 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Is a single wild cougar roaming free across central Virginia?? That question continues to haunt this veteran cougar researcher, who has responded to dozens of citizen & professional observations since Summer 2004, when tracks were ID. Since March 2012, at least 1 PUMA has repeatedly been reported in Chesterfield, Amelia, Surry, Sussex, Essex, Suffolk, Middlesex, Gloucester & King William Counties. Further South, motorists have reported seeing cougars along U.S. Rte 17 in North Carolina’s Great Dismal Swamp which could account for the sightings in SE Virginia’s Tidewater Counties…

  2. Larry Campbell.
    July 31, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    I’m from Allegheny County Virginia. 2 days ago my friend was checking his trail cam What was on there truly amazed Him.It was a mountain lion.And apparently the big cat Has been attacking goats.This is not the first report of the mountain lion that I have to contribute.A few years ago My friend had me a Kodak picture Of a white mountain lion That he took on Potts mountain.2 years ago my brother Joe,my step dad and a fsmily friend went on A hunting trip on Peters mountain.It was late at night They were coming off the mountain.When this big cat comes at them.They shine the spotlight at itAnd it was a mountain lion.They spooked it off.the cougar followed them out of woods until they got to the vehicle

  3. David Earnest
    August 9, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    My wife and I were driving down Love Road from the Blue Ridge Parkway on Aug.8,2013 at about 6PM. A Very large cat came out of the bush on the left of my truck and quick walked across the road in front us. The light was good there was no fog or shadow or any of the ways to excuse this sighting. It took about 3 to 4 seconds for it to cross the road. He or she was right in front of the truck and this was no Bobcat. I reported this to the fellows that work at B&R grocery and they told me that he had been seen a number of times in that area. This is about 5 miles above Sherando Lake. The cat was a golden brown or tan. Very large and healthy looking. Dave.

  4. Paul
    August 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I saw what was clearly a mountain lion drinking from a bird bath in the High Knob neighborhood in Front Royal, VA. September of 2011 and again 2 days later near where the AT crosses CCC Road in Linden. These areas are only a few miles apart. I haven’t seen another before or since in this area.

  5. t. huffman
    September 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    No doubt. I saw one tonight at approximately 10 pm on I 77 Fancy Gap grade. 25 year LE veteran.

  6. Eric
    October 10, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    10/08/13 I heard appox. 25 yards from my deck clearly a frightened mountain lion in the Gore, Va area. Some say bobcats sound like a baby crying. This certainly was larger than a baby…………

  7. Al
    October 14, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I saw one, I don’t remember the year but I will never forget where. It was eating a roadkill deer very near Prince William Forest Park and Quantico MCB. I was driving home from work and it looked up at me from the deer carcass when I was about 200 yards away. I noticed something special in the way its eyes moved up from the road and fixated on my headlights. When I was closer, maybe 75 yards and closing it stood up and turned sideways to me. Then it gently jumped over the ditch into the woods. The animal was pretty massive to be moving with such grace. The tail was as long as the body – it was nearly as big around as a soda can and moved like a big rope to balance the body as it leaped the ditch and landed softly on the other side.

  8. Al
    October 14, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    For clarification, I think it was around 2007 when I saw mine, somewhere between 2005 and 2007 based on where I was living and working when I saw it.

  9. Sherando Girl
    December 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I have lived in Sherando/Love for 36 years and have never seen a Mountain Lion..

  10. Jeffrey Mohr
    December 15, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    @ sherando Girl, I live in Montebello VA, just up the Parkway from Sherando/Love. I have a photo of a Mountain Lion during daylight taken back in October 2013. Anybody thats want to see the pic can email me at The Parkway is protected federal land with thousands of acres of no hunting pressure. @ the people who say the dogs run during deer season… Not in Nelson County. Most dog hunters train their dogs for a specific animal deer/bear/coon/etc, so they wont track a Mt. Lion unless they were trained to do so.

  11. diane turner
    February 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Two black cat sightings seen in faber/ twin populars. Possibly same cat. Large cat very large my friend says.

  12. Cindy
    June 2, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Saw a cougar walking in the street in front of our house. Tawny grey sleek cat, body around 3′ long, with sleek tail longer than body carried low and curled up. Around 9:30 am, Lynchburg, va, near Bedford county.

  13. steven campbell
    June 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    yes there are mountain lions in the southwest Va area last deer season i saw a mountain lion crossing a creek bebed, at first sight looking through my scope i thought it may have been a fox due to its long tail i realizd quick that it wasnt a fox and had a long brownish tail weaving behind it,then it had jumped three feet to the bank then began to walk up a dead tree this was near mendota va on the clinch mountain people be ware they are out there theyl track deer as you are tracking them also so be very carefull of your sourroundings

  14. Chris
    August 31, 2014 at 9:03 am

    In 2012 we were in Blacksburg for a VT football game in Nov. After the game we were planning a weekend at the Homestead in Hot Springs. We followed our vehicle GPS directions which lead us off the major roads into the mountains at night. Because of the small road, darkness and deep drop offs we were going slow, as we slowly came around a turn my g-friend saw a large cat on the rocks jump up a rock to a ledge and vanished into the darkness. She saw the cat, I caught the movement of something large jumping.

  15. Scotty martin
    September 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    September 4 my son checked his trail camera and to our surprize there appear to be a cougar on it. I have heard stories of them but never seen one here where i have lived all my life. The camera as three good pictures of the cougar. I live in henry county virginia.

  16. John W
    January 10, 2015 at 8:04 am

    I have a farm in Fluvanna County.i’ve been here for 20 years and a avid outdoorsman since childhood.In the summer of 2012 about 7pm I was looking out the back window at a turkey with my binoculars.The turkey was approx 150 yards behind the house.I’m always looking out in the fields when inside and see countless deer,turkeys,coyotes,and an ocassional bear.
    Back to the story-while watching the turkey,a large black cat came into view,just trotting along.I questioned what I was actually seeing.I asked myself,is that a dog,no,black coyote,’s tall,long with a long tail.I know what i saw without a shadow of a doubt,100 percent.The cat probably came within 40 yards of the turkey but oddly did not pay any attention to it,just kept trotting into the woods.
    I’ve told quite a few people.I know they are here !

  17. Tom M.
    June 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I have seen tracks and seen many pics from trail cams. The cats run the coyotes off or eat them, so the couple of large farmers I know don’t mind them at all. It does cause me to carry some 00 buckshot with me when I’m grouse hunting! they stay away from people, unlike CA where developments have encroached upon their domain. If one wanted to attack a person you probably wouldn’t know it till it had you on the ground anyway! when you see a big big cat that has a tail as long as it’s body you will become a believer.

  18. Rob
    September 24, 2017 at 1:20 am

    I have seen two in va. Once in the Shenandoah region, and again in Franklin county. Both times I was in close proximity to the animal, and both times they didnt give me a moments glance. Personally I’ve known small and large cats my entire life so I attribute my good fortune to this…however, my experience proves to me that if the eastern cougar population is indeed coming black, our encounters with the animal can be without consequence. If you understand and respect the animal, you are likely to be left alone(same goes with any animal especially large mammalian predators whom we share similarities in primal psychology and biology)…unless it is sick, threatened, protecting young, starving, or competing with you for food, most predators will leave you alone. No predator from my experience wants to waste time screwing around with something that could injure or kill it when there are plenty of elk and deer to take down. If they are back and thankfully not extinct(and from my experiences, they are in fact still around) they should be respected and protected. My experience tells me in essence: “dont be a retard and you wont be attacked” to put it bluntly…People should be vigilant about their return and be educated. But nobody should panic, nor should they instigate the desire to hunt and kill the animals if they are indeed breeding in va again. Keep in mind that any sightings including my own could be of transient lions whom are moving due to loss of habitat in western regions or possibly due to prey migration or unaccounted factors.

  19. Seer92
    November 25, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I’m from Amelia county va and in 1992 I seen a cougar full size with a brown tip tale came out of the tall brown grass and was getting ready to cross the road unto a big farm area not to far from the bluegrass campground. it was coming from out of the appomattox river area.

  20. David
    December 6, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I saw one in 2010 on Goodview rd in Bedford county at 430 am. I was on my way to work and it was eating something dead on the side of the road. I saw it from a long distance as I was driving towards it, I slowed down nearly to a stop and pulled up within 15 feet of it. It glanced at me and pounced over a fence. It was strange and so surreal but it was definitely a cougar because it had a long tail and it was huge one. I saw it clear as day right next to me. About 7 miles from there in 1999, we found cougar tracks in the snow directly behind my uncle’s home in Stewartsville. They were larger than my hand. I took pics of my hand next to the tracks and sent them to wildlife management. They told me that the only cougars in va would be escaped pets, and potential offspring of them. Either way, they are out there.

  21. Kathy Torres
    February 9, 2018 at 4:06 am

    I saw one tawny in color on the side of the road on RT. 460 in Tazewell County, Virginia near Pounding Mill. It was around 6:30 pm in November of 2016. It appeared to Had just stepped out of a field and upon seeing traffic was turning back into the brush. My daughter and I got a good look at it. It was a large, beautiful creature. No bobcat.

  22. Susan llove
    July 24, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    My husband and I live in quiet neighborhood with large wooded lots. There is also a sanctuary just down the street We live in Deep Creek , Virginia with Swamp and canal all around US. We were leaving house in the middle of the day, when my husband said where did that big dog come from? We were still a block or two away as this huge tan cat crossed the street to the sanctuary.I told my husband that that was no dog it was a cougar or mountain lion , whichever you call it. He took his time crossing the road while we waited. He came from an area that has a small pond. I believe the cat must go back there to drink. I had heard neighbors say that their 2aS a mountain lion out here, but did not believe it.I do now!!

  23. james breeden
    October 26, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    I have never seen a mountain lion in the wild. However, I am an avid outdoors enthusiast and grew up in the mountains of Virginia. I don’t doubt the majority of the people who say they saw a mountain lion did see one as they say they did. I understand that there could be a few cases of mistaken identity, but the amount of evidence that supports they are in VA in my opinion way surpasses the claims that gov’t officials make that they are not or that they were someone’s released pets. You could have a few released pets, but to me, that’s a political press release and in essence you are calling all of these eyewitnesses stupid. I don’t think so. They were never exterminated and their population is increasing, just look at the deer, bear and bald eagle populations now in the state.

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