Cougars extinct

Discussion in 'General Hunting' started by slickhead slayer, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. slickhead slayer

    slickhead slayer 12 pointer

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  2. Feedman

    Feedman Cyber-Hunter

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    Dang, Bill won't be happy
     
  3. Iceman35

    Iceman35 12 pointer

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    Everyone I've ever discussed cougars with in Eastern Kentucky would disagree.
     
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  4. forager

    forager 8 pointer

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    While we have no evidence other than anecdotal reports, here is something that is interesting.

    A while back, I had the opportunity to attend a gathering with some folks of Cherokee heritage. They came from families living deep in the mountains where outsiders did not go. As the night went on, I asked an elder about "painters," which is what the locals called panthers. He told me in detail about what he and his family experienced while living back in the hollers.

    He described animals that he said were different than mountain lions out west. They were smaller, with differently shaped heads and huge feet. The coat color was not black, but a very dark brown. In the shadows or in the dusk or overcast day, they could appear black to some observers.

    The elder went on to say that these animals preferred to live and hunt along watercourses, and were called "river painters" by some folks.

    From a biological perspective, this is interesting for a number of reasons:

    1) Because cougars are apex predators, they don't have large populations compared to other species. Any relict populations would be even smaller in number, and certain characteristics would be affected. Recessive mutations would have a greater frequency to be expressed.

    a) Size. A smaller size would be beneficial, as individuals would not have to consume as much food to survive. This could help in having a smaller home range.

    b) Head shape. Due to a population that may be inbred, certain facial features could surface that would be neutral in selection for success, or possibly beneficial.

    c) Coat color. Melanism is unknown is cougars, but darker brown coloration could be beneficial, and directional selection would factor into more individuals exhibiting this appearance.

    d) Large feet. This trait might be favorable for navigating rough terrain.

    The ecosystem has changed from the old growth forests of chestnut/oak, and it has only been recently that deer, turkey and other big game numbers have rebounded. During the 100+ years of cougar decline, extreme selection factors could produce a very different looking animal that what once existed here.

    The only way we will know if this is factual is if we get a carcass. All of this is hypothetical, but it is fun to speculate. I have met too many credible people claiming to have seen these animals to simply disregard this issue.
     
  5. mudhole crossing

    mudhole crossing 12 pointer

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    Along creeks? Those were moonshiner myths to kept people out!! Lol! Just kidding. May well be true
     
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  6. forager

    forager 8 pointer

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  7. Iceman35

    Iceman35 12 pointer

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    Even people deep in hollers have cell phones, trail cameras, etc, that would provide evidence. And even Apex predators would leave evidence such as kill sites, scat, actual footprints, and hair. None of these have ever been found. I think you were told a tall tale.
     
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  8. beauhunter41031

    beauhunter41031 6 pointer

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    About 10 years ago there was a cougar roaming around Anderson county, friend of mine had a vacation house down in holler with glass skylights, one morning after a snow, there were paw prints the size of a softball on those glass skylights where the thing had jumped on the roof, he is a very distinguished individual in I have no reason to doubt his story
     
  9. forager

    forager 8 pointer

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    Possibly. There are other "tall tales" told to me as well. When I say the inevitable "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," I usually get the "They don't want the government coming in and telling the local folk what to do." Think about it, the amount of journalists, eco freaks, university researchers and other folks trying to make names and money for themselves showing up and creating hell on earth for people wanting to live in peace would be an unwanted nightmare.

    Remember the costly hunt for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker?! Now the Ivory Tower wants to protect its habitat! While we're at it, let's ban hunting in areas where bigfoots and chupacabras have been seen too! No wonder local people don't want to report sightings of eastern cougars!

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170124111423.htm
     
  10. JR PORTER

    JR PORTER 6 pointer

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    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  11. forager

    forager 8 pointer

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    Regarding game cams and other media, DDD (Download, Delete, Deny) replaces SSS (Shoot, Shovel, Shut up).
     
  12. luvtohunt

    luvtohunt 8 pointer

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    I grew up in Fisty, Ky. A little two lane road (well mostly) in Knott county. From the time I was old enough to walk I was in the woods or creeks daily hunting or fishing or catching snakes, crawdads, or minners. As I got older I went form a bicycle to an atv so got to explore deeper and new areas. I saw larger cat tracks and larger cats but I never saw anything I thought was a "painter" (also what my grandmother called them). I did see several bob cats though and lots of tracks. My mother however swears that she saw a dark brown cat with a super long tail walk down the mountain in front of our house, cross the road, and proceed ot go up the mountain behind our house one night right at dark. It was the only time she says she has seen anything like it. Take that with a grain of salt but you just never know. I'm a non-believer at this point because of the time I have spent in the woods but I am not closed minded to the idea that it is possible.
     
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  13. jfiscus

    jfiscus 6 pointer

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    If you read the article carefully it points out that the extinct cougars are the Eastern Cougars. There are still a few cougars roaming the Eastern half of the US, but they are a slightly different species of cougar; mostly western that have migrated or others released from captivity. So, we still have cougars, just not the exact same species genetically.
     
  14. forager

    forager 8 pointer

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    Here's another good one.

    In the early 90s, I attended a conference and ate lunch with a gentleman who grew up in LBL and was a member of one of the the families evicted from it when he was a child. I asked him what it was like living there back then, and he related a memory while hunting there with his father and grandfather.

    The group was in the treeline at the edge of a field. It was fall, and the grass was high, probably up to an adult's thigh, maybe more. One of the elders saw a movement in the field. It was a big, brownish cat, with shoulders, back and haunches that emerged from the vegetation. The size of the animal is what surprised the man, as he had never seen a cat that large when he was a boy.

    The man went on to describe the long tail of the creature that swished back and forth over the tops of the grass as it stood still. That was was the image that stood out in his mind after all those years.

    I asked him if he thought it was a cougar, and he looked at me directly and with a serious tone said "You tell me what I saw!"
     
  15. Iceman35

    Iceman35 12 pointer

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    I'll stand by my original statement. You were told a tall tale.

    You're neglecting a couple things.
    For one, if the locals goal was to keep the government out, why would they tell anyone? They told you, and now you've spread it across the globe.

    Second, if there was a sustained breeding population as you postulate, as an apex predator they would not be confined to the core area indefinitely. They would roam and expand their territories as the population grew. Appalachia is remote to some extent, but it's not that remote. Just because "outsiders" don't come into certain hollers, doesn't mean the animals won't leave them. They would, if they were there, and eventually reach the edges of "outsider" territory, were they would appear, leave evidence, and be widely reported with hard core evidence. Much like remote populations of black bears did.

    We can speculate all we want, but the fact remains no evidence exists of a local, breeding population east of the Mississippi.
     

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