Monday, March 12, 2018

New Study Area in Hunt County, Texas

After months of working on and finishing up my book, then arranging various types of publicity to support the release (radio and podcast interviews, speaking engagements, etc.), I was thrilled to actually get out in the field yesterday.

A while back, a reader of the blog and Facebook page contacted me with a black panther sighting report. The family owns approximately 300 acres of hardwood bottomland along the Sabine River in Hunt County northeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The area is rich in food and water resources. Not only does the property sit along the river, it features a large tributary creek that winds through the land before emptying into the larger Sabine. Feral hogs, white-tail deer, foxes, coyotes and various other possible prey species are present in abundance. The property provided an absolutely perfect habitat where a large cat could remain virtually undetected. The property was so large that it presented a problem for me. I have only two game cameras available at this time and the entire area looked so promising it was difficult to pick spots for them. I finally chose a spot where wildlife was clearly crossing the creek and passing through a break in the brush into a more open area on the other side. It was a natural funnel and I expect to get a lot of photos from the camera posted at this spot. Hopefully, one will be of the cat I seek. The second camera was placed on a tree that stood at the intersection of three different game trails. The trails formed a “Y” and the tree that I posted the camera on was in the middle of the v-shape at the top of the “Y.” The trails obviously are heavily traveled – mostly by hogs, no doubt – and this camera should provide a lot of photos.

The landowner and her family could not have been more hospitable. They are good folks who love and know their wildlife. They told me that they have seen two mountain lions on the property in the last 5-6 years and that what was seen a few months ago was very different. It was very large, had a very long tail, and was solid black. The family member who saw the cat initially spotted it about 10-feet up in a tree. Upon being seen the cat leapt down and ran toward the Sabine. The family member got a good look at it and is sure it was no cougar. The family feels a real sense of relief that the cat chose to run away and that no confrontation took place. They just want to know what prowls their property and I hope to be able to provide some answers.

I will be refreshing the cameras – and hopefully adding more – in 5-6 weeks. Keep your fingers crossed.


  1. What did they feel it was? Guesses? Did they guess size or weight on the cat? I want to go to the Sabine River too.

  2. Where can I send a description of my encounter today? I saw a big black cat come out into the open field out of some shinnery. I know there supposedly any such thing as a black cougar but i was within 35 yards and got a really good look at this thing. I've seen cougar on my property before but never one solid black. Just would like some insight into what I saw.

  3. I live right outside the city of Detroit Texas, a small northeast Texas community located just south of the Red River. For the past year we have encountered somewhat of a ghost. We knew it was there but never saw it until recently. I live on a farm to market road that has an intersecting gravel road that runs directly behind my house with a rancher on the opposite side. I had a goat in the chicken pen behind the house and the door was scratched up where a human would have to undo the latch to open it. I knew immediately from past run ins at the deer camp exactly what it was but had no idea how big or what species of cat it was until the night i was going down the gravel road behind my house and there it was standing 2 or more feet high walking down the middle of the road not 20 foot in front of my car. As soon as my headlights hit it all i could see was its eyes because the rest of it tho extremely large was so black it was almost invisible other than the eye shine. It wasnt scared at all like me in a little sports car that wasnt as big as this thing was. He or she calmly kept walking toward me then wandered off into the pasture to the right of me. I couldn't believe how long its tail was and how big it was. I was truly frightened for me and my daughters because i then knew what had been bedding down in the tree line next to the house. It has been using my electric pole to get onto my roof because we have heard it for a year walking above us thinking there is no way that whatever animal that was on the roof can be as big as what it sounds but yes it was and more so. My daughters boyfriend was leaving around 9pm last night and had an encounter with it. It started coming towards him and then started crouching as to pounce and he got our German Shepard who was whining at his feet and himself safely into the house. We had a hell of a night last night while it stomped on our roof and played games with us. How do i get it to leave this property without killing it.

    1. it would be good to get some pictures and perhaps capture and move it rather than destroy it. There would be great value in studying the genetics of the DNA as well as pictures . Wild life Conservation Society might be able to provide help in procuring the animal and Mr. Mayes , I know would be interested in trying to photograph it. The Use of Calvin Kleins Obsession for Men has been studied as a strong attractant if it is still in your area. You may also contact me, as I am not too far from you... Is has been almost a year... Has it returned at all ? the male has a 70 square mile range , while the female is much smaller. They do have a sense of smell. Feel free to contact me

  4. Mr Mays

    Just finished listening to you on Coast to Coast. Letting you know that here in NH the mtn lion and bigfoot population is thriving. I and my neighbbors have had years of experience wuth these animals and one has several photos to prove it. NH Dept of Wildlife can verify and a friend of mine who work for the state Wildlife Dept. has confirmed this info.

  5. Recently built a barndominium in Lone Oak approximately 4 min from Lake Tawakani. Have seen lots of wildlife and love the country living. I have heard stories about the black panther sightings in Hunt County and that they are protected.
    Last night as I was opening our large sliding patio door; a rather medium to larger than a Ferril cat darted across the porch and into the night. No mistake, it was a solid black cat larger than my elderly pet dauchsen. There are some thick wooded areas along a ravine about 75 yards behind me. While being a respecter of nature, should we be concerned for our safety? We stay on alert due to coyote country but they normally avoid me and my well lighted yard when taking dog out at night.