Panthers in MD?

Submitted by Kathleen on 03/18/2004 at 08:19. ( )

Sorry if this board is not the proper place to post this- I did an internet search on Panthers in Carroll County MD and this site popped as #1 on the list - I have spotted a big black cat while walking my dog twice now in the past two months. The animal is definitely a cat, 500 feet away in a very large (100's of acres)farmer's field. The tail is very long and very noticeable. I would guess the animal is about the size of my dog (smaller Rottie) but not nearly as tall. It's all black as best I can tell. It's moving across the field to the next small wooded area. I live in the western part of Carroll County Maryland not far from the PA line - about 15 miles southeast of Gettysburg. The area is very rural full of deer and fox. Could this animal attack unprovoked? Am I seeing things? Are they nocturnal? Thanks for any help you can provide.

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This response submitted by Rob on 03/18/2004 at 10:04. ( )

I don't know if it is a panther or not, but it is some type of wild cat. A friend of mine shot one and killed it here in central Ohio. It was stalking down on his dog ( small cocker spaniel ). He lives in Cochocton County, and his house was in the edge of the woods. The dog was sitting in the edge of the woods, and he saw the cat ( from his window inside the house ) crouched and stalking toward his pet.He opened the window and shot it. It was probably 5'-6' long including the tail! It was also entirely black. I don't know if anyone else has seen any or not.

Get a camcorder with zoom and film it

This response submitted by Cecil on 03/18/2004 at 10:10. ( )

and submit to your wildlife authorities. They should be able to tell you what it is. It's always possible it was once domestic and got lose or was released. God know what kind of exotics some people have out there.


This response submitted by Bojack on 03/18/2004 at 10:21. ( )

I saw a black panther back in 1991 here in south Arkansas. I dont know why they are never seen out west as many lion hunters as there are but the one I saw was definitely black. There have been several other sighting that I know of in this area also, some black and some brown. One sighting was by a man I know who now is a game warden. For some reason the Arkansas game and Fish will not believe a word of anyone seeing one. A farmer in Hope which is south of Camden where i'm from has lost twelve cows to a cougar. He shot at it one evening on his pond levy but missed it. I would never dought anyones word of seeing one becouse I have seen them myself.
What ever you do dont shoot it, the penalty could be stought.

Although I would not advocate shooting it

This response submitted by Cecil on 03/18/2004 at 11:19. ( )

if it is indeed a cougar or panther, in my state if it is not on the list of species with seasons and is not endangered you can shoot it. People have shot escaped gamefarm animals in my area in the past.


This response submitted by Big Dog on 03/18/2004 at 14:15. ( )

i have done research for two years on big cats and there is no such thing as a "black panther" it is either a dark brown or black cougar. I have seen many black cougars as well as brown ones and I would consider asking your local conservation agent to see if they could help you.


This response submitted by Liz on 03/18/2004 at 16:24. ( )

o.k., there are these sort of sightings all over the country in strange places. It is most likely some sort of zoo animal or animal that some yahoo bought at an auction in places like Ohio that sell pretty much anything under the sun. It was cute and cuddly wuddly when they saw it, and now that it is eating them out of house and home, they just open up the door and let it loose. Look at the Tiger they pulled out of the apartment in New York City. Don't think they naturally occur there!

As far as "black panthers", this usually refers to a melanistic leopard or jaguar, both of which do occur. You can still usually make out the pattern of the spots/rosettes in the fur, although it is faint. I am unfamiliar if the puma/cougar has a melanistic phase.

You guys don't understand

This response submitted by George on 03/18/2004 at 18:24. ( )

Though scientifically you are correct in the coloration, the cougar is also know as catamount, puma or PANTHER among other names. In Florida and the deep south, panther (not panthero pardos or panthero onca but an offshoot of felix concolor) or wampus cat is the colloquial name used. I've seen only one melanistic panther and that was in 1956 during a rabbit hunt when one was chased out of the swamp by four of us. Of course, the "experts" say they don't even exist in the Carolina's but it still remains illegal to shoot one of these non-existant animals. Just 2 weeks ago while visiting, I came across a perfect paw print of one on my land in Central SC and caught a fleeting glimpse of it crossing a logging road. But to report one gets the same reaction as reporting a UFO sighting.

Black cat

This response submitted by Chuck on 03/18/2004 at 19:45. ( )

The black panthers you describe are seen everywhere in the U.S. they are like The Bigfoot. Lots of people see them but they haven't been proven to exist. Here in Pennsylvania they have been seen everywhere. Some people have even seen them in town. If you can shoot one do it, then you'll prove they exist.

Same here in southern MO

This response submitted by Vicki Chritton-Myers on 03/18/2004 at 19:45. ( )

My mom saw one leap across the dirt road we were on back in the '70s, 8 miles northwest of West Plains, Mo. I was with her, but was looking down when she hit the brakes. She said, "What in the world was that?" I asked what, and she replied, "It looked like a LION. It jumped into the middle of the road, and with another jump was gone!" Color? Black! It was early evening, and still light enough to see plainly.

In 1986, I was taking our older son to the hospital about 10 pm, via a paved road. (Pulled a barstool over, hit him in the head, left a dent in his forehead. He was ok, though!) We lived about 20 miles southeast of West Plains at the time. I saw what I know had to be a black cougar. I saw the eyes glowing, and by the time I got to that point, all I saw was the lower back, back legs and loonnngg, thick black tail disappear into the brush.

About that time, a guy working for the Mammoth Spring, Arkansas (north-central AR) State Fish Hatchery said he saw one pacing outside the gate early one morning.

We lived about 5 miles west of the Thayer, MO and Mammoth Spring, AR area at the time. Our neighbors said a black one had been seen more than once on their farm. We actually heard one squalling in the woods for a couple of nights in the early '80s. CREEPY sound! Scared the heck out of the horses and dogs!

About 15 years ago, the local newspaper (West Plains Daily Quill) did a story on sightings of a black cougar around a town in Arkansas (Bald Knob?). There were also some TV reports of it.

Sooo, I am totally convinced they are here and have been for many years. There are just too many sightings by reliable people. There is a town in MO that has an abundance of albino squirrels. Obviously, there's a strong genetic line of albinism/inbreeding going on. So, in an area with few cougars, why couldn't the same happen, with melanistic ones?

Panthers in east central Indiana.

This response submitted by Glen Conley on 03/18/2004 at 20:36. ( )

Vicki, Rob, and George, since you three posted your e-mail addresses, I sent some jpegs your way so you could have a visual of the cougar report from this state.

This response submitted by John A. Lutz on 03/19/2004 at 08:39. ( )

Since the late 1960s, both large TAN & BLACK felines have been seen in the Harney to Taneytown areas of western Carroll County & the Barlow area of Adams County.
Several times over last 40 years, I lead search parties, a few with retired MD. State Troopers, finding confirmed tracks of pumas.
The cats being seen today are offspring of similar pumas of years ago. They are native, are only being seen more frequently due to increasing residential developments. My wife Linda and I tracked a puma on the western edge of the Gettysburg Battlefield in 1989.
They are NOT overly dangerous to people or children, but just remember what their name, "WILDLIFE", implies. As long as people leave them alone, they will NOT bother people.
Would you like a FREE flyer we publish entitled, ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE EASTERN COUGAR"? Send us a mailing address & one will be sent. E-mail:
Please visit our Web-site:
John A. Lutz

lifelong trapper

This response submitted by Bob Wendt ( Indiana ) on 03/19/2004 at 11:11. ( )

your eyes are playing tricks on you. All those seeing , their brains saw but not your eyes. Flat out, they don`t exist except possible escaped zoo animals native to south america. Basically even that is so remote as to not be feasable. The truth hurts, I know , you want to believe and so do I but it was an optical illusion of sorts unknown.


This response submitted by Big Dog on 03/19/2004 at 11:31. ( )

They do exist, they can be called mountain lions, pumas,wampus cats, panthers,what ever you want to call them. They do exist and they are everywhere. The more people that move into rural areas the more we will start hereing about big cat sightings.

Bob Wendt (Indiana)

This response submitted by Glen Conley (Indiana) on 03/19/2004 at 13:12. ( )

Send me an e-mail, and I'll send YOU some "optical illusions" in jpeg format. LMAO

Sorry, don't agree with you, Bob

This response submitted by Vicki Chritton-Myers on 03/19/2004 at 23:45. ( )

Too many people have seen them. I certainly wasn't expecting to see a black cat cross the road. When I saw the eyes, I expected to see a dog, coyote or fox. My mind was on my injured child. My mom saw a black one. It was still light out. She is about as solid a person as you could ask for. The guy at the fishery said when he was coming down the road to it, he at first thought it was a black & tan coon dog outside the gate (8" fences, with barbed wire angled out at the top). Only when he got closer did he realize it was plainly a cougar. This was early morning, but was daylight.

I can see a group sitting around talking about them, then 'seeing' one shortly thereafter. But these were totally unexpected encounters.

Why couldn't they exist? Melanism occurs in all mammals. If there can be a sizable population of albino squirrels in an area, why couldn't there be melanistic ones? In our part of the country, black coyotes are not uncommon, according to the local yote hunters. In other parts of the country, they are really rare. Same with black squirrels. I have never heard of one in this area, but up north, they are common.

Shoot It

This response submitted by Chuck on 03/21/2004 at 09:45. ( )

That's why I say shoot it. Just like Bigfoot, the general public says they don't exist. Shoot it and prove it to everyone. So what about the fine. I'm sure you could make a fortune selling the story and photos. What's wrong with shooting an animal people say don't exist? I, myself, believe there are such things. I saw a UFO when I was about 10 years old. My brother saw it too. I also heard and smelled a ghost before.(long story) I know people don't believe it but I know what happened. Shoot one, it would make a great mount.

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