[Homestead] was Homestead] Hatching Round 3, now mountain lions
indexer at fairpoint.net
Thu Jan 1 23:09:28 EST 2009
> There is an owl that sounds like a woman screaming, too. I have heard
> it myself on occasion. There is also a fox cry that sounds freaky like
> I firmly believe that the Appalachians are sufficiently remote enough to
> support a carnivorous species like a panther. It did once. If even a
> small population survived in an enclave somewhere, with the reduction in
> hunting and the urbanization of modern American life, I think it is
> highly possible that there are indeed species like mountain lions making
> a comeback, and that they are glimpsed every so often.
For sure they are in the Appalachians. I saw one in 1978 on Loft
Mountain (about halfway up VA) when we were hiking the AT. It was no
fleeting glance, we stared at each other, equally surprised, for
probably 30 seconds and it was for sure a big male mountain lion. We
reported it when we came off the AT, and everyone in Forest Service,
park rangers, etc, all stated no lions in the region, but finally, a few
years later, someone got a good shot (camera) of one only about 10 miles
south of there, and after that there were several sightings in that
region. Plus which there have at least since 1967 that I'm aware of,
occasional reports all up and down the range of big cats.
I also saw one here, and boy, did people laugh at me, tried to convince
me it was a Golden Retriever (???), a deer, whatever, but I got a good
look at it, as did the adult, knowledgeable passenger in my car. Three
years ago a guy that lives over that way apologized for laughing at me:
something had been getting his lambs and the game warden told him it
couldn't have been anything but a big cat, but he wasn't "allowed" to
admit they exist here for fear of them being put on the endangered
species list....I didn't follow that up, but his kid did get really nice
casts of the footprints. Big cat.
So I think they're around a lot more than folks realize.
Certainly we have our share of bobcats. They get something once in a
while but aren't a real problem, a dog is enough to deter them. I hear
them several times a year, so know there are plenty here. Just last
spring I saw a pair of bobcat cubs wrestling in the dusty roadway, quite
the sight--one of the best rewards of living as a homesteader. When I
first moved into their territory, some of the bobcat here thought
chicken would be good on their menu, but at the time I had a mean old
tomcat who was as territorial as they come, and gave up easy. Fisher is
a bigger problem in the small predator category, and those things aren't
afraid of anything, plus hard to trap.
There are a few lynx left here too, and those are strictly hands-off; if
folks lose chickens or whatever to lynx, they are reimbursed rather than
allowed to shoot them.
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