NC Cougar: State Says “Highly Unlikely”

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 3rd, 2008

Yet another mystery cat report has been forwarded.

A cougar was seen, reportedly, last week in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Linda Janssen said she was having coffee with her nephew, a 22-year-old Army private visiting for Thanksgiving, when they looked out her kitchen window Friday morning. Janssen’s property on Pinehurst Drive backs up to Bolin Creek, which flows into waters feeding Jordan Lake.

“It was big,” she said. “We were just so stunned.”

Janssen said they saw the animal, as big as her 75-pound black Lab, in profile and face-on, and saw it leap over a tree trunk. They watched the big cat for about a minute and a half.

“It wasn’t a bobcat; it didn’t have that shape,” Janssen said. “It was sleek, like a [Lincoln Mercury] car commercial.”

“It was an absolutely beautiful animal.”

“I would be surprised, but I’d never rule anything out,” he said.

But Janssen’s nephew, Sean Gilbert of Corpus Christi, Texas, says he knows what he saw.

“If that had been back in Texas, I would have shot it,” Gilbert said. “I know that sounds a little barbaric. I would have had it shot and mounted. In Texas, that’s a trophy.”

Cryptomundo reader dwindell passes along, as well, the standard response.

George Strater of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission thinks a Chapel Hill woman and her 22-year-old nephew probably saw a big dog, rather than a cougar.

“We get calls from time to time,” he said. “If there’s a track or something we’ll go out and look. We need some type of physical evidence.”

Is there any chance they could have seen a big cat? Strater doubts it.

“It just seems highly unlikely.”

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

10 Responses to “NC Cougar: State Says “Highly Unlikely””

  1. dwindell responds:

    Thanks for posting Loren….

    I think there’s legitimacy behind this story. As you know, the “Beast of Bladenboro” is said to range from Greensboro NC to Bladenboro NC, and Chapel Hill is well within this range. This ‘beast’ has been said to kill dogs/livestock and is reported as cat-like in appearance. I feel like there is a good chance of a small resident population of big cats in the peidmont of North Carolina. There’s plenty of sources of food (deer, wild turkey, etc) and the coyote population around here is booming. The state officials aren’t recognizing the animals, but there’s a good chance, IMO, that this story is true.

  2. Spinach Village responds:

    Typical response by George Strator, indeed.

    It’s nice to here about cougar sightings peppered all over the map including North Carolina. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    ….boy do I hate this following attitude, and I do definitely find it barbaric:

    “But Janssen’s nephew, Sean Gilbert of Corpus Christi, Texas, says he knows what he saw.

    “If that had been back in Texas, I would have shot it,” Gilbert said. “I know that sounds a little barbaric. I would have had it shot and mounted. In Texas, that’s a trophy.”


    Ugh.. When Native Americans used to hunt they showed way more respect for the animal that they killed.

    As a Christian I find hunting for sport reprehensible, and disrespectful of life and also God who gave life.

  3. DavidFullam responds:

    Let’s shoot, stuff and display Gilbert. Hope this was the real deal, I live in Charlotte and hadn’t heard this story until today.

  4. DWA responds:

    The Eastern cougars are invisible because WE INVISIBLE THEM.

    I’m looking into having “invisible” put into the dictionary as a verb.

    No reason to discount the sighting at all. (Except a response that clearly labels the observers incompetent.) And we know that any response to the question “What do you mean ‘highly unlikely’? Give us a probability and defend it” would be, well, highly inadequate.


  5. deblane144 responds:

    Our son was living in FL and we drove back and forth in 2000-2002. On the way home in Jan. of one of those years we saw a dead mountain lion on the side of the road. My husband was driving and saw it. I made fun of him, so he got off at the next exit and we went back. It was a mountain lion, young, skinny and dead. He wanted to take the head- he likes skulls etc., but I wouldn’t let him. It was the size of a english setter- definately smaller than my 80 pound husky. After we got home (MA) I looked it up on line and realized that there were not supposed to be Mt Lions there. It was on rt 95 not too far after the border with SC. Also my uncle retired after being a game warden in the white mountains of NH, and while he had not seen one, he said they were still there in the woods.

  6. Bob K. responds:

    I’m not the least bit surprised. Cougars can travel – what – 60 miles in a day? Yet its impossible for these magnificent, elusive, yet powerful predators to find their way back into their former haunts on the east coast?

    By the time I left NJ in ’05, the deer population was out of control, and the black bear population was booming. Soon after I moved out here to Washington, I read a report from Jersey, written by someone in Monmouth County who had seen a cougar chase several deer. No reason not to believe it (I pay no attention to “official” denials), and I’m quite gratified that these animals are recolonizing the eastern portion of their original range.

  7. crapple responds:

    k, i know nobodys reading this article anymore, but: Hunting is a GOOD THING. Nature, in healthy populations, always produces a surplus. Only a certain amount of deer ( or whatev) can survive the winter( there is only so much land and good food). That surplus, one way or another, will die ( but not from old age )
    from starvation, wolves, or disease. And a bullet to the heart is a lot less painful than slowly starving to death or dying from disease. And for wolves? there not evil, nothing in nature is, but they kill slowly: claw and bite the haunches and legs until it can’t run- then dig into the guts and legs and feast, while the animal would die slowly. Once again, much more painful that a bullet to the heart.

    Also hunting is a law of Nature: For one to live,Another Must Die

    the circle of life

  8. tropicalwolf responds:

    Once someone shoots one we’ll the the “other” typical response:

    “Gee, I guess they were right…”

  9. dwindell responds:

    While I agree with you to a certain extent, the hunting of a species that is threatened in a certain area (such as mountain lions in NC) is absolutely abhorrible. Deer and other abundant species should be moderately hunted for food, but your ‘circle of life’ argument does not apply here.

  10. cryptidsrus responds:

    Spinach Village is right. Typical of the authorities. Deep down I believe they DO know about panthers running around the state, but prefer to let them roam undiscovered in order to “protect” it from hunters and people who will appoint themselves their “guardians.”
    One thing—
    Can we stop with the “shoot, stuff and display” hunter comments, please? I’m not a hunter and I’m basically against MOST hunting, but that comment was “beyond the pale.”

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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