Regular cougar sighting in North Carolina

by Ryan Rachman
(North Carolina)

I live in the state of North Carolina approximately 430 meters from the Peedee river. I own 68 acres of land right next to wildlife.

I have been seeing a rather large cat species in my yard almost every night for the past 3 weeks. It looks like a lion has a tail around 3 to 4 foot long it is a sandy blondish red color and has darker colors around the mouth and ear areas.

I’ve been as close as 10 feet away from this cat eye to eye and to my surprise was not threatened by any means. The cat probably weighs about 200 pounds and is getting rather comfortable on my property what should I do??

I do not want to kill it but I’m a father of two kids and would die if something happened to my children.

Ryan – ry*******@ya***.com

Update: Please see the extensive list of comments on this page as there are many from other citizens of N. Carolina who have seen a cougar and/or evidence of one. Judging by the large number of sightings recorded in the comments it seems to me that the puma is not extinct in the East. Below I allude to the possibility that the Ryan’s sighting was of a domesticated puma but that assessment may well be wrong ?.

Puma at night
Puma at night. Photo in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Hi Ryan.. thanks for visiting. The first thing to note is that I live in London, England. My answer is based on common sense principles and knowledge acquired.

North Carolina is eastern USA – obviously. The cougar (Puma) has been officially declared extinct in the wild in eastern USA by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Please read Eastern Cougar Extinct March 2011.

You are suggesting that a cougar is coming onto your land.

On the basis that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are correct (and there is debate about that) then the cat that you are seeing, which sounds as if it is a cougar, is either a domesticated one that has escaped or one of the last wild cougars in eastern USA. People domestic cougars in the USA.

If it is the latter is is very rare. If it is the former the cat belongs to someone. The cat sounds as if it is domesticated to me being unperturbed by your presence.

In either case it should not be shot and I am very pleased to read that you agree this.

I also agree that your children’s safety is paramount. Children should be supervised in the presence of a cougar – common sense I guess. Cougars can be chased off by adults – Mountain Lion Attack. Your children shouldn’t go out unsupervised until the matter is dealt with.

My best advise is to contact the authorities (not the police) and ask for help. The only trouble with that is I have read that “the authorities” tend to like to shoot large cats. Well, that is the impression I get. So strict instructions should be given to say that no one is treated or endangered and that you are concerned for the cat as much as yourself and family.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission promotes conservation “and provides assistance for landowners wishing to manage wildlife on their lands..” They might be a good starting point. But keep your mind open. Some people have closed dogmatic minds and tend to respond in a formulaic manner (shoot and ask later). Their contact details are: 1-800-662-7137 (this is for “wildlife violations” which is not really appropriate but the best number that I can find).

You no doubt have a better idea as to who to contact but never the police please! They often do more harm than good.

The cat should be caught and “re-homed” somewhere safe. It is the cat that is more in danger than the people in actual fact.

If the children go out you should accompany them and if the cougar (presuming the cat is a cougar) appears follow the instructions that I have listed on the Mountain Lion Attack page.

If anyone has a better idea please leave a comment asap – thank you.

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Regular cougar sighting in North Carolina

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Mar 25, 2012 cougars in nc NEW
by: Brian

Two years ago, a friend and myself were deer hunting in Rutherford County NC, and I saw a cougar. I had been sitting at the base of an oak tree for about an hour, and I decided to get up and move around a little. I had been standing for about ten minutes when I happened to turn around and look behind me. All of the sudden, I spotted what at first, I thought was a deer trotting towards me a about 50 yards away. Naturally, I got my deer rifle ready so I could shoot. As it got closer, I thought to myself, that is not a deer. As the animal got closer, I noticed that it had a broad head, was tan in color, and was not moving like a deer at all. When the animal got within about 30 feet of my location, it turned and went behind a laurel thicket. By this point, I knew that this was a cougar. It appeared to weigh anywhere from 150 to 175 lbs. and it had a long bushy tail. After the cougar ran behind the laurel thicket, I lost visual contact for about 5 seconds. When the cougar came out from around the other side of the thicket, it jumped a shallow ravine that was about ten feet wide, and ran up the ridge away from me. The thing that still stands out in my memory is the fact that I never heard a sound. This occured in late fall, so there was plenty of leaves on the ground, however, when the cougar passed by, there was complete silence. Something that I will never forget to say the least. I never fired a shot because I was in shock over what I was seeing.

Feb 10, 2012 Georgia has big cats too. NEW
by: Anonymous

I live in Georgia. We too have sighted a mountain lion, in fact a neighbor has him on DVD. The cat has killed every chicken and duck we had. We called fish and game; same old story: mountain lions don’t live in Georgia. Well, this one sure does. Why is it so impossible to believe that Mountain Lions can exist in pretty much every state. Some people call them Florida Panthers, well look at any map and see the approximate distance (or lack thereof) from GA or NC to FL. All the people who have sighted these cats can’t be wrong.

Jan 05, 2012 Cougars in Randolph County, NC
by: Anonymous

We have Mountain Lions in Randolph County, NC. I saw my first one in the late ’70s. Broad shoulders and camel colored, it circled road kill as my headlights came around a curve at 2am and it circled back off the road. A few years ago one was killed in the road around the Sandy Creek area. A very large cat between 100-200 pounds. Several years before this I was walking into an overgrown field along an adjoining creek and thought I had jumped a deer. Something big hit the ground but I didn’t hear a deer trotting away. Looking around I saw the backside of a large camel colored cat silently slipping out of the field and into the thick woods. He was travelling away from a lone tree that overlooked the down-slope of the field towards the creek. The large tree had its first forking limbs about twenty feet off the ground.
I would not want to face one of these cats in a foul mood but I guess the good news is that they are territorial to one another and one pair will occupy 100 square miles or roughly a 10 mile by 10 mile area.

Nov 21, 2011 hud
by: Anonymous

i live in hudson nc . i was feeding my dog one morning who stays in a chain link dogs tail was tucked between her legs. it was just at dawn.i saw to my left about 30 yards away a cougar.i stood still.then i stomped the ground. he looked at me. and looked staight ahead.then turned and ran back into the woods. my dog never tucks her tail.she usually barks at anything stange.later i learned that
a mans german shepherd dog was killed by a cougar
less than a mile away from my house.COUGARS ARE IN NC!!THERE IS NO DOUBT. I SAW IT FOR MYSELF.

Sep 08, 2011 cougar sightings in Davidson, NC
by: Anonymous

We have now had two cougar sightings in our subdivision, Bailey Springs, near Hough High School, in Davidson, NC. We border a nature preserve and the Davidson Greenway where a lot of deer are seen. After what I have read online, I find this pretty frightening. My guess is the cougar is about 100 pounds.

Mar 13, 2011 Cougars are in NC
by: Anonymous

For sure, we hear their unmistakable cry every night.

We live in 28904 zip code where also live many white-tailed deer.

The government again demonstrates its incompetence when it concludes there are no longer any mountain lions here, and to claim those that we hear and see (tracks and the animals) are from escaped pets is just nuts, there are hundreds of sightings in our area alone, even more in the Blue Ridge Mountains at large. These ain’t UFOs, you know it when you hear them. In fact, Fish and Game ignorance is a big joke to all of us who live around here.

We have also heard these animals have been introduced to our area to control our huge deer population by the government, too. Apparently, they don’t want us to know this plan.

If you doubt it, just come on up to Warne and ask somebody. Then wait until dark and listen for all the dogs to start barking…and then you’ll hear that shriek like a women screaming, an unmistakable sign of the mountain lion, the Eastern Cougar, alive and well in North Carolina.

Mar 09, 2011 Arnold schwartzakitTy
by: Ryan bachman

I don’t think the cat was domesticated. The reason being is I run along te rivers edge and follow trails around about 5-to-10-mile spans quite often. I have seen rabbits birds even cayotes remains partially hanging in trees. Even a mangled-up cow close to my house about a mile away. There is a highway coming through in the next 1 to 2 years and I believe maybe logging and grading companies are pushing it closer this way

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

157 thoughts on “Regular cougar sighting in North Carolina”

  1. I live in Mocksville day while I was at work I saw a large camel colored cat right of milling road directly behind a housing development it was about 90-110 pounds it was definitely a cougar, at the time I Bush hogged the city sewer lines.I’ve seen deer and dog carcasses with the guts ripped out about a tenth of a mile from the walmart in town and many other places too.all the places were I saw the carcasses were near major population centers So they’re not scared of if you live in Mocksville and you’re in the forest stay alert,i do.

    1. Thanks Orville. Nice sighting. Yes, where human settlements have encroached onto the puma’s territory they become habituated to humans and no longer scared of them. This often results in them being shot which is unfortunate because it is the human’s fault.

  2. My 65lb flat coated retriever (Emmy) and I were trail running along a mountain creek around 9am this morning. She was about 15′ in front of me when a cougar, that was larger than Emmy, darted across the trail within 5′ of Emmy. It started on the creek side of the trail, crossed the trail and went immediately into some small undergrowth at the base of a steep section with mature trees and very little undergrowth. It took me about 5 seconds to get to the spot where it crossed the trail and I could see at least 200 yards up the mountain, but could not locate the cat. My dog loves to chase deer and other critters when we jump them, but she just stood there searching for the cat. I’m guessing that it may have treed but did not hang around looking!! It moved faster than any animal that I have ever seen.

    Several friends in the area have also seen them. We live very close to where NC, VA & TN meet. Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Jefferson National Forest are within 5 miles.

    It concerns me that the cat allowed Emmy to get so close. I’m thinking it may have attacked Emmy but bolted when it saw me.

    1. I enjoyed reading your comment, Roger. I enjoyed the detail. It gave me a real sense of being there. And what a great sighting. You were very close. Your conclusion in last paragraph may be correct.

  3. Just recently my nephew who live near holly ridge nc in a very sparsely developed area on the salt and cypress marshes and has had several sightings of what he believes is a black panther now we are sure he has 2 pit bulls that were attacked one killed the other has a claw scratch across its face that cover from one side to the other and cost the dog an eye only a large cat could have paws big enough to stretch that far across its face. Also fish and game, state and federal agencies have declared many animals extinct only to have them reappear decades later because they deep in large inaccessible swamp and marshes the ivory billed woodpecker is one such species. Threatened and endangered definitely and with the ever expanding development it is highly possible these rebounding species my start another downward turn

  4. April Marie Carrillo

    Those are various prints and a scratch post. I sent to your email pics of more prints and scat prints which are not posted here. Let me know if you did not recieve them. Thanks april

  5. April Marie Carrillo

    I live in Harnett County NC. I have seen a cougar. Its a rather long story. While hiking in a new park in my area I noticed really large animal tracks.I snapped a few pics and didn’t think more about it.I usually hike unmarked and unpopulated trails because I like my dog to have some time off leash.I also hunt wild mushrooms for food.A couple of months ago while hiking the same area I found the tracks we noticed vultures in a tree a little off trail into the woods.We were taking pictures of them.We decided to go to the tree and see why they were there. Under the tree was what appeared to be the stomach and intestines of what we assumed to be a deer. It was fresh and there was no foul odor. At the time we indignantly blamed poachers and said a few bad words about them .I didn’t think more about it at the time.Fast forward…One night I was driving home on highway 27 coming from Lillington and was almost home when I saw a cougar slinking down the roadside. It was big and moved swiftly in a crouching slinking manner. What I really noticed and what sealed the deal for me was the fact that the tail was as long as the body of the cat. I would say it probably weighed around 150 lbs at my best guess. I can honestly say yes I was tired and yes it was dark but I saw it.After that and since that moment I have researched what to look for when big cats are in an area. Things like scat,prints,tree scratches and kill sites. I also read that they tend to remove the stomach and drag off the carcass. When I read that my mind immediately went back to the day we found the deer stomach remains in the woods.I realized then that it was probably the remains of a cougar kill. I have made a point to learn what I can and be very aware of what I see when hiking and have hiked the area with open eyes! I have found scat with hair and bone left right on the trail.I have prints.I have found claw marks on tree and logs.I have taken pictures with my cellphone. I have also found small animal kill site probably a snatched rabbit all in the same area. It is rural.There are water sources turkey deer etc.I have read that the cougar is supposedly extinct.I know it is not. I showed my “evidence ” to my son who has a career in wildlife. He agrees that it is a big cat. I have contacted an organization that I think is affiliated with a university but got no response. I have not contacted authorities because from what I have read about other people seeing and reporting sightings I don’t think they will pay me any mind.Anyway I am determined to keep looking and tracking this animal.I have just about figured out approximately where it frequents in the park. It is mostly where I have seen wild turkey and game trails. It is not on the marked trails except for one part of it that leads to the old trails that are not very traveled. My son does not like that I am continuing this I maybe should not but I cannot help myself.I am wary and careful though and always take my coyota ( my dog).She will alert me I am sure. Plus usually my husband is with us too.Anyway I found this site doing my research and thought I would share. Ps I am having problems uploading pics. Do you have another way to upload?

    1. I enjoyed reading your comment April. Many thanks and a great cougar sighting. You can email me the photos and I’ll upload them:



      Reduce the size of the photos to less than 2m bytes — preferably around 50,000 bytes and try again.

      Thanks again April.

    2. April here are the photos you have taken which you believe indicate that their is a cougar in the area. These are tracks, a scratching post and I believe a scat (dried feces):

  6. YES, Cougars are in North Carolina! Here in Goldsboro/Walnut Creek area. I searched for other sightings in NC and stumbled on this page. I want to share what I witnessed. I was heading home yesterday, and to the left of me was an oddly and extremely large herd of deer in an open field grazing. I slowed down to look at the deer with my daughter. As, I look up to make sure there was no traffic coming, I noticed something moving out of the corner of my right eye and heading towards my direction. I put on the brakes. And to my surprise, a cougar! It bolted across the street in front of my vehicle. The time was around 5:45 pm’ish. I saw the cougar as bright as day. The head was small and compound, goldish to tan color body, approx. 22″-24″ in height, and about 120 lbs. The tail was long and curved. I can still picture the larger hind legs as it dashed across the street into the woods which is adjacent to this open field where the deer were eating. On the other side of the woods is a single family home. I called the police immediately and the dispatcher stated that he would contact the correct authorities (NC DOT). About 25-30 minutes later I returned back to that same spot with my husband. I wanted to inform the family in the house, next to the woods, what I had witnessed. They were very appreciative and thanked me. Our house is less than 2.5 miles where this occurred. It was very frightening for me and an experience I will never forget.

    1. I enjoyed your comment Tami. What a great sighting. Don’t be afraid of the puma. They are far safer than domestic dogs 😉

      I might turn your comment into an article tomorrow as it has excellent quality and is long enough. Thanks.

  7. My husband and I live in Piney Creek NC. About 50 minutes from Boone. On July 3rd, 2016 I was watching the deer eat corn at my deer feeder with my binoculars about 100 feet from my house when a cougar walked up the driveway. I ran in the house and got my husband who came outside and watched him climb the mountain behind our home. On November 15, 2016 we got a picture of him on our trail camera outside on a tree beside the deer feeder. I hope he hangs around. I love watching him. He’s beautiful. This is not a story told to me I have seen him with my own eyes!!! Amber and Dan Culver

  8. I am not disputing the possibility of mountain lions in North Carolina. What grabs my attention though is “almost every night for 3 weeks” and not a single picture?

  9. I saw/almost ran over a eastern cougar on the outskirts of Stem N.C. I reported the sighting to the Wildlife people and they assured me that i was mistaken because the book says they’ve been extinct for over 100 years . You can’t always believe what you read .

    1. I absolutely agree. The books are often incorrect to put it bluntly. Experts are often not expert or fail to keep abrest of the situation. Thanks for commenting.

  10. In fall of 1995 my friend and I were walking down the gravel drive in front of my family’s mountain home (130 acres) in Asheville NC. We had just crossed a small stream that runs through a pipe under the road. For whatever reason I turned and 15-20 feet away a cougar was crossing the road. He ran through the brush in the overgrown pasture crouched low to the ground. I lost sight of him until he appeared on a bluff approx. 100 yards away. It was just past dusk and as he sat watching us we could see his eyes which were glowing. They a reddish color and appeared large. We went back to the house and returned with my 22 rifle!(20 year old boys!) He was long gone or no longer revealing himself. Wow, what a memory! Must have been 150 lbs or so!

  11. I am the editor for an environmental news publication based in Boone, N.C., and we have tracked the cougar sightings for years in our publication, “The Appalachian Voice.” We recently ran a story in which wildlife experts have confirmed cougars in Tennessee and Kentucky as well as other places, though the biggest question is whether they are in fact descendants of the Eastern cougar, officially listed as extinct in 2011, are the western cousins who have migrated east using wildlife corridors, or are captive pets released into the wild. Regardless of the circumstances, the fact remains that the sightings of the big cats, long thought to be imaginings of crazy folk, are in fact possibly quite real.

    Our latest story is here, if you would like to read on:

    1. Thank you, Jamie, for commenting. I will certainly check out the link and quite possibly do an article on this.

  12. in 2015 I was hunting on our hunting club off grassy island road on the peedee river in anson county nc and was in my box stand which sets about 30 yards off the river I heard something under ny box stand and edged to edge of box stand and there was a cougar looking up at the stand. at first could not believe my eyes but yes it was a cougar. I moved in the stand window and after several leaps down the trail it leaped off the river bank and was gone. what a beautiful powerful anial.

  13. There are Mountain lions in North Carolina. I was driving very slow one morning in 2012 on a dirt road when I came upon one weighing about 125-150. He looked me straight in the eyes before taking off down the trail leading to a stream. I asked a neighbor and he confirmed he had seen him a number of times.
    After I left the site, I came upon several trash cans that had been demolished by the beast. So if someone tells you they are extinct, do not believe a word they say.

  14. I saw a full grown one on my commute home in Greensboro the other night. I called 911 and made a warning post on a local cycling forum about it, which a local news station saw. They came to interview me at work, but excited a lot of the interview, then threw in a phone interview with someone from the NC Wildlife Commission who gave the tired, untrue statement about them being extinct. They did a great job making me look like a lone crazy person, but I know what I saw. I’ve seen bobcats out there, in fact I saw a fox about a half mile after seeing the cougar. This was not a tiny, spotted, tufted bobcat. What I saw was a MASSIVE, straw-colored cat with short cut and a long tail. I had 700 lumens of helmet light directly in its face as I passed by it 6 feet away. Here’s a link to the news spot if anyone cares.

    1. Thanks Matt. Your sighting sounds very genuine. You know what a puma looks like. Great sighting. The comments on this page indicate that wild pumas are in NC.

  15. I have a house in Union Mills in rural area of Rutherford County NC. There have been several eastern cougar sitings in our area. My neighbor got a very clear picture of it and it is definitely a mature “mountain Lion”. I would be glad to share the picture. Hopefully, I will get a pic of my own soon!

    Update: here is the picture:

    cougar N. Carolina

    1. Thank you Graham. The comments on this page clearly indicate cougars in North Carolina. I hope they are not escaped pets but genuine wild pumas. They are not meant to be there according to the experts.

  16. I have just moved to Franklin, North Carolina. My husband and I just bought a home in the mountains two weeks ago off of Highway 64 between Franklin and Highlands. Yesterday around 2:30 PM we were driving through the area and on the way down the mountain we saw a cougar walking through a laurel patch on the side of the road. All I saw was the middle to back of the body. It was a tawny carmel color with a little black mixed in and was wet as it was overcast and raining, the body hung close to the ground and was several feet long and over a foot to a foot and a half high. As we pulled up the animal stopped and my husband got a good look at the small round face and ear of the animal from the shadow of the thicket. It then turned and jumped out of sight. It immediately registered with me as a cougar. We think it was approximately 89-99 lbs and cannot think of any other animal it could be. Bobcats just dont get that big and nothing else we can think of has the small round catlike face. We are living smack dab in the middle of the Nantahala National Forest. The acreage of national forests all around our home amount to approximately 3 millon acres according to the research I have done online. I will not report my sighting to authorities as I am a huge conservationist and believe the wild should remain wild. Wish I could have gotten a picture of the animal but my husband and I were lucky to even have seen it at all apparently. I love the fact that we have seen something that doesnt exist. The government would probably have to spend lots of money to acknowledge this animal now exists and I think that is the reason that the denial of species continues. There are deer, wild turkey, and bear that live in this area. I thought about it possibly being a bear but no bear I have ever seen can jump like that and kick his feet up jumping away.

    1. Great sighting Nancy and thanks for sharing it. If it happens again please tell us. And you are right: don’t tell the authorities. Keep it between you, your husband and the fabulous puma. They are gorgeous animals. I don’t trust authorities. That’s just me.

  17. There is a very large cougar stalking my sheep on my farm. I have seen it 3 times and others have seen it 5 times.
    I got a GP livestock dog. He is my sheeps’ only hope of surviving. There are nights he barks all night. I have seen tracks in the area he is barking.
    The closest I saw the cougar was 30 ft. from my back deck. He was stalking me and my dogs. He is not afraid of me.
    I called and spoke to a Wildlife Biologist. He came out and looked around. A neighbor and I showed him pictures of a cougar in the area on his game camera.
    The biologist will not answer my calls at this time. It really upsets me.
    The animal is big and dangerous and needs to be moved away from people. It is around 200# is about 8 ft. long including the tail.

    1. Thanks Rose for sharing your experience. I hope the community finds a good solution whereby the cougar lives and is allowed to live in relative harmony with humans.

  18. Lol they are deffinantly in the east. And when I say east I mean northeast nc. I lived in colerain nc for about 5 years (ahoskie,edenton,williamston area) my parents and i were riding through an area called black rock on 2 seperate occasions and spotted what I’m assuming to be the same cougar. Both times there were people on byclcles involved. The first time there Was a kid riding and about 200 yards after we passed by him the lion ran across the road in front of us (stepdad almost ran him over). We both got out of thencar and tried to chase him just to get a look and possibly a picture, but he ran inot a field of tobbacco and disapeared. From head to tip of tail he almost took up half the road. The second time we passed two men riding and watched as he ran across behind them. I have watched documentaries on them and noticed that alot of the sightings/attacks involved someone riding a bike. Curiousity I imagine, but none the less, they are here. Also about a week ago in Goldsboro nc about 20 minutes from were I live now (wilson) someone took a photo of a cougar in a feild close to his home… Whether or not these animals are someone’s pet that was released or if they truly are not “extinct” they are deffinantly here in North Carolina.

    1. Many thanks for a great sighting report. Very interesting. All the comments I have read indicate that cougars are in parts of America that the experts say they should not be.

  19. One afternoon in the fall of 2014 my wife and I drove to the top of Wolf Ridge Ski resort before it opened for the season. We were getting out of my truck when a cougar weighing approximately 200 pounds ran across the gravel road within 50 feet of my truck. It dove in to a patch of tall grass and disappeared. The experience unnerved my wife to the extent she wouldn’t get out of the truck. I spoke with several locals about the experience, ALL of them told me seeing a cougar was not unusual. One of them said just about the only person in that part of Madison County that hadn’t seen one was the game warden!

  20. Big cat sighting in Randolph county tonight! My german shepherd has been barking like crazy in the early evening several times in the last few weeks. When I go out to see what’s up, he’s always looking into the wooded area between my neighbors’ and my houses. It happened tonight, and I caught sight of an animal the size of a very large dog, but padding like a cat walks, with a broad head and a long tail with a up-curve at the end. I wondered if it could possibly be a cougar and googled it, finding this thread. People are clear cutting their woods around here like crazy. So wonderful that this kind of wildlife can still survive. Welcome, cougar, I’m happy to co-exist with you. I think my house cat’s habit of going out at night for a couple hours is over, though– sorry, kitty cat.

    1. Yes, it seems you have a cougar about. The tail is a bit of a give away. In Europe we are envious of your cougar. Please look after this magnificent wild cat species. Thanks for reporting your sighting Linda.

  21. Was at the Carolina Beach State Park marina two nights ago and saw a large blonde looking cat. Cat a tail looked to be about 6 feet long.

    1. Looks like you sighted a cougar! The cougar is to be found in more places in America than the experts believe, I have concluded.

  22. Our local Roxboro newspaper has pics on their website of cougars that people have taken here in Person county in recent years. I do not think they are extinct!

  23. Just under a year ago, we moved here to Macon County, specifically a region called Cowee Valley, near Franklin, NC. On Sunday, May 24, 2015 at about 7pm, my husband and I came in from putting a fence around our garden. I peeked out the window to admire our handiwork when I was surprised to see a big cat standing in the drive in front of the garden. I yelled for my husband to come see and the cat paused, looking back toward my direction as if he heard. This gave me a good look at his face and body. The cat was about 75 yards away but I could tell it was not a small, domesticated cat. The cat was blonde/light camel colored with a long, thick tail. It’s back would likely measure up above my knee and it looked to be at least 4 feet in length. If I had to guess, I’d say he weighed about 100lbs or more. We have a kid and two small dogs. My neighbor has dozens of animals, so when the cat took off toward my neighbor’s pasture, I put on my boots and ran down there. When I caught up, the cat was crouched in the tall grass of the pasture, stalking my neighbor’s animals about 20yds away. My approach startled him out of his hiding spot and he then ran off into the tree line.
    I called the wildlife commission and have been given a bit of the run-around. They say I probably saw a domesticated cat or something else. They gave me other phone numbers to call, which have not responded to my messages yet. I know what I saw and I find it dangerous that the authorities here are failing to respond appropriately. Denying their existence does not make them non-existent. I absolutely love animals, especially big cats. They are so intriguing and beautiful. I don’t like hurting animals, but I have to protect my own. It saddens me, but I find it necessary at this point to keep a loaded weapon available if the cat should return and threaten our safety. However, I would much rather the authorities handle the situation properly.

    1. Hi Carrie. Nice comment. Very clear sighting. Thanks. My understanding of of the cougar is that it is not essential to shoot at it. I cover this on this page. The cat be seen off without it being killed. Kids needs need to be supervised though. But I hate the idea of a mountain being shot. That is all.

  24. We totally discounted every result claimed by USF&WS Officials, who partook in their 2011 eastern cougar survey. Their entire survey was FLAWED from the very beginning, due to agency use of ‘experts’, lacking subject knowledge and pre-survey comments of ‘not capable of finding evidence’. WILD, FREE-ROAMING pumas have survived in small numbers in the Smokies, Ozark & Appalachian Mountains since long-before native American Indians travelled thru what would become the Carolinas’ more than 300 years ago.

  25. there have been quite a few sightings around the Carthage and West End area of Moore County NC. Also there is a black variety commonly sighted on the Lumber River and in the surrounding areas.

    1. Thanks Jim. I have heard about the black cougars of NC. These are melanistic cougars. Quite rare but they do exist just like the black jaguar and leopard. They are called black panthers.

  26. I live in Taylors SC, at the base of Paris Mountain. I had just moved into a highly populated neighborhood. I saw this cat that weighed approx. 60 lbs. and could not figure out at that moment what I was looking at. It was about 15 yards from me walking away from me and all I could think about was how thick its tail was, thinking to myself this was not house cat. It was tan in color, as I approached a little closer trying to figure out what this was it had turned around facing me and sat crunching looking at me. I immediately went inside to get my camera as I was sure no one would believe what I was looking at. When I came back it was gone. After researching online, I’m sure I was looking at a Mountain Lion. I’m not sure if this was someone’s exotic pet that had escaped or what. It was beautiful and I did not feel threatened by it at all.

    1. Stacey, yours seems to be a genuine sighting because you were so close. Also this cat seemed to be very habituated to humans. Relaxed in your presence. Some mountain lions are dangerously used to being around people in the suburbs. This is where they get trapped and killed. Very sad. Thanks for posting.

  27. WOW…I just read the comment from the person who said his/her father saw a black panther in Bladen county. I do live in Bladen county, close to Elizabethtown, and that’s where I and my neighbor saw this black panther.It was crossing the street later in the day, around 5 pm, even so it was not dark yet.

  28. I know for a fact that we have mountain lions (cougars, pumas, panthers, or whatever you want to call them)in NC. Actually, a friend of mine has one at his house – it is his, and it took him forever to get a license to keep this animal. It wouldn’t take that long for a license, if this animal was extinct in NC.
    But, my neighbor and I also saw 2 mountain lions where we live – by the coast – and one of them was actually a black panther (must have slipped i here from FL). So pumas do exist here in NC, always have and probably always will.

  29. I and a friend were just watching a special on mountain lions and started talking about the one I saw in 1996 or 1997 in Rutherford county nc so I googled it and was surprised to see two more comments from Rutherford county. I was driving threw a then dirt road{Henson road}that crosses floyds creek. As I crossed the one lane bridge a huge mountain lion jumped off a high bank onto the road about 50 ft in front of me. I was going maybe 5 mph. When it landed I will never forget how much muscle it had in its front shoulder and how big his head and the length and girth of its tail. It kind of walked fast down the road in front of me about a 100 ft then turned down a power line trail as I turned also behind it for about another 200 feet before it went into the brush. I told my friend about seeing it and about 3 years later he had a friend tell him {you will never believe what I saw on Henson road last night!}My friend replied, a mountain lion. We were raised in the woods hunting, training dogs with my father and grandpa, so I know what I saw. I live about 2 miles from there deep in the woods and maybe once a year or two I will hear one screaming and my dogs{germam shepherd,and half Rottweiler} will tuck there tail and slightly growl laying at the steps of my back porch. My uncle also saw one that run across in front of him at dawn on ferry rd 1 mile from the house in 2003. I know there are a few still around and hope they stay.

    1. There are some great comments on this page and yours is one of them. I enjoyed reading your comment. There are definitely mountain lions in NC and I hope they stay and thrive and people learn to live with them. According to the regular cougar distribution map (IUCN Red List) they are not meant to be in NC.

      Rutherford County is in Tennessee isn’t it (I live in the UK). Mountain lions are not meant to be there either!

      1. Hi Michael, Rutherford county is located in the foothills of NC about 30 miles below Asheville. The upper end of the county is mountainous. I see there has been another post after mine from Chris on vacation in lake lure. Lake lure is located in the upper part of Rutherford county NC.

  30. We are on vacation right now in the blue ridge mountains just east of lake lure. We are renting a house fairly isolated in the mountains. Today my daughter told us she saw something large with a long tail sprint 10 feet within the house. Ten minutes later 2 dogs are snooping around barking and sniffing in the bushes.We tell her she probably saw a large dog. An hour later I go out for something and as I am coming back up the mountain, I see a cougar at least 150 pounds flying up the hillside close to another house. In the last 3 days on this mountain we have seen a flock of turkeys and many deer. So the food source is there. I decided to google mountain lions in north Carolina and I came across this forum. We are from Illinois and North Carolina is a beautiful state. Thanks.

  31. Our cougars in Craven County, NC are not pets released into the wild. Two pairs have been sighted recently in Fairfield Harbour, a housing community with about 3,000 residents. A foursome playing golf spotted two cougar cubs watching them from the edge of the 12th fairway. They have joined the local wildlife we all enjoy: bears, foxes,wildcats, geese, ducks,possums, raccoons,beavers, otters,and deer.

  32. I need to add my two cents or rather my two sightings. I live in the south eastern corner of Wilkes county on 70 acres close to Yadkin county and Iredell county.
    Two years ago I saw a mountain lion that weighed about 175 pounds and about 6 foot including the tail in the daylight! After the first sighting, by about a mouth, I was with a local county official and saw the second one at about the same place on the top of our mountain. The second one was about 1/2 the size of the first. They do exist!

  33. I have one that was around my house in Cameron north Carolina last year, That’s to close for me, There are a lot of kids in the neighborhood ,They are attacking people now, They are infected by raccoons, I say kill them before they kill us.

    1. Hi Mary. Thanks for visiting and commenting. You live there and you know what it is like and of course you have a right to your own opinion but I disagree with you. I disagree because the mountain lion was there before you. The mountain lion was there hundreds of thousands of years before you and therefore they have a right to be respected. Your idea about how to treat them, namely, to kill them is not respectful of this magnificent wild cat species.

      In addition, only about 18 people have been killed in the USA by the cougar in the past 100 years and most of those killings are of children who were unsupervised. Domestic dogs are far more lethal. Would you kill them too? It would help if you read a little bit about this wild cat. If you did you might change your opinion.

  34. We live in Fairfield Harbour, a housing plan in Craven County on the border of Pamlico County in Eastern North Carolina. My husband saw a cougar this morning around 8 am while walking our dog on the golf cart path of an overgrown golf course. It left the path and crossed a street near houses on a cul-de-sac. It was about the size of a deer, straw-colored, with a long tail.

    1. Wow. That interests me because the mountain lion is wandering around urban areas and across golf courses. I suppose that the mountain lion in Eastern North Carolina is quite habituated to the presence of people and I’m wondering whether this is dangerous for the mountain lion as he or she wanders into urban areas frightening some people who might retaliate by killing him/her. Thank you very much for commenting Judy.

  35. I was told by my neighbor that someone found a dead Cougar next to the road near our development. I don’t know the details, but she said that everyone that looked at it knew it was a Cougar. The animal control came by and picked it up. I live near Greensboro, NC and did not think they were in this area. I remember years ago them being in Virginia and the Western part of the state, but had no idea that they roamed this area.

  36. I live in eastern NC, in a rural farming community, Last night my wildlife cam shot a picture of a large cougar, in the swamp. He is beautiful, and at least 180 lbs. So they are here, alive and well!!!!

  37. Forgive me if I seem ignorant; but, what I really want to see is the Florida black panther that I understand may not really be a panther but, rather a puma or whatever.
    The typical brown/tabby/whatever is beautiful ofcourse. But, the black one would be such a thrill to see that I may pee my pants (SORRY, MICHAEL, but it’s true).

  38. I live in Charlotte, NC. No lions here, as we would probably run them over. But, in our mountains? I know there used to be cougars up there, but now they are supposedly extinct. When I went to Florida and saw a Florida Panther, I was talking to a someone down there. Now I am not sure if this is true. But they said that the panthers in the NC mountains today are really the same Florida Panthers. They have tried to reintroduce the panther in the smokey mountains. He also stated there are some slight difference between the Florida panther and the NC panther from the past. I think something about color and the Florida panther being a little bit smaller.

    Again, I cannot verify any of this.

      1. Please do check that out, Michael.
        I haven’t seen a panther in the wild here, only in captivity.
        I so wish I would see one in my travels through the wilderness.
        They are our state animal and magnificent.

    1. I have to say, I live in Iredell county n.c. and we DO have COUGARS here. They have been caught on nite cams the hunters put out to catch deer. The DNR does not want to deal with this. Also have killed livestock for easy hunting.

  39. My aunt lives in Hyde County and has been seeing cougars there for about 30-years. They live in a rural area with plenty of farms and deer, plus they back to a large hunt club. Plenty of food and dense forest for them to hide.

  40. I live in eastern NC in Brunswick County close to Oak Island. My neighbor came over this week excited over the photo he had gotten on his trail camera he uses for deer hunting. I was amazed at the size of the Black Panthers photo he was lucky enough to get. Perfect close up shot of the entire animal. This cat I feel sure would have no problem taking down a full grown whitetail deer. I observed a full grown Cougar several years ago in Bladen County and my Dad had 2 Black Panthers cross in front of him not 1/2 mile from where I saw my big cat. With the deer and turkey population being so plentiful they sure have plenty to eat. They are very elusive animals and to actually see one is a great experience!

    1. Wow. Black cougars are pretty rare. I’d love to see that picture. If he can upload it with a comment that would be great and thanks for telling us about your sightings.

      1. He is having problems with his PC at this time. I still have not received a copy either and just asked him about it only a few minutes ago. He owns a Bull Mastif and the cat is every bit as big or bigger than this huge dog. He has a great photo.

  41. While traveling west in Pamlico County from the Florence community two eastern cougars crossed the highway in front of me.These cats were within 50 yards of me and were running nose to tail of one another and were headed in the atlas trac land.

  42. I was just looking at all the sightings of cougars in NC and thought I’d add those I know of in Surry and Stokes Co. also. As far back as 2010 my youngest son and I saw one crossing a field in broad day light. Without question, it was a cougar with a tail of three feet and weight of about 125 to 150 pounds and easily took strides of ten feet ( Stokes Co. ). My oldest son had to stop to keep from hitting one just two weeks later about three miles from the one I saw ( Stokes Co.), maybe the same cat. Last year a school bus driver in Pilot Mountain had to slam on the brakes to miss one early in the morning on the way to pick up kids and gave the same description as others ( Surry Co.) and just today 10/21/2013 a report of a sighting in the Madison area which is Rockingham Co. After doing a little research I’ve learned that a ten year study ended three years ago and concluded that there was not a breedable population of eastern cougars which placed them on the extent list whereby federal money has been pumped in to repopulate the eastern United States with yet another unwelcome predator. It would be nice if our local government would ask us how we feel before wasting our tax dollars. Cougars most certianly have a place and purpose just not in heavily populated areas.

    1. i see you said the government is pumping money into another unwanted predator, I assume you are talking about the red wolf. Red wolves are very timid and scared of humans, just like cougars! they are vitale in the ecosystem. Without them deer and other populations of animals will continue to grow and whent hey get to large these animals will statrve and spread disease, Thats why both red wolves and cougars are vitale. You need to remember that both these animals were here way before me or you, we are the reason they arent here anymore. we are the ones responsible for taking away their habitat. if you dont like living with them then I suggest you move!

      1. Well said Brian. The key is that the cougar was in America before the rampant human and it is the human who occupies cougar land. A little respect for the cougar is in order. And no bloody hunting of cougars with dogs please. I hate it.

  43. i live in havelock,n.c. about 8 miles outside the city of havelock on ferry rd. and i saw a cougar about 6 years ago cross the road and walk about 40 feet from me and go into the forest. i know there are cougar here in this area.

  44. Attn. Ryan Rachman
    I live on the Richmond county side of the peedee river. Actually quite a distance away by road, but not so far through the woods. Our property connects with “the gamelands”. I have read that cougars will travel 20 miles or more and consider that area their territory. For the past few months, mainly at night, I have heard what sounded like recordings of a cougar on the Internet. For the past two evenings just before sunset, I have seen what looks exactly like pictures of a cougar. I never would have seen it if we didn’t have a large, loud dog that alerted me. Both times I quickly took my dog and house cat inside for the night. I was wondering if the cougar is still on your property and who if anyone you called. The cougar on our property is quite large. He has orange/redish/ fur. It’s hard to describe the color. He is beautiful. I would like to see him safely relocated to another area. We also have a bobcat with two cubs in the area. I have not seen them on my property, but within a mile. We also have a pack of coyotes and see redtailed and gray fox that travel around the edges of our property. I had no idea that these animals would come so close to humans or that I would have to be on guard if outside when we moved here. I grew up in Richmond county, out in the country surrounded by woods, played outside and in the woods from sunrise to sunset and I never saw any of these animals. I guess all of the people moving to our state are uprooting these animals from their homes. Carthage/Vass area has black bears around this time every year and in Harnett County there have been hundreds of reports of a black panther being sighted. Anyway, it’s possible that we are seeing the same cougar if the one on your property is still visiting you. Good luck to you and be careful.

  45. I caught this cat earlier this year on a trail camera about 250 yds behind my house in Eastern NC, Pender County approx 7 miles from I-40.

    1. Forgive me (I am European) but on checking that location is near the coast. Basically that is as far east in the USA as you can get where there should be no pumas. So, what do you think? Are there wild pumas (cougars) in this area and along the east of the USA or is this an escaped “pet”?

      Thanks for commenting by the way.

      1. Some people talk about the “Carolina Cougar” from years ago but havent been seen is these parts for many years. Some say it us just a big bobcat but it looks more like a cougar or mountain lion to me with the round ears and powerful hind quarters. I hear reports of a large black cat 30 miles to my East also. The forest around here is very dense with a very high white tail deer population so it is definately possible for cats of this size to thrive.

        1. One troubling aspect for me is the tail. The cougar tail is long and quite thick. This tail looks like a standard domestic cat tail. I think too that this cat is too small. Here is a picture of a puma in Brazil by Photo by Greg S. Garrett……

  46. July, 4th 2013: We are sitting outside right now after seeing a large sleek cat with a distinctively long tail trotting down the private lane we live on in Richlands, NC…Onslow County. If leaped across the ditch into the field across from our house, and we can still hear sounds moving throughout the plants. Until we researched wildcats in NC, we didn’t know much about them, but we were shocked to find that they sound much like a women screaming. Since we’ve lived here, there have been several nights when the livestock around us have gone nuts, and we thought we heard a women screaming. We have been tempted to social services thinking we were hearing a domestic situation! But, that would not really explain the animals running and in a state of chaos! We had the sheriff out a few times to see if they could figure out what was going on, but they never figured out what we were hearing or why. Maybe this explains it all? If we catch a picture, we’ll definitely report it to wildlife!

  47. I was staying in Union Mills,NC which is in Rutherford County in 2007 and I saw a cougar. I was sitting on the front porch, and it crossed the road in front of me. Beautiful cat!

  48. Northern Iredell County near the town of Harmony. My family saw a very large cat on Tuesday March 19, 2013 at just after 6:00 PM. It was walking slowly along the edge of a field that we can see from our kitchen window. I saw it first and called the others (3) who also saw it. We often see deer in the same spot so I have a good reference for size perspective. I would say about six feet long. It was solid black in color. I had never heard of such an animal in North America so I figured it had to be an escaped exotic animal. When I told about it I was surprised to hear of the same kind of animal being seen in Yadkin county just North of here recently. I work with a girl from Yadkin so I asked her to talk to people she knows to find out more. She surprised me by telling of her uncle who has seen these “Black panthers” several times and has been trying to trap one.

    1. So glad i found this site! I recently was driving home at night. Just past 8 p.m. I live in a rural area of NC. Really not many streetlights. I was coming down a hill and saw two eyes glowing back at me right in the middle of our two lane road. I flashed my lights and could make out the grass, the road, and telephone poll.. But the body that belonged to those glowing eyes was all black. I kept trying to adjust my eyes to see if I was seeing a shadow because I was just not believing my eyes! It was about a 4-5 ft I’m guessing somewhat juvenile puma! I slowed my car to about 10 mph watched it slip between the rails of a split fence! Had the signature long tail and was so agile. It disappeared so fast–I really could not believe what I had just witnessed!! …I shouldn’t be too surprised though because 15 years ago heading into Folly Beach crossing over the stretch of marsh. I was driving with a couple of friends and saw a cougar or puma jump with stealth like speed into the marsh hunting something! When I excitedly announced–“Woah!! –Did anyone just see that?!!” My friend T.J. said, “If you mean that big a** wildcat that just dove in the water– then yes!” Everyone else missed it. That one was more of a tannish color with some markings but his tail flipped up behind him!!… Big cats in the Carolina’s probably never left but have adjusted with their habitats and may have self-restricted hunting patterns.

      1. Hi Lani, what a great description of your sighting. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As you say it looks like the puma is in NC despite the fact that officially they are not ?. Thanks for sharing your first-hand experience.

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