About two weeks ago I visited some private property outside of Waxahachie, Texas. The landowner claims to have had several close encounters with a large black cat matching the description of the classic “black panther.” Below is the original email I received from this landowner:
“Please call me if you would like to hear my story. We have a black (or very dark) cat with a long tail, estimated 80+ lbs or bigger....in fact, I was charged (In my YARD, he stopped just 15 ft from me). Our game warden practically laughed at me and will not do anything. The Sheriff's Department doesn't care either, I think they assume I am an idiot, hysterical woman that cannot tell the difference between a coyote, bobcat, etc and that I shudder at any sound. I assure you, I am not. It has been back after dusk and in the wee hours of the morning for the last 4 days. We live on 7 acres, surrounded by 100's of acres of pastures, wooded areas and hayfields, 4 ponds and Waxahachie Creek is just 100 yards from our house. I now carry a pistol to go out on my PORCH, I have a shotgun at the ready and I have stopped my normal activities. The horses are scared and the mule is exhausted from standing guard. Last time we saw it was approximately 16 hours ago (last night about 10 pm). We popped off several shots, hoping the sound would scare it away.
I do NOT want this cat dead. But he is not scared of me, therefore poses a real danger. He (Or she) is after something here. Maybe my Catahoula Leopard dog, the puppy...or even me, now that it has sized me up. It will be shot by my fiance or neighbors soon, (if it doesn't move on), as we had to alert people in case it goes after a child. Please help.”
I replied to this landowner and she graciously agreed to give me access to the property and granted permission for me to place three cameras in various locations. I was able to get up there the week before last.
The property backs up to Waxahachie Creek and is classic hardwood bottom land. It is a rich environment perfect for all manner of wildlife. Animal sign is everywhere. Hog sign is especially abundant. Deer and hogs here provide the makings of a solid prey base, at least on an occasional basis, for a large predator.
It should be noted that this black cat has been spotted by both the property owner and her fiancé on separate occasions. Since I’ve been out to the property a third party claims to have seen two of these black cats walking together near the backside of the property near the creek.
I don’t know exactly what is going on at this location but I hope to help these good folks figure it out. I would have included some still photos with this write-up but my camera is on the fritz. I will get some still shots of the property when I return to check the cameras in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I have placed three game cameras on the property in the hopes of documenting these animals. The property owners have expressed an openness to having the cameras in place for an extended period of time. This is critical as it is extremely rare to get the photo you are looking for the first rattle out of the bucket (I hope this time will be the exception). Assuming the animals hang around, I have a legitimate chance to get a picture if I can keep those cameras in place.
I will update you all after I retrieve the first set of images early next month.