Mountain Lions in Virginia Reports (June 2017-April 2018) | Old Dominion Wildlife

Mountain Lions in Virginia Reports (June 2017-April 2018)

May 2, 2018

Here are the mountain lion sighting reports I have received during the last 10 months:


E. Huff writes on 7/5/2017:

Today is July 5th 2017.One week ago a customer in McLean VA reported a cat larger than a German Shepherd.Mr Jacobs stated that it was in his back yard at night and a bad odor was also noticed. 7005 Arbor La is the house number. Thanks E A Huff.

J. Lutz writes on 7/9/2017:

On information from very reliable sources, what can be described as an adult mountain lion/cougar, occurred early morning of June 19th along Guest Creek in Wise Co., Va, east of Norton along northern perimeter of Jefferson National Forest.

Peggy R. writes on 7/14/2017:

In the afternoon on July 11 my husband and I saw a large dark beige/brown animal with a very long bushy tail, longer legs similar to a coyote and a round head run across our orchard and driveway from one cornfield to the other. Not a deer, not a dog, not a cat nor a bobcat! We have seen mountain lions/pumas before both in zoos and in the wild in Utah and believe that is what we saw despite the DGIF claims that there are none in the east. We also saw the same kind of animal on our farm several years ago here in Hustle, Va. In Essex County.

It moved too quickly to get a picture so this sighting will go the way of others as “unsubstantiated”.

I’m A Believer writes on 8/15/2017:

August 13th 2017 My husband and nephews spotted one on the way to Big Island from Bedford VA – in a field beside a cow pasture. They turned the car around to get a second look and it picked up something white and ran into the woods – they said the tail was huge.

Deborah S. writes on 9/5/2017:

I live in Bedford County, VA. On Saturday, September 2nd, I was driving on the gravel road very near my house. A large cat came from the right side of the road and walked in front of my car – roughly 30 yards ahead. I saw it very vividly because it was not in a hurry at all. I know with certainty that it was a large cat – I estimate around 70 lbs. Once it crossed the road, I could not spot it in the woods. I wish now I would have looked in the trees more since that is where it probably went.

Jonathan D. writes on 9/16/2017:

I believe I just saw a mountain lion in Haysi, VA

Tan with white underbelly, large with cat like face.

It was 10pm.

Rob writes on 9/24/2017:

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.

Frankie writes on 9/28/2017 (skeptical viewpoint):

If there were cougars there would be trail cam footage by now . Do you know how many trail cams are out there? A lot. People are seeing bobcats and coyotes or even large house cats . People believe that there are cougars and believe that they saw a cougar because they want to believe cougars are out there. They want to believe they saw a cougar because it’s the more interesting thing to believe and makes a better story. They aren’t here .

Johnny Lutz writes on 10/6/2017:

If anyone has been able to get a legitimate picture of an alleged cougar-mountain lion-puma, (all 1 and the same eastern American Lion), known for well over 150 years, to inhabit most states, east of the Mississippi River, we would like to hear from you at Our base of operations is located in Grant County, WV, but we have traveled extensively across the Appalachian Mountains from Waycross, Georgia to Bangor, Maine, seeking ‘REAL’ sightings. We are well aware of the 100s, if NOT the 1,000s of fake sightings and pictures being circulated on the internet…..We publish a Tri-yearly newsletter, “Eastern Puma Network News” within a reasonable time frame of 1st of March, July and November…..USPS Mailing Address: Eastern Puma Research Network, P.O. Box 313, Maysville, WV 26833

Over the last 18-months, multiple large cats with sweeping extended tails have been reported across Virginia from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware to the Alleghany Mountains…..

Dena C. writes on 10/14/2017:

I live in bedford county near jeters mountain We have very secluded wooded land with a creek running through. The banks of the creek are very steep and the trees are so dense it always looks dark. I saw a large cat on the edge of our mowed land and the wooded land. What I noticed was the long thick tail. I did not research this until my orange tabby disappeared. He was a big cat 21 lbs and loved to hunt at night. I had no idea the cougar or mountain lion was rare here. I know it was not a coyote or bob cat. Just saying. I spotted him around 6:10 am

Robert Q. writes on 10/23/2017:

I live about three miles east of hillsville va, in a rural wooded area. About 9 A M on october 22 I was pilling up some brush in a wooded area near my house. I saw a very large cat about the size of a medium size dog with a long sweeping tail about 50 feet from me passing through the trees. He saw me and slowly moved off. The woods are rather dark, but what I saw appeared to be black.

Mark W. writes on 11/8/2017:

About 3 years ago I lost my dog near Flint Hill Virginia.I was staying at my cousins place on the Eastern Edge of Shenandoah Park near the base of Mount Marshall. I went to the neighbors to see if they had seen my dog and during the conversation I joked about worrying that he (the dog) might get eaten by a Mountain Lion if I didn’t find him before dark. The neighbor than told me that a month before, they had seen a Mountain Lion in the field in front of their house slowly walking along the wood line. They had no doubt what it was, light colored, about 3 feet tall, long tail.At first they couldn’t believe it but said there was no question it was a mountain lion.

Alison L. writes on 11/11/2017:

They have been in Fauquier county VA for years. Mother and baby killed all of my geese. Have been seen and heard plaster casts of tracks taken nov 2017. The tracks were 30 from my house and 15 feet from my car. They are here and the authorities know it. Bobcat my butt A bobcat doesn’t have tracks four inches wide!!!!

Seer92 writes on 11/25/2017:

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.

Cecile B. writes on 12/4/2017:

December 4, 2017 – My two sisters were visiting my mother today at Elm Park Estates, in Roanoke Virginia, across from Tanglewood Mall. They had walked her down the hall and out of the window, both saw a huge tan (too big to be a domestic cat) lion looking cat walking across the sidewalk. It was tan with a long tail and a black face about 70 or 80 pounds. They have contacted the Forestry Department and the Roanoke county animal control. They both know what they saw and it wasn’t a fluke. There are mountain lions around.

David writes on 12/6/2017:

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.

Tawyna R. writes on 12/8/2017:

I saw a rather large mountain lion this morning when I went out my front door, over in my neighbor’s yard. I live on College Avenue in Harrisonburg. It was amazing! It made a sound, and ran away when It saw me. It had a light brown to reddish color, with a tail about as large is a small tree trunk that swooped down to the ground, and then curved upwards.

Darlene writes on 12/13/2017:

Today’s date is December 13,2017. So, last night I opened the kitchen door to let my German Shepherd out. My deck was still pretty covered from all the snow we had this week. I noticed everything on the deck was tossed around and thought there was no way the wind blew it around that bad. Even a large tarp had been pulled off a mattress & box-springs set that I had tucked in all the way around to ensure they were secure from the weather. The huge umbrella to my patio table had been moved from one side of the deck to the other. What I noted most were the huge paw prints that were larger than my son’s hands and my son is a really big man. The prints left imprints all the way through the snow and to the wood. This morning I let my dog out, who by the way weighs over 100 lbs. He spotted the paw prints and investigated them leaving his own prints behind that barely made an indentation in the snow and were about 1/4th the size of these huge paw prints. There was also a set of smaller paw prints identical to the larger ones. So I’m thinking mama and baby out looking for food. Now what kind of mama and baby I’m not sure. I did take pic’s and intend to hand them over to the right people. Though I’m up a bit in the country I’m still only 3 miles from town and a rural area. I’m thinking folks need to know we have at least 2 big cats on the prowl.

Leighton writes on 12/17/2017:

I have seen a big black cat that looked like a black panther Virginia . It’s Body was almost 3ft in length and tail close to the length of its body it was about out 24 inches tall. Ran out in front of me while I was drive between Highland and Bath county Va.

Bo M. writes on 12/18/2017:

on 12/17/17 I was coming home from fishing at the Cowpasture River around 4:15pm with my family. On the way home on Deerfield Valley Rd. about 3miles from Rt. 250 in West Augusta county I saw what I thought was a bear coming out of a stand of pines headed to a pond close to the woods. I stopped on the road to get a good look and to show the kids & my girlfriend. I told my son to get my binoculars out of my hunting backpack. The all black animal was approx. 120yards away slowly walking to pond dam and sat down. We had a good 4minutes to take turns looking threw the binoculars at it. We all said that’s no bear at all. The animal looked to be at least 80-100lbs (at least) then it made a quick run back towards the woods. It was obviously A very Large cat to all of us at that point, there was no mistaking that. I’ve hunted all my life since I was 10years old. I’m 41 now and I’ve never seen what I saw on Sunday evening. Four of us viewed the animal for 4-5 minutes. It was shocking to see.

Jessica F. writes on 1/11/2018:

I seen one today in Ravenswood I couldn’t belive it has to look twice went to grab my phone to take a pic and the cat slipped around the coner of the house be 4 I had time hope it comes back so I can see it again and get a picture so cool

Melissa writes on 1/12/2018:

Approximately 5 years ago I was getting on the Blueridge parkway at the end of 220 in Roanoke. I was headed up to Floyd county.

The 2 cars ahead of me came to a stop and right when I was wondering why they stopped I saw a mountain lion in front of the first car crossing from one side of the road to the other. It moved slowly at a normal pace and was huge! The folks in the other 2 cars along with me watched it cross the road and slink up the bank and into the woods. There was no mistake this was a mountain lion. I now wish I would have taken a picture with my cell because I didn’t realize they were “extinct” in VA!

Cindy writes on 1/24/2018:

While living in Big Island Va.,I encountered a mountain lion (many years ago(1982-83) on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Buena Vista.

Brenda writes on 1/25/2018:

Towards the end of 2014, I was visiting a friend in Heathsville, VA, who lives on an inlet of the Great Wicomico. His home has a large glassed room facing the creek. I was at a table, working on my laptop. I glanced up and saw a deer feeding on the neighbors blueberries, so I watched for a while. Suddenly the deer looked up and froze in place for a few seconds, then bounded away, followed seconds later by a cougar! Chills up the spine and Marlin Perkins theme song playing in my head.

Jason H. writes on 1/29/2018:

Just got done walking my dogs tonight 1/26/2018. We go on wooded side near trees a lot and have seen Foxes, Coyotes, Deer in the woods. This is the first time I ever seen a cat almost as big as my German Shepherd. It had white around it’s mouth like a cougar not a Bobcat. It would not leave either kept going behind things like it stalking us. – Homestead Acres Chesapeake Virginia

Mimsie writes on 2/4/2018:

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.

Kathy T. writes on 2/9/2018:

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.

Coralynn G. writes on 2/17/2018:

2/16/18 7pm white post virginia frederick county…put dog on leash out back and she was barking at pond behind us. I had the deck lights on and saw they were shining on a big tawny colored cat that was going left to right and disappeared into tall grasses of the field. Then I saw another at the back side of the pond drinking at the bank of the pond facing us. It’s eyes were shining from the light looking straight up at us. My dog came back up to me and we went inside. They disappeared slowly into the dark, tall grass. My black lab is 60 lbs and they were half again as big as her. And now she doesn’t want to go out there off the decking.

Mariah R. writes on 2/23/2018:

I was lost in Ivor, VA on White Marsh Rd back in the early spring of 2016 driving down the road while the sun was setting when I saw a black panther sitting upright in the middle of the road. Huge jet black cat leaped over into the brush with a tail as long as its body. I drove up to the spot and looked over expecting to see a black bear trudging off but no it was crouching in the brush. They have travelled up the east coast from FL and are here for the abundant deer population. Good eats for panthers and pumas.

Christina writes on 2/28/2018:

We have seen a mountain lion twice in Brentsville, Va. First time we saw it walking along the deer path near the back woods, it was Memorial Day 2015 at 6 am. 2 years later, we saw it again right around the same time of year. With a 100 mile territory, Only seeing it twice in two years really isn’t odd at all.

Lorrie M. writes on 3/24/2018:

On Sunday morning at app. 3am, I saw what appeared to be a black panther that had just crossed Rt.522 (Zachary Taylor Hwy} app 1 mile South of Chester Gap. Not only did I see it so did a very good friend of mine. I know what I saw and so does she

Pauline G. writes on 3/28/2018:

On Thursday, March 15, 2018, while driving north on the Skyline Drive in the very early afternoon, between Waynesboro (Rock Fish Gap) to Big Meadows (Byrd Visitor Center) we witnessed a large dark colored cat with a very long tail, approximately 4 to 5 feet in length, cross the Skyline Drive approximately 150 feet in front of our car. It had a very fluid and agile movement, coming out of the woods on the left, crossing the drive and going over the stone wall on the right side of the road. We were looking to spot deer and were amazed when the cat appeared in front of us. There was no one around at the time to report the sighting to, as most facilities were still closed for the season.

Faye M. writes on 4/1/2018:

On Friday night March 30, 2018 at 10:30 pm I was sitting in my home in Scott County, VA in the Flatwoods area. I heard a strange sound outside and stepped out to investigate. It was a wild animal call that I had not heard before so I called my aunt to come and listen. I thought it was a mountain lion call so I went inside and played a call on you tube. We both agreed it sounded identical to the mating call of the mountain lion. I learned later that other neighbors have reported hearing this call. The temperature was 35 degrees and the weather was clear.

BAR writes on 4/3/2018:

Relatives spotted a mountain lion outside their house in Hamilton-Loudoun County, not far from Leesburg on 3/23/18. Said it was big, and just stared, until it ran off. Property is partially wooded, and would be considered rural. Cows nearby, as well as chickens, dogs, etc

Nicole G. writes on 4/4/2018:

I saw a mountain lion about a year ago crossing the driveway at my house in Flatwoods, VA. It was beautiful and that’s the only time I have physically seen one but have heard them numerous times later in the evenings.

Lee B. writes on 4/4/2018:

I just saw a mountain lion off on the side of Interstate Route 85 near McKenney Va. at around 11:15 pm.

James C. writes on 4/24/2018:

It’s been approximately 3yrs ago now since I had my encounter with a mountain lion on Highway 16 crossing Walkers Mountain, Rich Valley side. I came around a curve and noticed what at first I believed to be a deer standing in the ditch on my right. Thinking it might jump out in the road in front of me I hit the brake to slow down. It was standing at the base of 10ft or so rock cliff when suddenly it made a leap and scaled the rock face with ease. I knew then it wasn’t a deer. I slammed on the brake to stop right as I passed directly beside and beneath it.I was now only about 15yds from the creature and could clearly see it standing on the ledge looking back at me
There was no doubt whatever I was looking at a 100lb plus cougar. It even in true cat fashion , flicked its 4ft long tail before trotting off up into the timber above the road. This occurred in September approximately 4:30pm.


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13 Responses to Mountain Lions in Virginia Reports (June 2017-April 2018)

  1. Rebecca Pitzer
    June 29, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    My son and I saw a young mountain lion, around 70-100 lbs crossing the road.
    Rockbridge county, Rt 11 about 10 miles north of Natural Bridge, near Buffalo Creek. It was around noon.

  2. Beth H
    July 29, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    I live in wythe county Virginia and my husband coon hunts and I often go with him well one night it was raining and I kept hearing something growling and I told my husband and he kept saying your being negative well by that time the dogs treed so we walked into them and on our way back out we all heard the growl off to the right of us the dogs smelled it and tucked their tails between their legs I YouTubed a mountain lion growl and to a T that is EXACTLY what I heard and what made it worse was a week before that one of the local game wardens had showed my husband a few pics he got on his trail cam that he had over in speedwell va it was pictures of what the game warden said was a black panther which they have been spotted around the wythe county area. So we do have mountain lions and we do have black panthers. They are very large cats and like other animals it is not hard for them to migrate. You don’t believe til you see and most people want to believe that there aren’t any around here but there are.

  3. Mark
    August 4, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Four people in our neighborhood have seen a mountain lion in two separate incidents in the last two weeks. Both sightings were in daylight in good visibility. In the first sighting a zoologist saw it for a few seconds as it came out of the woods near her house. In the second sighting three people (two neighbors) spotted what was probably the same cat trailing deer near their fence line. No photographs nut their descriptions and the fact that one witness is a zoologist leads to the conclusion that this was not any other kind of cat. Our neighborhood is close to the intersection of the 288 and 6 (Patterson) in Henrico, Virginia.

  4. Douglas Campbell
    August 13, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    I spotted a cougar this morning in my neighbor’s driveway, approximety 100 pounds. I live in Powhatan in a neighborhood. I thought nothing of it as I used to see them in Arizona all the time when I lived there. I didn’t realize they were a “unicorn” animal here. People think you are crazy when you tell them.

  5. Mike
    August 31, 2018 at 11:34 am

    I can’t provide picture prof but I’m certain what I saw this morning while driving to work. At 6:40am a very large cat ran in front of my truck off Brown’s Mill Road in Campbell County, VA. The cat and it’s tail was very distinctive as it sprinted across the road and into a soybean field where I lost sight of it after about 30-40 feet. The cat’s body appeared to be roughly 3 feet long and it’s tail was similar in length to it’s body.

  6. Linda Atkinson
    September 19, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    I just saw two huge cats running across the hill in the field next to my house! Botetourt County, I have a large stretch of land next to me. I couldn’t believe it at first, but they were outlined against the yellow field, two huge cats (about the size of a large calf) and they were playing! chasing each other, scampering, so I got a good look at them. They were light brown, and you can tell how a cat moves, I’ve had plenty of cats over the years. Long tail, sleek, short hair, rounded ears, they looked like female lions. I couldn’t believe it at first, I was dumbfounded, then I thought how beautiful they were, then I got scared because my little dog saw them too, he was sniffing the air and then he stiffened and I was afraid he might run after them, so I shouted at him. I scooped up my dog and ran in the house, I wanted to run to the upstairs deck but they were gone. I feel like I have seen such an amazing thing, I’m humbled.

  7. R Carver
    September 28, 2018 at 5:52 am

    Show me a picture or proof of some kind. I always have my phone on me if I see a cougar that’s been extinct over a hundred years in Virginia. I’m gonna take a picture, especially paw prints

  8. Steve
    November 2, 2018 at 11:47 am

    They are confirmed by the authorities to be back in Tennessee.. you know, that state that borders Virginia. To think that mountain lions observe state borders and are just choosing to not cross the border over into Virginia is literally hilarious. Naysayers really just need to try using their brains every once in a while.. it’s simply just basic common sense.

  9. Nelson
    November 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    I live in King William County, Va. I was traveling down Sweet Hall Road around noon today. I had good visibility and the soybean field along side the road I was traveling was just harvested yesterday.

    In the field about 50 yards away, I spotted an animal I had never seen in this area. The animal was black in color, large (70lbs +) with cat like features and movement. The body appeared to be about four to five feet long, a tail about 2.5 to three feet in length but had a longer muscular neck about 1.5 to 2 feet and a round head not much larger than the diameter of its neck.

    The animal was moving over the field at a brisk pace but not running. It stopped for a moment and looked back at my vehicle stopped in the road before continuing on it’s way.

    Phone battery was dead and I was unable to get a photo. This was not a dog, cat or other animal typically seen in this area. I believe it to be a black panther after researching photos online.

  10. Jason
    November 16, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    My sister has a place in Rural Retreat and we have one on camera. It looks identical to a mountain lion or where I live a Florida panther.

    I can tell you that while visiting in May a couple of mid-sized calves had been killed and the hind quarters including the mid-section eaten on one.

    The day after discovering my brother and I were out walking the property and heard what appeared to be two cats growling at one of the kill sites in a bottom of thick vegetation, where one of the calves had been killed. This was the calf that still had the mid-section intact and semi blotted.

    We stopped to listen and heard the cats pop open the carcass and what a smell it was being down wind. We sat there for about 20 minutes, 40 yards up from the bottom and listened to them eating, before slowly backing away.

    Wish I could post the photo here to show the cat caught on the game camera. But like the others here, I can agree they are in Virginia!

  11. Brian Heffner
    November 26, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Brian Heffner
    Rockbridge County
    VDGIF thinks I’m crazy, and some could make a good case out of that, but, I saw what I saw.
    We live on 30 acres of mostly forest. Bounded on the front by the South River and on the back by national forest. A long way to nowhere on the NF boundry.
    Last night, 10:30pm took the 4 wheeler down to level flood plain and river to see, for a friend, if there were deer bedded down there. There usually are.
    Searched all around with lights from 4 wheeler and powerful head light. Saw no deer eyes pop up. Odd.
    On the way back along river, spotted a set of eyes just above river bank, peering from behind a medium size tan log, or so i thought.
    It was strange enough that i shut off the 4 wheeler, got off and walked towards it. As I got closer, medium size tan log moved and stood up, glared at me, i drew my concealed carry (did not want to shoot MOUNTAIN LION!!!!!!!) but it spooked me. I followed it slowly maybe 10 yards.
    I am a 57 yr veteran of the outdoors. Like i said. I SAW WHAT I SAW!!!!!!

  12. Brian Heffner
    November 27, 2018 at 8:42 am

    “Sorry about your black panther party”
    From what I’ve read, a mountain lion is a puma is a cougar is a panther.
    Why do all people that see “black mountain lions” call them black panthrrs?

  13. Courtney
    November 28, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    I was running on a trail in Caledon State Park yesterday afternoon around 2pm in King George, VA. 11/27/2018. And I noticed something moving in the woods to my left about 25 yards away so I stopped and thought it was a deer. It was beige and huge and had a long tail with a dark colored spot on the end and that’s when I saw its face which was a cougar face. I have seen cougars before in Louisiana and in Arkansas while camping in the mountains so I know this is what it was. Needless to say I ran away from it. Probably not the smartest thing but it did not chase me thank God. Cougars are here in Virginia!

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