Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reader Recounts Childhood Sighting of Two Black Panthers in Kerr County, Texas

I received a great email from a gentleman named Chuck detailing a sighting he and his father had back in the 1950's of two black panthers in the Texas Hill Country. Chuck's account is below:

"I was born in 1949 in Kerrville, Texas, as a boy in the 1950's my dad worked as a ranch hand at several ranches in central texas, also called the hill country. As a boy he hired on one year at a ranch just out of Hunt Texas. His job was taking care of a guest ranch. He did carpenter work on the guest cabins, fixed what ever needed fixing and took care of around a hundred horses.

Now towards the end of summer and the approach of fall and the up coming deer and turkey season the owners had him take two 50 pound sacks of corn by horseback to a certain area several miles into the cedar covered hills. At a certain spot we (I got to ride the second horse carrying corn) would leave the corn all layed out for several feet.

One day as we were putting out the corn, I had noticed a small well hid shack about a hundred yards from us. When I asked my dad about it, he said he had built it for the hunters that would be coming before long from the big cities to hunt deer and turkey. He said the owners guaranteed the hunters a deer. I told him that since we had been coming up with the corn for several weeks now the deer didn't even run from us any more and that shooting them would kind of be like shooting fish in a barrel and that at that range I could probably kill one with a rock. He just smiled and said, "Don't seem right, do it boy?" but like I said, they guarantee them big city boys a deer.

Now late one afternoon after we had dropped the corn off and was about half way back to the barn our horses started going crazy, snorting, crow hoping, and trying to turn back. My dad turned around to me and said, "Hold his head up and keep a tight reign, cause your getting ready to see something." It wasn't even a minute after he said that, when a pair of black panthers ran right onto the trail in front of us not 30 feet away. I can remember it like it was yesterday, the horses going nuts, and then staring at something I had only seen once before and that was at night. This was broad day light and up close. As I looked at them, I remember there neon bright yellow eyes first, then how they were hunkered real low to the ground. I would say the second thing I noticed was the size. They were pretty darn big, about the size of a small mountain lion, jet black with the long mountain lion like tail. They only stayed about 10 seconds at most, then was gone as fast as they came.

After we finally got the horses to settle down and I had time to ask my dad what the heck I had just seen he said, "That was a pair of yearling Black Panthers." Now my Dad was a real Texas cowboy, as was his, and his before him. He didn't talk a lot but when he did what he said was sure worth listening to, and I never knew him to lie are stretch the truth. Like I said, this was the second time I saw a black panther as a boy. So if you want to believe they're not there, well, I suppose that's your right, but as for me, I know better. This by the way is the same area I use to wander off for a bit while my dad was putting out the corn and play pushing sticks and leafs across a giant 3 toed foot print set in solid stone, only later in life did I come to know what I had been playing in.

P.S. Even to this day I could go straight to that spot. If you doubt what I'm saying, I now live in Oregon."

Of course, I have no way to verify this account. Chuck could be pulling my leg, I suppose, but he did leave his full name and email address which certainly adds to his credibility, in my eyes. I certainly find no reason to doubt his truthfulness based on what he wrote. I will be emailing him to see if there are any additional details regarding this, or other, sightings. I appreciate his taking the time to write out his account.

As always, I'd like to hear about any big cat sightings from the Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and/or Arkansas region from readers of this site. Even if the sightings occurred years ago, I'd like to hear about them. Just email me at


  1. Love that you're back and I love this post! what a great story. And to think: these are black panthers spotted in the hill country, not east Texas! Mike, these things just have to be out there. No way all of these folks are lying or mistaken. It takes more faith to believe THAT!


  2. Today Jan 9th 2012 I spotted solid black mountin lion.I live in a rual in the Texas Hill country.The cat was the size of a medium dog with a tail as long as the body.It was 2:30 pm in the afternoon so there is no mistake of what I saw.

  3. I lived in kerrville my whole life and heard of the sightings. I spotted one around 4:00am yesterday 1-29-12, around the deer feeder with spot light. Appairently there is a whole family near the Kerville South Area on hwy16 near lower and upper turtle creek. Other ranchers have spotted them and some ranchers say they are loosing goats. My ranch is full of footprints along the backside. So i know that they are out there.

  4. This morning feb 1st 2014, around 11 am I was out on some hiking trails in the Texas hill country, San Marcos to be exact. Anyway, as I walked along the trails I heard what sounded like a loud wining cat, I almost turned around to leave but decided to keep on hiking. A minute or two later I saw a medium sized black cougar about 5 feet long, from about 20 feet away. It was moving about 5 to 10 miles an hour and I saw it for about 5 seconds. although I didn't look at it for too long I am sure of what it was.

  5. This is the first time I have seen this sight. I live in Wills Point,Texas. (Van Zandt County). Was at home by my cabin on a small lake (4 1/2 acre lake) in late spring or early summer of 2012. Around 2:30 pm as I was fishing from the dock I saw from the corner of my eye what I thought, at first to be a large brown dog. It walked behind some tall grass at a slow but steady gate. I looked away for a second until it emerged from the grass. I turned to look at it and realized it was a large cat. At first I told myself, "That's a really big bobcat. But, no it was way too large and didn't have spots. It was medium to dark brown. It was unmistakable as a cougar. The long large tail that hung down and curled back up at the end and the round head with a short muzzle was enough to be certain. I had never seen a cougar that dark. And the time of day seemed unlikely. My landloard/friend has six young grand kids running around the lake. His and his son's houses are on the lake as well. So I made sure I told him. Even though I was afraid he would think my cheese had slipped off my cracker. I was cocerned for his grandkids. Turns out the cougar had been seen around his Son in laws & daughters house too. About three miles from the lake. The Van Zandt county sheriff department has 20 to 30 reports of livestock losses from big cats per month, according to our newspaper. I was surprised.

  6. I have family in the Hill Country and I remember it like it was yesterday. The story goes, my mom was driving down the rode right after she dropped us off at school. She was on her way to my grandmother's house to drop of my baby brother. She was just about to turn the road when she saw it. She described it as a large, golden cat, about 4ft in length at leats. Right as she turned it ran out and leaped right across the rode right in front of her. Scary!