Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving Message

With so much bad going on in the world, it is easy to forget how blessed we are to live in this great nation. Wars, and rumors of war, terrorist groups, the toxic political climate, race issues and more threaten to overwhelm us. With so many negative things surrounding us, it is easy to fall into a pit where we cannot see the good that does exist in this world.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Do you have air in your lungs? Be thankful.

Is your heart beating? Be thankful.

Do you have a dry and warm place to lay your head at night? Be thankful.

Do you have a friend? Even one? Be thankful.

I believe that as long as we are living there is hope that we can make this world a better place. If you are feeling low, do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be something big and grand, just something that blesses another, if only for a moment. If you are feeling down, helping someone else out will make you feel better. I promise it will put things in perspective. Once you look at your life from the proper perspective, you will see there is so much for which to be thankful.

So, be grateful, be kind to one another and do not dwell on the negatives out there in the world. Once you do, you will realize you are blessed and will develop a thankful attitude. This attitude will permeate your life and you will not feel a need to try and count your blessings, as if they are finite in number.

After all, who can count that high?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Wisdom of George Gill, PhD

I can't add much to this. I will say only that it makes a lot of sense to me.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Black Panther Photographed in American South?

Has a black panther been photographed in the American South?


I found the image included in this post on a hunting forum. According to what I read there, the photo was taken via game camera somewhere in the woods of Alabama. The gentleman who posted the photo felt it was proof that “black panthers,” a colloquial term used to describe any and all long-tailed black cats, were real. Mainstream science, as has been mentioned here countless times over the years, denies the existence of these legendary mystery cats.

According to wildlife officials, the only New World big cat that exhibits melanism is the jaguar (Panthera onca). While the historic range of the jaguar once included much of the American Southwest and South, these big cats are thought to be almost completely extirpated from North America. Jaguars are recognized to live in South America, Central America and Mexico with a few stragglers occasionally venturing across the border into the Southwest United States (Arizona and New Mexico). This being the case, along with the fact that there has never been a documented instance of a melanistic mountain lion (Felis concolor), would seem to shut the door on the existence of the legendary black panther. Yet, people continue to report sightings and even capture intriguing photographic evidence like the image accompanying this post.

Some supporters feel the jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi) is a candidate for the black panthers so often reported. The jaguarundi is a small, wild cat native to Central and South America. The habitat of this species is thought to extend into Mexico with most individuals located in the Yucatan Peninsula or along the Pacific and/or Gulf Coasts. The jaguarundi has been known to slip across the Rio Grande and up into Texas but keeps to the extreme southern portion of the Lone Star State where it is extremely rare. According to the Mammals of Texas – Online Edition, the jaguarundi has only been officially documented in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties. Many, many Texans would disagree with this and feel this small wild cat’s range extends up through the Hill Country and up along the Gulf Coast as far north as Jefferson County. The problem with the jaguarundi as the suspect behind black panther sightings is the small size and distinctive appearance of this cat. While the jaguarundi does go through a black/charcoal phase, the overall description given by most black panther witnesses would seem to eliminate this animal as the mystery cat in question.

Now, back to the photo.

The subject is quite obviously a cat of some kind. I do not think anyone would dispute that. Too, at least from the perspective we have, it would appear to be larger than what would normally be seen in a feral/domestic. The length of the subject is more impressive to my eye than the height. Also, the cat in the photo is very thick through the chest and mid-section. Most ferals do not appear this hardy. The characteristic long tail, with thick rounded tip that is so often reported by people claiming to have seen black panthers, is clearly visible. I think it is also quite clear that this animal is black. It is not a trick of light or a case where the animal is in shadow giving the illusion of melanism. From what I can tell, and I will be the first to admit that I am no expert, the photo appears genuine. In addition, the forest in which this photo was taken looks like southern woods. The terrain looks very much like the forested areas that run from east Texas eastward across the south. The picture certainly looks like it could have been taken in the woods of Alabama. All of these factors being what they are, I can say it is one of the more intriguing alleged black panther photos I have seen in some time.

Having said that, there are still some problems with the photo, first and foremost among them being the who, when and where behind the image. Who took it? The gentleman on the forum went by a user name that was obviously not his given name. When was the photo taken? Where exactly? My requests for more information have remained unanswered. Also, some of the common earmarks almost always seen on photos taken by trail cameras are missing. It is rare, indeed, to see a photo taken by a game camera that does not have a date and time stamp on it. Most cameras these days also feature a temperature stamp and their company logo as well. These hallmarks are missing here which leads me to believe that the photo was edited in some way. It is possible the image was simply cropped a bit to exclude this data. This would make sense if the owner’s name appeared on the image as it often does on many models. If that is all there is to it, then the cropping is understandable; however, the possibility that there is some sort of agenda of a more nefarious nature behind the cropping must at least be considered at this time.

Another problem with the photo is scale (doesn’t that always seem to be the case?). The cat in the photo certainly looks to be larger than a domestic/feral but we know nothing about how high the camera was mounted, the angle at which it was set, etc. These are factors that can truly affect what we are seeing. For example, the tree to the right of the cat appears to be pretty large in diameter in the photo. The impression one gets is that the cat is walking right by it. That is not quite the case, though. The tree to the right is actually in the foreground and closer to the camera than the cat. If the cat were right next to the tree then we would be seeing where the tree meets the ground. We cannot see that in this picture, therefore, the tree must be in the foreground. The subject has already walked by the tree and is now well past it. How far past? It is hard to say. If the cat is just a step or two past the tree then it would seem the animal is pretty big. If the cat is five or six feet past the tree, then maybe it is not that large at all. That being the case, we cannot really make a definitive call on the size of the animal.

So, once again, we have a photo that is intriguing but inconclusive. It is too bad that the cat is walking away from the camera (again, doesn’t that always seem to be the case?). Otherwise, we might be able to make a judgment on what we are seeing. A jaguar has a massive head, for example, and is very different structurally from a mountain lion. A jaguarundi has a very distinctive head shape as well and would be pretty easy to identify. I will say that I do not feel we are looking at a jaguarundi. The cat in this photo is thickly built and is simply not put together like a jaguarundi, which is a very slender and has an almost weasel-like appearance. I think there are only two real possibilities as to the identity of the cat in this photo. It could be a large feral/domestic that is very robust and is being made to look larger than it really is due to a trick of perspective or…

… it could be the animal that we have all been seeking.

*If there is anyone out there that knows the story behind this photo, please contact me at

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ode to a Dog

Yesterday, I buried my dog.

Maggie came to us almost twelve years ago. She was not the type of dog many of you might picture me owning. She was not a Labrador Retriever or a bulldog. She was not a bird dog or any other kind of hunting dog. Neither was she a “manly” breed like a Pit Bull, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd or Rottweiler. Maggie was a Westie, a West Highlands White Terrier, to be specific.

Why a Westie? Simply, because that is what my little girl wanted. My daughter, 8 years old at the time, had seen a Westie on a dog food commercial and fell in love with the breed. When we finally decided that she was old enough to help take care of a dog, she made it abundantly clear that she wanted a Westie . My youngest daughter was only 3 at the time and just wanted a “puppy dog.” The breed didn’t seem to matter much to her. That being the case, it was settled. A Westie it would be.

I looked around a bit and found a lady that bred Westies in Kempner, only 30 minutes or so from our house. She had a litter of puppies that were almost ready to leave their mother and said we could come pick one out. We loaded up the girls and headed out to Kempner to inspect the litter. My oldest daughter had a broken foot at the time and was in a hard cast and had a difficult time getting up the porch steps of the house while on her crutches. Once inside, she sat down and looked at the white mass of squirming, running and playing baby Westies with a huge snaggle-toothed grin on her face. I had done my homework on the breed and was carefully picking up and inspecting each pup. If I was going to shell out the amount of money this lady wanted for a puppy, I was going to be sure I had the best one out of the litter. As I was inspecting the strongest and healthiest-looking puppies a tiny and timid pup, no doubt the runt of the litter, belly crawled out from between a cabinet and a chair toward my oldest daughter. The pup gave my daughter’s exposed toes (sticking out of the cast) a quick lick. My girl picked up this tiny, timid female and our fate was sealed. It turns out we did not pick out a puppy that day, the puppy picked us.

It was settled that this would be our Maggie. It would be another month before she was weaned and ready to come home with us (Try explaining that whole concept to a 3 year old that wants her puppy dog “right now”). The month came and went quickly, however, and we retrieved Maggie. She had grown quite a bit, but was still small for a Westie. That was ok with us, though. She seemed at home right away. There was no whining or crying at night or any other signs of her being homesick. She was home and she seemed to know it.

I could tell you many funny stories about our Maggie. She made us laugh and was a constant source of joy for us. She never failed to greet each and every family member with unbridled enthusiasm, jumping and hopping up and down until she received the attention she sought. Maggie loved belly rubs and would flop over on her back anytime her name was called hoping you would indulge her. We used to joke that she was part turtle as she often had trouble flipping back over after one of these belly rubs. She also loved to play. I have never known a dog that loved to play as much as Maggie did. The game really didn’t matter much to her. She would chase a ball all day, play tug-of-war with almost any object or just wrestle with your hand. She loved it all and kept her puppy-like enthusiasm for almost all of her years.

Recently, Maggie really slowed down. At first, we thought age had simply started to catch up to her. In a way, I suppose, it had. Three days ago, Maggie was diagnosed with a severe liver disorder. The veterinarian prescribed some meds but warned us that her prognosis was not good. We gave her the meds and she seemed to perk up almost immediately. We were encouraged as she ate better that night than she had in days and drank water without being coaxed to do so. Maggie retreated to her beloved crate that night to sleep, acting like she felt better than she had in a long time. When we woke up yesterday morning, however, things had changed. Maggie seemed to have lost 5 lbs. overnight. Her eyes were bloodshot and red and she could not seem to close her mouth. The change in her from the night before was stunning. I loaded her up and returned to the vet immediately. I was waiting at the door, holding her, when they opened at 7:30. The vet began working on her immediately but I knew that this was it. Maggie was a loving dog but had no problem letting you know she did not like being poked, prodded or stuck with a needle. She was a terrier, after all. As the doctor worked on her she completely surrendered. There was no fight left in her. She looked at me with very sick eyes and I knew it was time to let her go. The vet agreed and within minutes, she was gone.

The vet asked what I wanted to do with her body and without hesitation I managed to choke out, “I want to take her home.” So, I did. I was thankful that no one was home as I dug her grave in the backyard. This big tough coach/cryptid hunter was anything but during that time. I wrapped Maggie in her favorite blanket and laid her in a small box with her favorite toy. I then placed the box in the deeper than it needed to be hole (I think I kept digging because I knew what I would have to do when I was finished). Putting that first shovel of dirt on top of that box was hard. I knew it would be but… it was much tougher than I ever would have imagined. Once the grave was covered, I retrieved some bricks, left over from the building of our house more than ten years ago, and laid them in a rectangular pattern on top of the grave. These bricks would allow us to always know exactly where our Maggie was laid to rest. I knew I would likely have to redo this once the dirt settled but I did not want my girls to see only a mound of recently disturbed dirt when they came home. I wanted it to be as nice as possible.

My wife cried all day. My oldest daughter, now 20 and away at college, was devastated. My youngest daughter, now 15 and unable to remember a time when Maggie was not in her life, was inconsolable. Maggie was the dog of their childhood. The dog that slept at the foot of their bed when they were sick, the dog they slipped food to under the table and the dog that they played with for countless hours both inside and out. Maggie is the dog they will always remember. Even so, Maggie really turned into my dog as the years passed. Mine was the lap she sought out at night, mine was the side of the bed she came to in the morning when she knew she would be allowed to nap for that last hour on the bed between my wife and I and it was me she stood in the window watching for in the evening. I will miss that little white face with the jackrabbit ears in the window when I come home at night.

I know there is much in the world that is more tragic than the loss of a pet but to trivialize such an event is a mistake. Loss is loss and a good dog is worth its weight in gold. Maggie was a good dog and she was mine.

I will miss her.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Big Thicket is a Weird Place

Here is an interesting account from noted author, teacher and philosopher A.Y. Gunter. It just goes to show that the Big Thicket has always been a unique place. Stories of wild men, remnant bands of Karankawas, wood apes, black panthers, ghost lights and Ol' Mossyback continue to come out of this region. The area is truly a Texas treasure.

"The two-legged hairless ape should be mentioned in any Big Thicket inventory. Of this species, the most spectacular are those which hide in the deep woods seeking sanctuary from the outer world. The most famous of these is the Nude Man of the Big Thicket, who lived there in the 1950s. Several people had glimpsed the man. Then one fine day a Mr. Sutton encountered him on a lonely road. The hermit announced that if anyone wanted to come in after him they would have to come in shooting. He was a large man, deeply tanned and hairy, with a long beard. He had a gun in each hand, and was naked. So far as is known, no one "went in after him" though there are stories of the subsequent capture of an escaped mental patient who had lived for nine years in the Thicket on wild fruits and armadillo. Whether the two hermits are one and the same is ---- well, as usual, the facts get a little vague on that point."

- A.Y. Gunter

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Could Red Wolves Still Roam Texas?

The red wolf (Canis rufus) once roamed a large part of the southeastern part of North America. The range of the red wolf once stretched from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts northward into Indiana and the Ohio River Valley. This long-legged canid also inhabited areas stretching from central Pennsylvania to Missouri and central Texas. The red wolf was an apex predator that could successfully make a living in forests, swamps or prairies. Now, however, it is all but gone. Most scientists feel the species went extinct in the wild in the early 1980’s. The last red wolves known to have lived in Texas were documented by John Paradiso. He noted that seven specimens taken from Chambers County near Anahuac between 1963 and 1964 and one specimen taken from Kennedy County near Armstrong in 1961 were full-blooded red wolves. Subsequent specimens taken from the eastern portion of the Lone Star State have all been found to be large coyotes.

Debate has raged among biologists as to whether the red wolf went extinct in the traditional sense. What I mean by that is that many believe, as their numbers dwindled, red wolves interbred with coyotes (Canis latrans). This continued long enough that full-blooded wolves disappeared, leaving only a sort of coyote/wolf mutt here in Texas. It has been documented that many, if not most, coyotes in Texas carry at least some red wolf genetics. This confirms that this interbreeding took place and took place often. Some scientists feel that the red wolf was nothing but a hybrid in the first place, albeit a fertile one that was able to reproduce; the offspring of coyotes and gray wolves. The taxonomy of the red wolf is a topic for another post and I do not want to get bogged down in that right now. The important thing to note here is that due to a combination of hunting, aggressive predator control practices, habitat destruction and increasingly extensive hybridization with coyotes, the red wolf has disappeared forever from Texas.

Or has it?

Reports continue to filter in from rural Texas of wolves stalking the woods, creeks, swamps and prairies. These witnesses will stress to you that they are wolves and not coyotes. A lot of these folks will tell you that they have popped many a coyote while protecting their stock and know the difference between what they have taken in the past and a wolf. Wildlife biologists disagree and say these predators have been extirpated. After all, they say, if they were still here there would be photos of them. Case closed.

Or is it?

There are some pretty interesting photos out there that seem to indicate that the red wolf might not be completely gone after all. I will explore three different sets of photos in this post. One set, in my opinion, is likely a coy dog, the identity of the canid in one photo is debatable and, finally, one set of photos seems to clearly show a red wolf-like animal.

I recently obtained a couple of photos, that came from a gentleman living near Meridian, of a dead canid that he feels is a red wolf. As you can see in the photo below, the animal has some wolf-like characteristics. In my opinion, however, this is likely some sort of shepherd mix or possibly a coy dog (coyote/domestic hybrid). The animal does have pointed ears but they appear narrower than what I would expect to see in a red wolf. The muzzle is larger than that of a coyote but more rounded in appearance than I would expect in a red wolf. Certainly, the Meridian specimen appears thick in the neck and through the chest like a wolf but the coloring is more like that of a German shepherd. I admit that the eyes of the specimen have the narrow appearance that would be expected in a wolf but it must be kept in mind that could be because we are looking at a dead animal. The animal appears quite large, and I have been assured that the Meridian specimen stretched from the hunter’s shoulders to the ground when held up by the back legs but have no hard evidence to back that up. There is nothing in the photos I received that shows scale. That being the case, the best I can say is that the photos are inconclusive and should not be used as evidence that red wolves still roam the Lone Star State.

A few years ago, a NAWAC game camera captured a photo of a canid that was the subject of much discussion among group members. The animal in question appeared to be larger than a typical coyote and had many of the hallmarks of a red wolf or, at the very least, a red wolf hybrid. The coloring on the NAWAC specimen is certainly dead on as compared to most typically colored red wolves. Too, the ears are large and the snout is of the correct shape. The animal is thick in the chest and, as the comparison photo shows, is almost interchangeable in size and coloration with that of a red wolf. There are arguments against this being a red wolf, too. The coloration is a good match but the problem is that many coyotes exhibit almost identical coats. The ears are large but are more rounded than I would expect to see on a true wolf. I think the comparison photo illustrates this point quite well. In addition, the eyes of the NAWAC specimen look more rounded and coyote-like than the more narrow eyes usually associated with a full-blooded wolf. One of our members, who has an extensive background in all things wildlife-related, showed the photo to three wildlife biologists. Two of these scientists felt that, at the very least, this animal had red wolf genetics in him and was likely a hybrid. The third, towing the company line, said it was a coyote. When asked how he could be so sure, the biologist responded, “because there are no red wolves in Texas,” (I’ll leave that statement alone for the time being). Scale is also a problem here. It is impossible to say just how large the canid in the NAWAC photo actually is as there is nothing in the picture to provide obvious scale. It appears tall and long-legged but the photo is far from definitive. Measurements could have been taken of the tree behind the specimen but, as it was another cryptid we were attempting to photograph at the time, this was not done. My personal opinion on this animal is that it clearly has some red wolf in it. Whether it is a true hybrid (the first generation offspring of a coyote-red wolf coupling) or a descendent of a hybrid (more likely) I cannot say.

The third set of photos I want to take a look at were graciously provided by Chester Moore, Jr. and are featured on his Kingdom Zoo website ( The photos were captured via game camera by Mr. Moore’s research partner, Terri Werner, in 2012. The two pictures featured here are stills from two separate videos taken at the same location. I think most would agree that the animal seen in these photos is anything but a common coyote. The coloration, thick body, long legs and large ears immediately caused me to think “wolf.”

Mr. Moore also has a very interesting video of a red wolf-like canid on his website that is worth the time to view. The video subject is not built like a coyote; it is taller and longer-legged. While the video is black and white, the stark white of the subject’s chin, neck and chest is obvious. This pattern is exactly what one would expect to see when viewing a red wolf. Obviously, I cannot definitively say that the canids captured on video by Moore and Werner are full-blooded red wolves. What I can say is that whatever their genetic make-up might turn out to be, these canids are likely the closest thing to true red wolves I have seen in the wild and, if nothing else, their existence should prove the need for all of us to keep an open mind when it comes to entertaining the idea that these magnificent animals might once again roam parts of the Lone Star State…

… if they ever left at all.

*A special thanks to Chester Moore, Jr. for allowing me to use the photos above in this post. Please check out Mr. Moore’s Kingdom Zoo website and consider supporting his Children’s Kingdom Ministry.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

New Black Panther Sightings Reported

I felt it was about time to update everyone on the latest black panther sighting reports I have received over the last several months. The reports just keep coming and some real areas of interest are beginning to present themselves. I am hopeful that, as reports continue to come in to me, that a hard pattern will emerge and I can zero in my time and efforts on a specific location in an effort to document these animals.

Before we begin, let me repeat a few things that I have said before. I know that there is no such animal as a “black panther.” The known big cats that have been given this moniker are either African leopards or New World jaguars exhibiting melanism. So, when I use the term “black panther,” realize it is a colloquialism, a catchall phrase, if you will, that is commonly used in Texas and the Deep South to describe any large, black or very dark, long-tailed cat.

Now, on to the reports.


“I live in Mexico (in an area where jaguarundis are called leoncillo- little lion-) and I have seen a stuffed specimen so big it dwarfed all the jaguarundis I've seen in zoos (or photographs for that matter). It was so big in fact I thought I was looking at a small puma at first (and I can tell them apart). I'm not going to say the place, but I do believe those particular mountains may be the home of the largest jaguarundis in the world, as apparently this was not considered a freak by the locals but a perfectly normal individual.

My point by saying this is that scientists don´t know everything, and regular people make a mistake whenever they accept their claims as absolute; I have read many books on jaguarundis and none of them mention specimens as big as the one I saw- not even close. But I saw the giant specimen and so has anyone who has been to that place where it's displayed; therefore, those giant jaguarundis do exist; it doesn´t matter that the educated "experts" sitting behind desks in London or New York are not aware of their existence.”

- Curupira

TCH Comment: This is a very interesting assertion; however, as no photographic evidence of the mounted specimen, or the location of said mount, was provided, I must take this claim with a grain of salt. Let me be clear, I am not accusing Curupira of being untruthful but I need more in order to feel good about his claims. If there is such a large specimen and the location is known, then getting a photo of it with something in the shot to provide scale should not be too difficult.

I do agree with Curupira that there is a certain institutional arrogance among mainstream science. Certainly, science should not merely accept the existence of large melanistic cats without some sort of proof, but there is a fine line between demanding evidence and having a completely closed mind. For now, I will not be including this report on my distribution map.


“In I'd say mid 90's, I was hunting at Hwy 199 and the intersection of 2210 in Jack County. One day I just, for whatever reason, walked a deer trail to a small tank. I found a small deer carcass in a tree. Really freaked me out. Could not understand why a deer carcass would be in a tree. Few weeks later, I was watching an open field and watching a group of 10 to 15 deer. I’m clearly hidden, this was about a 40 acre field. All sudden those deer scared and hauled ass. I looked at the far end of this field and I saw a huge, huge black cat. Never seen anything like that in my life. I told some ranchers/farmers what I saw. Most didn't believe me. But I saw what I saw.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment:
I’m torn on this report. As I’ve discussed here before, the only big cats that regularly cache kills in trees are leopards. They do this in order to protect their kills from other predators like lions or hyenas that tend to run in large groups. There would be no need for a large cat to stash a deer in a tree here, as there are no other predators large enough in Texas to present a threat to them. I thought for years that jaguars cached kills in trees as well but have learned that is simply not the case (exceptions sometimes occur during times of flooding). Cougars cover up their kills in a manner similar to that of bears and do not cache kills in trees. You never want to say never but this claim is a bit dubious to me. It is possible the sighting that took place later did occur and was not connected to the alleged deer kill but since they are tied together in the same account, I feel uneasy about it as well. All that being the case, unless I am presented with evidence to sway me, I am keeping this account off my black panther distribution map for now.


"Hi there. I was sent here by Kyle Philson from Expanded Perspectives. I had a black panther sighting in Denton, Texas this morning. I was riding my bicycle through my neighborhood and saw this big black cat. What caught my eye was the distinctive tail. The animal was about the size of medium sized dog, roughly 50 pounds. I slowed down to get a better look and it hopped an 8-foot fence and was gone. This happened roughly 10:15am at Calvert and Le Sage. I didn't have my phone, so I was not able to get a photo."

- Michael Patrick McEvoy

TCH Comment: This is an interesting report. I’ve had many reports out of what would be considered the DFW Metroplex. Denton, like many Texas cities, is very urban but situated in such a way that one doesn’t have to travel far at all to be in a very rural environment. This particular location is in a subdivision that backs up to agricultural land. It is just west of Lake Lewisville and only a few miles south of Lake Ray Hubbard. I’ve had many reports originate from these areas. If the witness is correct in his estimation of the weight of the cat, it is not likely he saw a jaguarundi. The long tail eliminates a bobcat and the black color eliminates the possibility of a juvenile mountain lion. If it did, indeed, jump over a 6-8 foot high fence, it is a pretty strong and substantial animal. This leaping ability would also eliminate the possibility the witness mistook a dog for a big cat. What does that leave? I will be adding this sighting to my black panther distribution map.


“My mother who is 65 years old saw one of these big black cats laying on the 8th hole of Hilltop Lakes golf course a couple of weeks ago. My Uncle and her were able to watch it for over 5 minutes laying on the golf course at night.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment: Hilltop Lakes, Texas is an unincorporated community of roughly 300 souls that sits pretty much in the middle of nowhere in Leon County. The closest towns of any size are Franklin (population 1,564*), Madisonville (population 4,396*) and Normangee (population 685*). The area is sparsely populated and has many creeks and wooded areas in which a big cat could roam. The area also sports a very healthy deer and hog population on which a large predator could subsist. There is a history of sightings in the Leon County area as well. The only part of the report that I would like clarification on is how they were able to see the cat so well at night. While a large cat could be identified on a bright night without too much trouble, making an accurate assessment of the color of the animal could be tricky. On the whole, the report seems credible so I will include it on my updated distribution map.

* As of the 2000 census.


“I know several individuals who have claimed sightings of these big cats in the Kosse area over the years, including a family member that stated she saw one feeding on a lamb carcass. A close friend of mine used to monitor the lakes at Texas Silica and stated he would routinely see these animals when he would spotlight the lakes at night. I have been told they were the result of an individual who had some of these cats raised in captivity and were simply released upon his passing, although I could not validate this. I have however, heard a blood-curdling scream late one evening in the wilderness a few miles from this area and could not attribute it to anything other than some sort of large cat. I have little doubt these animals exist in the area.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment: Kosse is a small town of roughly 500-600 people in Limestone County, Texas. Texas Silica is an outfit that mines sand and kaolin clay. Sand mined from the Kosse facility is used primarily for the glass and recreational sand industries, with a small portion of sand sold as grout sand. The kaolin clay is sold to the paint industry and for brick production. Texas Silica is one of the larger employers in the county and owns or leases a lot of acreage, much of it still wooded and isolated. There are numerous creeks, ponds and lakes in the area and many reports of large black cats have originated from this area. I will add this report to my black panther distribution map.


“I saw a very large black cat on my farm in Calhoun County late yesterday. It was much larger than a bobcat with a long tail. We have coyotes too so I know what they look like. Wish I had a camera with me.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment:
Calhoun County sits on the south Texas coastline where the Guadalupe River empties into San Antonio Bay. This would be considered the upper reaches of accepted jaguarundi territory. The cat described by the witness, however, sounds like it was larger than a typical jaguarundi specimen(20-25 lbs.). The county is not heavily populated and averages only 40 people per square mile. There is plenty of room for a large cat to roam. In addition, there is an ample prey base as deer, hogs and small mammals. This report will be added to the black panther distribution map.


“Just saw a 3-4 foot long big cat in our yard in Parker. At first thought it was a Bobcat, but it had much darker spotting and a longer tail.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment: Parker is located in Collin County in north Texas. The town is just northeast of Plano and would be considered a Dallas suburb. Many reports of cougars and large melanistic cats have come from this area over the last several years. The area quickly becomes rural once you get out of town and is sandwiched between three large reservoirs (Lake Lewisville, Lake Ray Hubbard and Lake Lavon). The claim that “spotting” was visible on the cat, even though it was dark is interesting. The long tail would seem to rule out a bobcat as a suspect here and the 3-4 foot estimate on the animal’s length would rule out a normal feral or house cat. This report will be added to my distribution map.


“I too have seen a black panther near Hooks and Red River Bottoms. Saw the panther trailing a deer with another witness. 1993.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment: Hooks, Texas is located in the extreme northeast portion of the Lone Star State in Bowie County. The area is heavily wooded and sparsely populated. The area where this cat was seen sits almost directly on the spot where Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana meet. There are more than 65 million acres of forestland in this four-state region; that is equals about 100,000 square miles. There is ample rainfall and a substantial prey base here. Black bear, bobcat, coyotes, cougar and, according to some residents of the area, a remnant population of red wolves all make their home in this region. If one accepts the possibility that large melanistic cats exist, this would be a logical area in which for them to live. This report will be added to the distribution map.


“This morning I saw a dead black medium sized puma?! It was on Masterson Road on the outskirt of San Antonio. Later in the day, it was gone.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment: Masterson Road is on the southwest side of the city of San Antonio and is quite rural. The east branch of Big Sous Creek runs through the area and there remain large tracts of wooded land as well as a substantial greenbelt running west to east along the Medina River, which is just south of the location given by the witness. A mountain lion in this area would not be surprising to me in the least. It is a bit curious that the carcass would be removed so quickly but hardly anything worthy of a conspiracy theory. I am going to hold off on including this report on my black panther distribution map, not because I do not believe the witness but because identifying a dead animal on the side of the road can be tricky business depending upon the speed at which the witness might have been traveling. If the witness contacts me and give me additional information (they stopped and got out of their vehicle to examine the animal, for example) then I might change my mind and include the incident on the distribution map.


“In West Orange, next to my chicken pen, 7 turkey, 6 geese, & 1 - 1 year old heifer 9/20/14, have been killed out on our ranch. There were paw prints left in the geese pen. I took pictures of the paw imprints.”

- Lisa

TCH Comment: Lisa, if you see this post, please forward me the photos of the paw prints. You can email them to While many predators could be responsible for the killing of the turkey and geese, the heifer is a different story altogether. If an individual predator is responsible for the death of this cow, it would have to be substantial. Due to the fact that no sightings of the culprit(s) have taken place as of yet, this incident will not be included on the newest distribution map.


“October 4, 2014- Downtown Austin- Deerfoot trail and Barton Hills Dr. At 2pm, three adults and one 9 year old witnessed a large black cat 3-4ft not including tail roughly 60-80 lbs. (thick) run out into oncoming traffic, almost get hit and then proceed East between Deerfoot Dr and Wildgrove. Please note this is just off the Zilker/Barton Creek GreenBelt Trail that has significant game living in it. A photo would have been taken but frankly having a child with us we really wanted to get out of the area quickly. Everyone agreed this was a panther.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment:
At first glance, the area described is an unlikely spot to see a big cat. Upon further inspection, however, I’m not so sure it can be dismissed so easily. The Texas capital city is known as a unique place. “Keep Austin Weird” is a mantra there. It is not unusual to see deer, bobcats or any number of other animals almost anywhere in the city. The greenbelt that runs along either side of Barton Creek is quite substantial and intersects with another greenbelt along the Colorado River. It is possible a wayward cat could have traveled along the Colorado from the northwest until it got to Barton Creek. At that point it would have been easy for the animal to veer to the southwest along Barton Creek and past Zilker Park. The greenbelt culminates at Barton Creek Wilderness Park which is described as follows on the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department: This expansive park surrounding the west end of Barton Creek Greenbelt features miles of heavily wooded hike and bike trails. It is popular with day hikers, runners, bikers, and dog lovers. While Austin has sprawled greatly over the last two decades, it still does not take too long to get into some pretty lonesome Texas Hill Country to the west of the city. The Colorado River and the Barton Creek Greenbelt provide a direct route to these more open spaces. I do not consider this an outlandish report and will add the sighting to my black panther distribution map.


“I have seen two cougars in far north Dallas in the past month. The first one crossing Dilbeck as it walked down the alley for that neighborhood and another, somewhat larger, had been hit by a vehicle on Keller springs by the dog park. Definitely not bobcats.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment: I am a bit conflicted about this report. While the sightings of the cats took place in areas not too far from other big cat reports, these two take place a bit closer to some really urban areas than I might expect. I cannot decide if seeing two cats so close in proximity and, I am assuming not too many days or weeks apart, adds more or less credibility to the claim. A valid argument could be made either way. Regardless, it does point to the possibility that mountain lions are making a nice comeback and are getting more comfortable living in close proximity to urban areas. Since the report concerns normal tawny-colored cougars, it will not be included on my black panther distribution map.


“I live in the Mineral Wells area and I seen one just like you described Nov. 2003.”

- Anonymous

TCH Comment: I would like to have more detail on this sighting but have no reason not to believe this witness. In my experience, hoaxers almost always embellish their tales too much. In addition, the area in question is one where other reports have originated. I will add this account to my black panther distribution map.


“Black panther sighting in Pilot Point, Texas on Sunday, Oct 14, 4:30 pm. I live on the southwest edge of Pilot Point. Our home is surrounded on three sides of active pasture. Yesterday, while watching the Dallas Cowboys, several of the momma cows were near out back yard fence started bawling in an alarm sequence. It was not normal, so I went out back to the fence to see what the fuss was about. The twenty or so momma cows and calves were bunched up and on point. They were watching a black panther about three hundred yards away in the short grass pasture. It took me a few seconds to make sure I wasn't looking at a black great dane. When I went into the house to get a gun, my wife kept an eye on it. But, my movements must have spooked it and it ran off. Now, a week ago, I had to call farmer Bob and let him know I had found a small calf that had been killed, eaten and the carcass dismembered. He put it off to roaming dogs. But, the manner in which the remains had been eaten, I did not think it was dogs. But, no visible evidence to dispute that. Now, my neighbor across the street tells me that they had lost their pet goat to a black panther. No hesitation as to the description of the animal. Also, we have second hand reports of some folks living 3/4 mile west of us sighting a black panther in a pasture close to their house several times over the last several weeks, typically at 8:00 am. Over the last 40 years I have spent a fair amount of time in the bush - from North America to Africa. I know animal recognition from small critters to big game. More to come on the Pilot Point black panther as (if) it happens.”

- David P. Leach

TCH Comment:
This report sounds promising. If David is correct, and he saw the cat from 300 yards in tall grass, it must have been a large animal; too large to have been a feral. Pilot Point sits on the eastern shores of Lake Ray Roberts, a spot where numerous black panther reports have originated. David, if you are reading this, please contact me. I would like to come up and take a look around. If you or any of your neighbors are willing, I’d like to discuss placing some cameras in the area in the hopes of documenting this large black cat. This sighting will be added to my distribution map.


“One seen years ago in Little Axe, Oklahoma by my neighbor and I. About 10 years old and I'm now 32. Definitely a black jaguar. The range for that cat did at one time long ago although scarce reached into Oklahoma.”

- Necienay

TCH Comment: Little Axe sits in Central Oklahoma just east of Lake Thunderbird. This area is a bit farther north than I usually keep an eye on but I include it here to represent reports I get from far and wide regarding these large melanistic cats.

I should have an updated version of my black panther distribution map ready within a few days. I will post the updated map at that time.