August 2013 Mountain Lions in Virginia Update | Old Dominion Wildlife

August 2013 Mountain Lions in Virginia Update

August 2, 2013
Ghost in the Night (I think this is actually a firefly)

Ghost in the Night (I think this is actually a firefly)

According to my web stats, mountain lion sighting articles are among the most searched for and looked-at pages on this site. It’s been several months since my last update in March 2013 so here is a listing of new reports I have received. I will do a monthly update going forward.

The following new reports were received by email or via the comments on this site:

From K.C.:

In July 2012, I saw what I believe to be some sort of mountain lion-type animal at Wigwam Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was shortly before sunset and I was photographing the falls when movement at the top of the falls caught my eye. It was light brown; I originally thought it was a deer. It was standing near the top of the falls and then lowered its head and it was then clear that it was not a deer.

From Joshua:

4/12/13 @ 3am Fairfax County Parkway near NCE. Saw a cougar/mountain lion running across the street into a heavily wooded area. Was going slow enough to clearly make out that it was not a deer or a large dog.

From Charlene:

Not sure what has been seen on the property I live on in Roanoke City off Peters Creek Rd, but 2 years ago the property saw a black, cat-like creature darting into the woods not far from the dumpster that is here. Nothing else was seen until today. Again, the property manager was heading towards the back of the property and saw it in the same area as the one she saw before. She said it was definitely bigger than a house cat, was black and had a long tail. When she went to tell someone else that was on the property, he said that he was putting trash in the dumpster when he saw the very same thing. The property I live on consists of 80-some acres, 20-some being developed. There is an abundance of wildlife here. Once when I came home I spotted a herd of 10-12 deer right beside my house. So there’s plenty of food for any big cats roaming around. And yes, again, I live in the city of Roanoke, VA! I wish I had spotted the cat myself so I could give a better description. Perhaps someday soon I’ll see it for myself! But for whatever it’s worth, both of the witnesses are credible. One being a minister. I have no doubt that if they both said they saw it, they saw it.

From Ducknest:

Last year my wife was driving around a pond in Remington and saw a black cat about the size of a labrador retriever on her way to her accountant. She thought it was a dog at first but as it walked away she said it absolutely was a cat. One of our neighbors in Sumerduck just said he saw a black mountain lion as close as 50-100 ft from him. He was scared. That is why I am looking at this thread right now. Looking for possible ideas.

From Joseph H:

Headed north on 28 centerville rd in northern va, just before westfield blvd exit, open field on right…saw a mt.lion as clear as day…no question about it…wow.

From Matt B:

We were recently visiting with a college friend of my wife whose family owns about 300 rural acres near Leesburg. She assured me they have seen a mountain lion on the property on multiple occasions.

From Brandi:

In 2009 i was lying in bed at about midnight when i heard tbis scream/ growl from outside my window. At the time i lived in saltville va. it is actually on the other side of the same mountain were a previous post said he saw one in tumbling creek. i lived about 4 miles from there. after hearing the noise getting closer i woke up my fiance and we went to our bathroom to see if we could see it out the window at that time it let out an awful noise right in front of us and we slammed the window shut. i hate that we didn’t see it. the next morning our neighbor said that his chickens were missing and all he found in the yard was feathers. Other family members in the area have reported hearing the same noise at different times. a cousin of my fiance also said she heard one and that her dogs were so scared that they hid in the corner of the house crying and peed all over the floor.

From John C:

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 no 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 no 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 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.

From John Lutz (Director, Eastern Puma Research Network):

Repeated sightings of what could be a “wild, free-roaming cougar”, have been reported to us across northern Culpeper County, between Amissville, Washington & Chester Gap, Virginia, since May 1st.

Another region of repeated ‘mountain lion sightings” is along U.S. Rte 33, between Rawley Springs, western Rockingham Co, Va and Brandywine in eastern Pendleton Co, WV….just too many sightings by reliable witnesses, to ignore….

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…

From Larry S:

This morning, Mon July 8 @ about ten am my wife Diana and I were talking about nothing in particular when she said “look at that”. She was looking out the window over my shoulder and she had seen an animal running low in the woods. She was describing the animal when it again appeared retracing its path thru the trees and underbrush. Very excited now she said it was a tan colored cat, almost the same color of our Haflinger ponies. Running in long leaps and very was out of my line of sight before I could turn to see it. The net query revealed a few pictures and this site and others that confirmed her siting was not an impossible illusion. We have lived here in Shenandoah County for twenty five years and seen bear, deer innumerable, bobcats, etc. First sighting of a cougar. Along Tumbling Run a hundred yards east of I81. Glad to know they are still among us in spite of what the state may believe. As long as they don’t develop a taste for horse meat! Hope this info makes someones day.

From Scott:

My father saw a black panther near the Humpback vistitor center on the Blue
Ridge Parkway on Saturday 20 july 13.

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21 Responses to August 2013 Mountain Lions in Virginia Update

  1. Jan
    August 3, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Yesterday I saw a mountain lion in Woodbridge. Here is my Facebook status with updates: Westridge Residents: I came upon a mountain lion on Knightsbridge and Eads Ct ! I notified police. Now I’m afraid to walk back home!! Later: Just got back from my walk…I called police as I was walking, stopped at the Assoc. HQ (the guy didn’t believe me), and updated my FB status. It was clearly a mtn. lion. I clearly saw it lying on the walking path ready to pounce. I walked over to the road instead of on the path…then into the yards across from the path to make the call. As I was doing this it got up and walked down the path across Eads then back up. I kept heading toward the school. I clearly saw it’s long-ish, low-to-the-ground body, swishing tail, and prance-like walk. Not a dog. I thought people would at least like to know, but the maintenance guy at HOA said if I took my truck down now, it’d be gone. What’s the use? I also remember 10 yrs or so ago the Mary Hill report and the subsequent capture. Eerily, earlier this morning I took my 3 dogs for a walk and my 1 dog froze just at that spot…in fact he would no longer walk and I literally had to carry him home, since dragging wasn’t working. Now I think he must have sensed or smelled the lion. We do have a lot of deer roaming around here…just yesterday I saw 2 on the other side of my fence in my neighbor’s yard, and over the weekend we saw a mother with 2 fawns right in the middle of the road near our house…they went behind another neighbor’s yard. Mtn. lions apparently hunt deer…it is probably looking for food. Now that so much of their natural territory is ‘built up’ we may have more and more sightings of things like this…
    A friend suggested it was a dog with a lion cut…
    It was definitely NOT a Labradoodle and it did not have a ‘lion cut’/ I understand why people may have a hard time believing me. It ‘pranced’ when it walked, (actually, it kept kind of low to the ground and it’s body kind of moved from side to side with each step),,,it’s legs were wide and short in comparison to its long body size, it’s tail swooshed from side to side– it looked exactly like a female lion.’…there was no ‘mane I don’t need to try to convince anyone–just wanted to put out the word. I’m still stunned that I didn’t get a photo but I was more concerned about reporting it. (I had my iphone in a case on my arm with headphones on playing music. I did not even take the phone out until I was in a yard across the street, after I was far enough away from it that I felt safe enough to make a call. Taking a photo was the last thing on my mind).
    Here’s my Facebook address if you want to see the whole conversation:

  2. Jan
    August 3, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Additionally, another friend and her daughter were running on trails through the woods earlier that morning and heard loud, piercing screams so awful that she called the police! We Googled the sounds mountain lions make and it clearly sounds like a woman screaming! I don’t think that’s a coincidence, do you?!


  3. Melody Windsor
    August 5, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Sylvatus, VA – August 4, 2013
    Just today a friend came to visit and was shaken when she got to our house. She said at the top of our 1/4 mile driveway a huge black cat ran in front of the car from the trees into the field of tall grass. She said she did a double-take cause it was so huge. She said it was a panther and that she saw one in Ivanhoe a few years ago too. We told her there is a black dog we see sometimes and she said it was no dog. We told her there are bears around here… she still insisted it was not a bear, but was a panther.

  4. Andrew H
    August 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I had Heard a few weeks ago from a local In the Mt Rogers area that a Panther had been spotted on his game trail camera.

  5. August 13, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Since March 2013, more new sightings of pumas/mountain lions and panthers have been reported in Shenandoah National Park and along Blue Ridge Parkway & Skyline Drive, then in the previous 15 years. Such incidents are probably the results of SNP Officials listing the possibility for visiting tourists to actually see an American Lion within the park boundaries, after such data began appearing on the n Web-page of Shenandoah National Park. Sightings of big CATS are NOT new in Shenandoah National Park. The 1st CONFIRMED tracks of a wild cougar were found in 1959. I Would like to hear from local citizens or out-of-state visitors, who have seen/reported a wild lion in SNP or anywhere in Virginia since the 1940s…if you do NOT wish to go public with your incident, send it to:

  6. August 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you all for your comments. Jan, I see this write-up describes the Westridge sighting:

    Did you take it down from your FB page?

  7. August 20, 2013 at 6:29 am

    I had several reported sightings by neighbors two years ago north of Keezletown,VA. The sightings occurred over a few months period. After that there have been no more sightings that I’ve heard of. One sighting was what appeared to be a mother and two cubs. All of the neigbors have lived in the area all their lives and I consider them to be very reliable,experienced outdoors people. I had several cameras in the area but never got any pics.

  8. Michelle Natale
    September 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    September 16,2013 9 pm..Cross junction, Va

    I was driving home tonight and I saw a long tawny animal with a long tail sneak into the woods as it crossed the road. This is a mountainous area.
    It was neither a deer, nor a fox. It had a long tail and a substantial hind rump.
    I will post again if I see any more activity.

  9. Paul C
    October 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Vienna, VA. Had a mountain lion in the back yard field of my townhouse in March.

    My girlfriend and I both could see it walking beside the fence 30 yards from us. It was clearly not a dog because of its long tail. It was a light brown/blonde color. Low to the ground but definetly a thick animal. There was no doubt to either of us of what we were seeing. I proceeded to call Police and Animal Control only to be told that Mountain Lions/ Cougars do not live in this area.

    This was a big cat no doubt we got beasts rolling around NOVA.

  10. Rick Wagner
    October 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    There are no black cougars. There has never,ever been a black cougar recorded in North America. Any black animal seen will not be a cougar. I have followed this subject for many years. I believe the cats are here. They are not black, though. We do have a LOT of black bears, I see them fairly often in the boondocks.

  11. Dewain Narron
    November 13, 2013 at 6:13 am

    my son on Sunday the 10th was on a trail in Surry Va just outside of Claremont Va when he saw what he believes to be a cougar about the height of a German Shepard walk across a path it was a was from him he said the tail appeared to be as long as the body it was brown with some black on the tail.

  12. January 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm


    My name is Gary Williamson. This morning as I was getting ready for church,I looked out a window in my bedroom and saw a large cat standing still on the edge of a field beside our house. it was approx. 4 ft. long in the body, with a 2 ft tail curved on the end and was yellow with white on his stomach. This animal had the size and shape of a panther. It stood about 2 ft at the shoulders. I called my wife to the window for her to see. I instantly ran for my camera. While I was getting it, my wife watched as the large cat started to walk toward our house across the open field with grass only a couple inches tall. He turned to his left slightly and went behind a hedge row where we lost sight of him. the sighting was at 10:50 AM and lasted until 11:00AM. I have not gone to the scene in case there are footprints along the edge of the field or behind the hedge row.

  13. Ryan
    March 2, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Cougar screams heard coming from lake accotink park in springfield v.a

  14. Mimsie
    May 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Our family will never forget seeing a cougar/mountain lion on Skyline Drive in May 2000. It was late afternoon. We were driving slowly because there were so many deer, we didn’t want to hit one, or miss seeing them either. Suddenly a large brown cat with a long tail leaped across the road in front of our car, going from the right side to our left, jumping over the small stone wall that edges the parkway, and disappearing. You could tell he was as surprised as we were. It was not a bobcat–we have seen those before. We are 100% sure it was a mountain lion.

  15. jim lynch
    September 23, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Saw a cougar in Dunn Loring Woods development immediately behind Dunn Loring Metro crossing street fifteen feet in front of me. L was walking my miniature long haired dachshund who would not stop barking. It appears as a blur on my security camera on 2014-09-22 at 04:21:54 am. It kept its long tail up in the air and ran close to the ground. I have the camera set to 8 frames a second and it took 6 frames to cross the street (less than one second). So, it you want to get a usable picture I would recommend 64 frames a second or faster…

  16. Mariah
    October 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    9/6/14-I was driving through surry near proctors bridge rd very lost and scared as I’m from Portsmouth. I was trying to get to my sisters house in Windsor and made a bad turn I guess around 6. It was bright and as I came around a bend I saw straight ahead in the middle of the road sat a big black cat. I thought at first it was a bear bc it was black but when it turned to leap into the field it had a long thick tail. I was sure at that moment I had just seen a panther in Surry County VA

  17. Jeff
    June 26, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Large 7 foot mountain lion spotted just outside Lexington Va in Rockbridge County

    My wife spotted a large mountain lion chasing a rabbit as both the lion and the rabbit crossed the gravel road near our home 1 1/2 miles from the south city limits of Lexington Va

  18. April 14, 2017 at 12:41 am

    I saw a big cat crossing the back road in front of me near Nottoway Falls in Lunenburg county. Pretty sure it was a panther, not a cougar at all. Long body, big head, it filled over half the road in length. I am sure of what I saw, those who know the area can attest to lots of tree cover and plenty of deer. It was on The Falls road in a bottom near the old Marshalltown store.

  19. Mimsie
    February 4, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    I will never forget the mountain lion my husband and I and our children saw about 20 years ago on Skyline Drive. The speed limit is 30 mph so we were driving along slowly with very little traffic on a Sunday afternoon in spring, late afternoon. As we rounded a bend, a mountain lion jumped from the right side of the road, bounded very low to the ground and over the low stone wall to our left. By the color, size and long tail with the curl at the tip we knew what it was. Certainly NOT a bobcat or a lynx–we know what those look like. We were stunned, it happened so fast, but there was no doubt in all the passengers’ minds what we had seen.

  20. Gwen
    August 7, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    I saw a large tan animal with a tail, legs like a mountain lion attacking something (a rabbit I think) in a grassy area on the edge of a soybean field in Northumberland County VA. I watched it “tussling” with the animal, jumping, twisting and rolling with it for a few seconds. I had my dogs so I yelled at it to see if it would look up or stop. It did stop and look up and just kind of stared at us for a few seconds. It then turned and ambled back through the soybeans to the tree line of the wood. It moved like a cat, its legs looked more like a cats than a dogs and the head looked like a cats head. It was too far away to be sure but it definitely moved like a cat not a dog.

  21. Stan Seymour
    October 21, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I have a partial picture of what we believe is a cougar. Camera is at 32” and only partial. We had another picture of just a long short hair, curled tail which we dismissed.

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