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Random shots in the woods

To date, I have received 97 emails, letters and phone calls of panther sightings. Unfortunately, I received no photos; but quite fortunately, I didnt receive any scat samples either.

With such a broad spectrum of responders, stretching from Rouses Point and Mooers all the way to Hague and North Creek and points between; there has to be some truth to what everyone claims to be seeing. They cant all be oversized house cats or simply a wayward fisher.

Most notable in the responses, was a definite cluster of sightings this summer around Essex, Whallonsburg and Willsboro. Most recently, reports have again begun filtering in about sightings near Elizabethtown and New Russia.

While the DEC doesnt deny reports that people are seeing large cats in the woods, the major question remains; where are they coming from? DEC officials and wildlife biologists are as anxious as the public for an answer to this query.

To this end, especially during a a time of prolific use of trail/game cameras; I would like to ask readers to produce a legitimate photo, whether of tail, teeth or tracks.

For several years, I have heard the rumors and listened to tales of the tails. However, there is not a better time of year when there is a more observant group of travelers in the woods and off the trails than during the big game hunting season. Hunters seek out the remote areas and they are always on the lookout. If there are actually big cats out there; somebodys going to find one.

Cougars typically attack from above and bite the nape of the neck and then kill by breaking the neck. They typically will cover a kill with brush or forest debris and return to it later to feed. They are also known to haul prey, such as deer, and lodge it in a tree or on a ledge.

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