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jgradyc

Any sightings of big cats in Cheatham County?

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I live on Old Hickory Blvd between Ashland City and Joelton. Last night, my wife saw the shadow of something big moving behind our house. Big in this case means the size of a medium to large dog.  She said it didn't move like a deer or a dog. This morning, when I walked the dog, our old cat went outside and sniffed the bushes along the woods a long time and then marked them himself. He doesn't normally mark bushes that far away from the house. When coyotes have been around, the cat usually smells them and won't even leave the deck the next morning... smart cat!

Have there been any sightings of big cats in this area?

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My Son has a pair of Bob Cats on his place but nothing as big as what you discribed. He also lives on south side of Cheatham County. I would not doubt there are some big cats in Cheatham County still. I know back many years ago when I was still on my Grandfathers Ranch we had Cougars cause when it snowed we would see their tracks and some of the live stock would be uneasy but never actually saw one. Lost a few chickens that roosted in the trees every night and granddad said Hell, they gotta eat to. He never got up set about a few chickens. Maybe there numbers tumbled for a few years and they are now coming back. With all the construction of their habitat I think there will be more sightings of them when they get closer to towns...........JMHO  

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My cat is probably smart enough to avoid a confrontation with a big cat, but my little dog is too dumb. I'll have to keep a closer eye on her when we go for our morning and evening walks.

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38 minutes ago, jgradyc said:

My cat is probably smart enough to avoid a confrontation with a big cat, but my little dog is too dumb. I'll have to keep a closer eye on her when we go for our morning and evening walks.

2nzj0w.jpg

 

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Is there any documentation of big cats in the Smokies, going back even to early settlers?

It would not be hard to imagine solitary big cats in the Park, smart enough to avoid humans, caves to shelter in, and a tasty variety of critters to eat.

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I've seen two large cat carcasses in all the years I've been out and about. The largest one was about 8 years ago laying on the side of the road between Bristol and Johnson city.

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1 hour ago, Raoul said:

I've seen two large cat carcasses in all the years I've been out and about. The largest one was about 8 years ago laying on the side of the road between Bristol and Johnson city.

You left out the part about them being black...

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8 minutes ago, Erik88 said:

You left out the part about them being black...

They prefer to called Panthera Pardus.

 

Edited by BrasilNuts

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22 hours ago, Erik88 said:

TWRA denied they were here for years. It seems they have recently been spotted in Macon and Sumner county. It's not crazy to think they might be passing through Cheatham as well.

 

https://www.wvlt.tv/content/news/493110841.html

I don’t think the TWRA ever denied that they were here.  They denied that there was a population of them in the state and that sightings were probably lone cats passing through.  I don’t think they couldn’t have been right about that.  

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1 hour ago, Capbyrd said:

I don’t think the TWRA ever denied that they were here.  They denied that there was a population of them in the state and that sightings were probably lone cats passing through.  I don’t think they couldn’t have been right about that.  

That's not what I remember at all. I can recall multiple times them basically saying people were crazy. Maybe it depended on who you spoke to.

Edited by Erik88

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6 minutes ago, Capbyrd said:

I don’t think the TWRA ever denied that they were here.  They denied that there was a population of them in the state and that sightings were probably lone cats passing through.  I don’t think they couldn’t have been right about that.  

No, they definitely denied they were here at all.  There were pictures, a bit grainy, that they said were just large house cats, bob cats etc.  It wasn't until they were caught on game cams that they had no choice but to acknowledge them.  Now they are saying that "no population" line though.

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22 minutes ago, Erik88 said:

That's not what I remember at all. I can recall multiple times them basically saying people were crazy and. Maybe it depended on who you spoke to.

I believe we have Black Panther deniers here on TGO.

The problem is the actual sightings outside of our area are re-posted as caught in area and shared.

A large vibrant population is not probable. pass throughs with a few locals is possible and with the size of the Park and no residential, it's virtually impossible to confirm or deny.

Hope we actually do have a few, protected (by accident) through the NPS.

Here is an actual sighting of one in it's winter environment.

IMG_20161212_135521064_HDR.jpg

Edited by Gotthegoods
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8 hours ago, Gotthegoods said:

I believe we have Black Panther deniers here on TGO.

We do, and I'm one of them. At this point, nobody is denying cougars/mountain lions/puma are in Tennessee. That's not the same as a black one. So far, no evidence exists at all of a black cougar anywhere....ever. There are black jaguars and leopards, but those are not in the USA outside of zoos and Russian mobster's collections.

As stated above, TWRA denies a resident population of cougars. They're known to travel a long way so confirmed sightings in TN are not evidence of resident populations so TWRA may be correct....or maybe not.

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I heard back several years ago of a pair of Black Panthers in the state of Florida that people actually had pictures of and said they were thought to be living in the Everglades. Some folks said the pictures where photo shopped but others say they weren't. I don't know but I would guess if they did exist they were probably smuggled into the country from Africa by some exotic collector and somehow got released. but I have not heard of anyone here actually seeing a black big cat.................:shrug:

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I think the big cats are going to be the next coyotes.  Didn't use to have those around the Knoxville area, but now they are quite common.  I think we will see the same thing with these big cats in the coming years.

Last week, I watched a video of a cougar preying on a house cat.  It was no contest.

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18 hours ago, monkeylizard said:

We do, and I'm one of them. At this point, nobody is denying cougars/mountain lions/puma are in Tennessee. That's not the same as a black one. So far, no evidence exists at all of a black cougar anywhere....ever. There are black jaguars and leopards, but those are not in the USA outside of zoos and Russian mobster's collections.

As stated above, TWRA denies a resident population of cougars. They're known to travel a long way so confirmed sightings in TN are not evidence of resident populations so TWRA may be correct....or maybe not.

I see your point of panther / jaguar, not likely they crossed the SE US from the Sierra Madres.

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I think it's disingenuous of the TWRA to make a distinction between a sole or breeding pair and a resident population when people just want to know if their pets and kids are in danger.  I've seen way too many pics, vids, and stories of sightings to discount the posibility of large black cats out in the woods.  Personal collections, sanctuaries, zoos and the occasional migrant cat can all contribute to possible sightings.  Heck, I didn't know Florida had a troop of monkeys in the wild until I seen a YouTube on it.

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Dad worked for Martin Marrieta  (at the time) on the Lantirn system.

He has (or had) an old VHS tape of test footage of a large cat stalking what appears to be a rabbit, looking south on their Sand Lake property. Vintage '85 - '87

We assume an elusive Florida panther, but who knows?

How cats (in general) interact with humans is pretty interesting, after watching, "the lion in your living room," on Netflix.

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I think wildlife officials in many states do not want to admit to the possibility of big cats because as soon as they admit a population exists, then the Endangered Species Act comes into play.  It doesn't just protects the animals; it requires protection of their habitat.  Large cats have large ranges, so an acknowledged breeding population would give them huge headaches.

It is much easier to deny for as long as possible, then blame confirmed sightings on cats just passing through from some other known population.  

In Georgia, for years the DNR would basically say you were mistaken, a liar, or crazy if you reported a cougar of any color.  Then a guy shot one, and they had to acknowledge the far-ranging lone cats.

They also charged him under the Endangered Species Act even though he said he was in fear of his life.  Maybe it was a message to future hunters to shoot, shovel, and shut up.

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