More Black Panthers Terrorizing Texas?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 2nd, 2007

Just last week I posted a story here on Cryptomundo about black panther sightings in East Texas.

See: Black Panthers Terrorizing Texas?

Just 6 days after that newspaper article was published, KLTV Tyler-Longview-Jacksonville reported that a black panther was seen in another East Texas county, not too far from the reports from the previous week.

Black Panther Sightings In Upshur County

Another report of a mysterious black panther, roaming a densely wooded area in western Upshur County. The latest sighting of a reported black panther is in an area off of Highway 154 near Rhonesboro, in an area called Raintree Lake. In a remote wooded area called Raintree lakes, residents are unnerved by the night time yowls of a big cat they believe is in their community.

“It’s a big black panther that’s what it looks like a big black cat” said area resident Mitchell Bransford.

For weeks many have heard it, and some have come face to face with it. Residents say they’ve not only heard the sound like a woman screaming, but they’ve seen it.

“I’ve seen him on two or three occasions and I’m not talking about a glance I’m talking just straight at him and him just looking at me, kind of gave me chills” said Bransford.

But wildlife experts say a black panther in east Texas is near impossible.

“It’s just not likely, there’s no such thing as a black panther, there are black jaguars, but it’s more likely that they’re seeing a black hog or a black otter” said Texas Parks And Wildlife biologist Charlie Muller.

But now pets are missing in the area, and some livestock has been killed, leading many to think a big cat is responsible.

“A lot of dogs have come up missing” said one neighbor.

“One of my calves was torn up torn a part stomach was ripped open throat ripped open” said area rancher Wayne Ballard.

Mountain lions do reside in East Texas and experts think, in low light, they are being mistaken for black panthers, which are actually South American Jaguars.

“It could and most likely is a cougar or mountain lion” said Muller.

If they’re out there Muller says someone will have to prove it.

“You’d have a better chance of finding bigfoot” said Muller.

Jaguars have been seen in Texas in the past, but Muller says the odds of a black one, which are very rare in the wild, residing in East Texas are extremely remote.Bob Hallmark

You can watch the video report here: Black Panther Sightings In Upshur County

And how about this quote from a Texas parks & Wildlife biologist?

You’d have a better chance of finding bigfoot. Charlie Muller
Texas Parks & Wildlife biologist


About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

19 Responses to “More Black Panthers Terrorizing Texas?”

  1. pgb responds:

    These black panthers are probably jaguars moving up from Central America, much like the armadillos have been doing for years.

    Maybe we could not use the word ‘terrorize’ in these kind of stories. It only encourages people to go out and hunt these animals. I doubt a few cats can ‘terrorize’ a state of 20M people. The most dangerous animal in Texas is man.

  2. StewartFlyer responds:


    In early 1980 – my ex-father-in-law swore to his grave that he saw a very large black panther and 2 smaller offspring by her side, walking in the pasture at his rural home in the Latch/Kelsey area of Upshur County – just 6 miles from the Rhonesboro/Raintree area cited in the news report.

    The sightings occurred right at sunset. I spoke to him the day after the sighting and he strongly defended that the cat was black and not a brownish cougar. He was also sure it wasn’t a bobcat. He had a good reference as to the size as he knew the height of the grass/bushes in the pasture plus the pasture was used for cattle.

    To be honest, I don’t know what to think other than I believe he thought he was telling the truth. After reading your post, I thought about calling him up to tell him of the other sightings BUT … he is my EX-father-in-law. 😐

    Both of my parents grew up in rural Upshur in the 1930-40’s. Most nights in the Spring and Summer were spent sitting and/or sleeping on their porch. They stated that they often heard the woman-like screams from the nearby bottomlands. The locals would generally attribute these screams to black panthers – as opposed to cougars. My Grandfather, who was an avid hunter, strongly believed the screams were from a big cat.

    Plano, Tx
    (Native of Upshur County … Lord, I wish I could move back there again)

  3. Daryl Colyer responds:

    My father has long talked about a sighting of a large black cat and two kittens that he experienced in the 1960s. It occurred in Polk County, Texas, east of Livingston, as my dad was working in the area. The large black cat was clearly visible, as she and her two kittens walked right in front of my dad’s truck in the morning with the sun out. He distinctly recalls how “her long black tail was just a-swooshin’,” and how she was roughly the size of a German shepherd. He will tell anyone that he saw it clearly and there was no mistaking what he saw.

    For emphasis, I might add that my dad is from pure backwoods stock; they were the kind of deep East Texas folk who spent their lives hunting, fishing and trapping in the deepest parts of Northeast Texas and Arkansas. Pop would not be easily fooled into thinking he was seeing something other than what he was actually seeing. I do believe he saw a large black cat and two black kittens, just as he has told us many times.

    There’s something very strange about these sightings of large black cats. I know there is no classification for such an animal in our region, but I just can’t dismiss such strong accounts as my dad’s and others simply as mistaken identities or folklore. While the creatures being seen may indeed be black jaguars, in my opinion, it is still something that is completely fascinating. Black jaguars aren’t documented in East Texas either. Arguing over the semantics of what the animal may legitimately be called, in my opinion, is a waste, and maybe a deflection of the actual issue, which is, people have been reportedly seeing, and continue to reportedly see, in East Texas, and elsewhere, large black cats. It doesn’t matter what they’re called, melanized or melanistic cougars, black cougars or mountain lions, black jaguars, or black panthers; it’s no less intriguing and mysterious.

    To me, these sighting reports should be documented and investigated. I could almost condone the TBRC adding a department of large black cat investigations.

  4. Bob Michaels responds:

    Any panthers on Texas Big Game Ranches or Perserves?

  5. southernfriedbigfoot responds:

    Over twenty years ago, my late grandfather told me that he’d heard about black panthers that lived in a patch of woods he fished and hunted in East Texas. If memory serves me correctly, that area was somewhere between Quinlan and Greenville, Texas, and along the outskirts of Lake Tawakoni.

  6. Rillo777 responds:

    Daryl Colyer:
    I wish you would add a department of investigators! I know you probably don’t need to be spread too thin and, of course, the main focus is bigfoot. But I am fascinated by the big black cats. I live in Indiana and we periodically have reports of them, too. There’s one area about 20 miles from me where the older residents still warn people to be careful about “the big black cats” although there supposedly haven’t been any cougars around here for decades. In any case, I don’t understand why the authorities are so quick and vehement about denying the possibility of such a creature. And just who says a big black cat is impossible anyway? It’s black, for crying out loud, not green or purple. It’s not like it’s a color completely unknown in felines! They make it sound like simply because it is black it just can’t exist. I agree, drop the semantics!

  7. Bob K. responds:

    Interesting article-and informative posts, all. My first thought was ‘jaguar’, based on the locale. But Rillos accounts placing them in Indiana? Could we be possibly talking about a heretofore uncataloged large North American feline, neither cougar nor jaguar?

  8. kf4yre responds:

    We’ve had black panthers back home in south central Kentucky for years. I’ve seen them myself as well as have many other people. They’re common place back home and everybody knows about them. But, reading some of these reports, most of the wildlife officials in the reports think these people are crazy and there’s no such thing. The ones we have back home are not the black panthers like you see in Africa, but they do look like miniature versions of them. They’re jet black, long tail, and the head resembles the larger panthers. The ones I’ve seen have been about 6 feet long, from nose to tip of tail. They’re bigger then a bobcat, but a little smaller then a mountain lion. When they scream, every hair on your body will stand up. Have a scream that sounds a lot like a mountain lion or cougar. These wildlife officials need to get their head out and pay attention to the reports. These are very real animals.

  9. Rillo777 responds:

    kf4yre: I agree completely! You’re just south of me state-wise, but I’ve heard of them in Ohio and Illinois, too. The last big black cat that got attention from the media here was about 2000 or 2001 when it attacked a horse near a little tourist town called Zionsville. That’s about 30 miles or so west of me. Stories of black cats here go back over a hundred years. In the 1950’s someone, about 5 miles south of me, found a black kitten that belonged to one of the black cats. They said the mother’s “roar” sounded like a woman screaming. This is the only time I’ve ever heard of a possible capture of a BBC (big black cat).
    This was all reported in the newspaper of which I have a photocopy. Of course, I have been unable to track down the family involved or whatever became of the kitten.
    Incidently, according to the newspaper three veternarians and even a man from India who supposedly was familiar with panthers examined the kitten and could not determine the species.

  10. kf4yre responds:

    It’s cool you have a copy of the report Rillo777. I’m not aware of them ever making the news back home, or of anybody ever killing one. They was so common place that they was thought of about like coyotes are, nobody really paid that much attention to them. Not sure if anybody ever knew what they were exactly. We just called them black panthers because of how they looked.

    I do know that a buddy of mine has at least one around on his farm. He’s seen it chasing after deer on the farm. A couple years ago he got a deer while hunting and hung it up in a little shed next to his house. The next morning, something had gotten to the deer and tore it up. It was still hung up but it was tore up as if something had been eating on it. He said it had claw marks way up on the body. He said whatever did it must have been big to have leaned up and left marks so high up on the body. He figured it was the panther.

  11. kf4yre responds:

    We used to have one on our farm but I havn’t seen it in years. The area where our farm is has been pretty much taken over by coyotes. I always thought that maybe they pushed it out. Or, it could have just migrated somewhere else on it’s own. My buddy and I was talking just last week about them, when I was back home on vacation. He’s still seeing one occasionally, so I reckon they’re still around.

  12. mystery_man responds:

    The odds being “extremely remote” do not mean “impossible”. I think there is a possibility a jaguar could have migrated up from down South, and black jaguars do exist, so that should not be completely ruled out yet. And as was said on the other post on this topic, there is a huge population of exotics kept in Texas that are not very well regulated it seems, so that possibility should remain open as well.

  13. Archaic responds:

    kf4yre: I live on the Texas/Arkansas border, and I totaly agree. Around here, panthers are just another part of the wildlife. They aren’t seen amazingly often, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t seen. They are so well known and factual to my whole town that to report a sighting or one would be like reporting a sighting of a coyote. Sure, if it is seen anywhere near where it could become a danger, then it is told to the Wildlife and Game wardens.

    I have grown up with the knowledge of these panthers and their dieing woman-like screams. Their as real to me as couars are.

  14. xaviergonz responds:

    1997: We have a ranch in Ramirez, Texas where 3 of us saw a large black cat leap out a few feet from a buddy holding a jack rabbit he had just shot. It easily jumped over 8 feet back into the thicket after it saw the rest of us. Not sure if it was after the kill or not. I am a biologist with recorded jaguarundi sightings and twice published with my work. I know what we saw and it was in the clear for us to see especially my engineer buddy that was just a few feet from the large cat.

  15. aloredojr responds:

    In 2002 my brother and i where in cleveland, texas when we caught sight (ablout 2/10 of a mile from us ) of a large black cat. We first thought it was odd for a house cat to be this far in the woods. When we drove up to the spot where we had seen the cat thats when we relized it was too big, judging by the distance and the brush it past, to be a regular cat. I estimated to stand about 2.5 to 3 feet tall at its shoulders. We never told anybody about it, we just blew it off.One day i was looking at tv when a show came on about big black cats and how there was no such thing. That is when i knew i had to had seen something unusal. So i agree that there is a possibility of something out there.

  16. akarafi responds:

    I live in East Texas, VanZandt county, in Canton about one mile east of downtown.

    I have seen two Black Panthers on my property, my neigbors saw them too and we all agree that they are Panthers, not cougar or anything else. they are Black Panthers.

    one of my neighbors shot one, and there is one left in the area.

  17. laureno311 responds:

    Its just killing me that this is not considered common place for these animals to live here. for over 100 yrs my family has lived in this area and these cats are a constant. My family have had two horses attacked by these cats. The first time I was very young and the last time a year and a half ago. If I had known I would have taken pictures. Both my grandmother and my sister have seen them and although I have not spotted one I have heard them scream plenty of times its like a banshee. I currently live off of hwy 154 near the Sabine river bottoms. I was more surprised to hear about the recent bear sightings than these cats. CRAZY!!! These cats are here they are real. I guess I need to start keeping a camera on the ready. Maybe I will catch something for yall.

  18. shartexas responds:

    It’s goofy that “black panthers” are considered crypto creatures and not recognized by Texas Parks and Wildlife and other authorities. I think they must be fairly commonplace. My relatives recently sighted one on their Central Texas ranch, but didn’t report it to authorities. I’m sure this happens all the time. I myself have heard the terrifying “screaming woman” sound in the same county in which the black panther was seen, but I was told at the time that it was a bobcat.

  19. gsnauck responds:

    See the following story.

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