HomeWild Cat SpeciesPumaRegular cougar sighting in North Carolina


Regular cougar sighting in North Carolina — 140 Comments

  1. Caught a glimpse of motion to my right as I drove down Old Candor Road heading south toward Candor . The newly constructed bypass was only 200-300 yards in front of me . I slowed to look towards the edge of the undergrowth which was about 25-30 yards away . I could see the side of a huge ( about 24 inches to its back ) camel colored cat . He was whirling around to head back into the thicket but I could clearly see his 3-4 foot long round tail . It was about 1 1/2 – 2 inches in diameter . Hope I or nobody else has to confront this animal in a hostile situation ( if it were injured or had young nearby ), because this cat could kill a human . I did try to contact people nearest to the sighting . I was able to leave a note at the residence 100-200 yards away and tell him what I had seen , he called me later to thank me for the info . I also spoke to a couple who lived nearby and described what I saw to them , they also were very thankful . I emailed NCWildlife Resources and reported it . They gave me the stock reply that cougars don’t live in NC . Well I hate to tell them but this one does ! I also reported it to the Troy Police .

  2. May 2019. Running on a mountain trail that follows a large creek. Three deer came charging down the mountain toward me and the creek. Very unusual that they did not move back up the mountain away from me. I did not have a clear view where they crossed the trail but I heard the first two splash thru the creek. Then the 3rd hit the creek and mayhem broke loose. I could hear it’s hooves frantically hitting the rocks and water. Within 5 seconds, I reached a spot with a clear view of a mature deer in the middle of the creek. A large cat had locked onto the deer’s neck and began carrying it sideways out of the creek. The deer’s front hooves were held above the water with it’s rear hooves still striking the rocks. Watched it carry the deer about 10′ until the cat reached the creek bank. I quickly left the area (not armed). The cat was tan with a tail well over 3′ long. This was my second sighting in the area over a 2 year period.

  3. Had This image on my cam this week 3-4-2019. Halifax/Edgecombe county line North Carolina. Looks like a cougar but not for sure. What do ya’ll think.

  4. This past Saturday June 30th 2018 one of our camping group saw one in Stone Mountain State Park while walking to the bathhouse middle of the night. The mountain lion was in crouched position off to their right when their flash light revealed it’s presence. To their left deer were proceeding across the driveway. Obviously it was after the deer but of course the person returned to their tent rather than proceed to the bathhouse.

  5. Despite “native” pumas claimed extinction east of Mississippi River, data w/tracks 1964. Potter Co. Pa. tracks in 97; 3-springs, Huntingdon Co, Pa; Savage Camp Creek, Pike Co, Ky. May 1999 ID tracks. New/old 10/20s being investigated in Adirondacks, Smokies, Appalachians. can be reached at: epuma@frontier.com after May 3rd.

  6. We have mountain lions here in East Tennessee. I had 2 friends in two completely different locations, show me their critter cams with mountains lions on them.

    • Thanks for sharing. The official assessment of distribution of the puma does not square up with personal sightings.

    • Larry, this is the perennial problem. You very rarely see good photographic evidence or photographic evidence at all. This calls into question the validity of the sightings. However, there are many comments on this page which support the view that the mountain lion is present in North Carolina.

      • In November of 2017, I was driving north on 109 just north of Wadesboro NC. I saw a tan object in the road and did not pay much attention thinking it was a large cardboard box. As I got closer an oncoming truck appeared, as it approached the object jumped about 10 feet in the air and came running toward me and turned and slowly strolled over the ditch and into the woods. 70-80 pound cat body with very muscular hind legs. All I could think of was a mountain lion. I was in shock at the size and muscles in its rear. It was larger than my 65 pound dogs. Apparently was eating road kill until the truck approached. It was near the Pee Dee Nature reserve.

  7. On 1-2-18 while driving through the dirt roads of croatan national forest I saw a large cat step into road and then turn and slink back into the under brush , long tail long body , 2 ft tall and level shoulder to tail. Not a bobcat face was blunt and ears were laid back on its head not perked up pointy like a bobcat

  8. If you look at the new picture posted here you will see and recognize the similarities. Both cats (and I believe the cat in my first post to be a large Tom) have very large long muscular legs, and the same rounded ear structure, but the dead give away is the dark ring around their mouths that is only found on mountain lions. I am not sure if you can download the picture and zoom in on the head on the game trail photo, but it has the unmistakable dark ring around it’s mouth that only mountain lions have.

    • Yes, thanks Brian. I understand where you are coming from. The picture you have uploaded shows a cougar with what appears to be shorter than usual forelegs. It may be a subadult. The classic puma conformation for me is shown below:

      puma cat

      Longer legs and a more lanky body with a smaller head in relation to the body.

  9. We, there are only a few animals it could be. It’s obviously not a bear….too long, lean, and muscular. It’s missing the beard and spots that a bobcat has….and is obviously way to big to be a bobcat too. It has the dark circle around it’s mouth that is typical of mountain lions, and the slightly rounded ears that mountain lions have, vs. the sharper more pointer ears the the bobcat have….I am well versed in any and all wildlife’s found in Western n.c., and there is no other animal in the woods that could come even remotely close to what this picture is, except a mountain lion…..sorry I strongly disagree.

    • That’s fine Brian. I accept your assessment. It is just that the head looks too large compared to the body for a puma and the puma is more lanky. But it may just be the image quality which is hiding the true features. I agree that is nothing it can be other than a puma. It is rather strange.

      • Really? I immediately see a cougar in Brian’s photo, without a doubt. I know you don’t live here, Michael, but there is nothing else it could possibly be. Certainly not a dog, wolf, coyote, etc. That head is definitely a big cat’s.

        • Well, I know the appearance of puma’s very well and the photo is not convincing. I agree it does not look like a coyote or wolf or even a dog but it also does not look like a puma because the image quality is not good enough. Just my opinion.

  10. Many people in Western n.c. claim to have seen big cats, which is totally believable, but we actually have a picture on one on a game trail camera in Polk county, and the game warden still won’t believe it

    • Brian, in my opinion this is not a cougar. The body conformation is incorrect and the head is the wrong size and shape. Do you think the head looks like the head of a cat? It does not to me. Although the body looks like that of a cat. Anyway it was very nice of you to share the image.

  11. We have seen 2 black panthers in Caswell County in 2014 and 2016(actually kind of black-mahogany)and one buff-colored one. The eyes shine like medium-size flashlights at night, and they tend to be mostly bright yellow. The last one I saw just the other night, about 7 PM in our pasture, stalking small goats. These cats are diurnal, so you see them in morning hours around sun-up and also in evening when they begin hunting prey. This means they are resting/sleeping in hiding for the most part of daytime hours. Caution: It hid behind a tree and then went straight UP. So look up folks, if you are in the woods.

  12. we have been seeing a “cat” with a long tail. Actually I am a potter, and the cat got into my studio in August and destroyed some snack foods that I had there and then came to our outside deck and opened some flour bags and sugar. We live in Sylva, NC

  13. I have a home in a very remote area of Mitchell County, actually the entire county is sparsely populated and you’re not likely to find a more remote area in NC where my home is located. My property borders Pisgah National Forest. I have around my property, 7 streaming DVR cameras. The camera’s notify me of any motion 24/7 and all streaming is recorded, not just motion. If there are mountain lions in WNC, my location would be perfect as there is plenty of game that walks by my cameras. I’ve seen lots of Black Bears with cubs, wild turkey, coyote, raptors and deer. However, my cameras have never caught a mountain lion. The USFS has trail cameras all over the National Forests. I tend to believe them. If there was anywhere a mountain lion could live unmolested and have plenty of game and water, my location is it.

    • Many thanks Kent for what I consider to be a very realistic report on the presence of mountain lions in NC. I wish I lived where you live. It sounds nice.

  14. I presently live in Asheville, NC and on July 30, 2017, I spotted a cougar on the Mountain to Sea Trail near Hendersonville Road within the city limits of Asheville. I have seen many lions in my career as a High Altitude Research Station manager in the Eastern Sierras of California. I have seen them in both the Sierra Nevada Range and the White/Inyo Mountain Range. Her profile appeared to be that of a healthy female who looked pregnant or was nursing.

  15. I live in Mocksville nc.one 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 us.so if you live in Mocksville and you’re in the forest stay alert,i do.

    • 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.

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