Do mountain lions exist in Pennsylvania?|Richard_F|richard@cfz.org.uk|05/27/04 at 17:29:23|richard_f|xx|0|81.153.207.198|From the Towanda (PA) Daily Review:
Do mountain lions exist in Pennsylvania?
Jim Collins
05/02/2004

As promised last week, here are just some of the stories that folks have
told me either face to face, by telephone or e-mail with a return telephone
call from me. You can be the judge if these stories are true.

Some of these folks I know personally, including six people who live in my
town or within two miles of the Alba Borough limits. The identities have
been kept confidential for a variety of reasons. The No. 1 reason is that
many of the sightings were reported to the Game Commission with negative
results.

Let's start with my neighbors and their stories.

A farmer on whose land I hunt reported that he saw two mountain lions in the
same year. The first sighting was in his lower field. He has a spotting
scope in his living room. He noticed a deer in his lower field so he watched
the deer for awhile.

After the deer bolted across his field and into the swamp, he saw a mountain
lion come out of the woods and into his field. He saw another mountain lion
cross his fields the same year. This guy knows the difference between a
bobcat and a mountain lion.

He called the Game Commission one day when he noticed a collared bobcat that
was limping. If you do not already know it, there was a study done by the
Game Commission a few years back when they tagged and radio collared bobcats
across Pennsylvania.

Another sighting was by the wife on the farm next to the first farm as
described above. Her sister also saw one while hiking one day. All sightings
were just off Windfall Road. A fellow who lives on Minnequa Road, which
connects Alba and Canton, reported to me that he observed a mountain lion on
the old railroad grade one day while looking out the window of his
residence. When he called the local wildlife conservation officer, he was
told it was probably just a bobcat.

A local business owner, who also lives on the Windfall Road, e-mailed me
another story of a sighting by his wife and daughter. This occurred about
two years ago.

These folks were driving on a back road near their residence when they
observed a large animal sitting by the side of the road. The animal got up,
walked half-way across the road, turned and went back into the woods. As it
turned, they saw that it had a long, thin tail.

The lady described it as looking like "The Pink Panther,'' except black. She
has seen dead bobcats before, and said it definitely was not a bobcat; the
long thin tail caught her eye.

The husband later showed his wife and daughter a picture of a mountain lion.
They both said that was the animal, only the animal they saw was black, or
at least very dark in color.

A fellow in Middlebury Center, age 85, related several mountain lion
sightings, starting in about 1930. He and another young lad were on a local
farm hunting small game. His buddy flushed out a mountain lion, which came
directly at him.

He told me still does not know why he did not shoot the animal. He told his
uncle about it. The uncle was part of a local highway crew, and employed his
nephew in the summer months. One day, while the crew was razzing the young
lad about his mountain lion sighting, a local farmer stopped to chat. When
he was told the story, he stated that was his farm the lads were hunting on
and that he had shot at a mountain lion the last deer season.

A fellow in Leroy has a video of a collared mountain lion. The video was
shot circa 1999 in the Barclay Mountain range. Linda Marie and I have seen
it. There is absolutely no doubt that this is a mountain lion. The fellow in
Leroy told us he has shown it to several members of the Game Commission.

A retired WCO stated that of course it was a mountain lion. A WCO on active
duty said identification is in question. Another area outdoor writer has
seen this video and states that it is a mountain lion.

Lastly, a fellow from Canton, who teaches school in the Powell area on Route
414, just west of Monroeton, almost hit a black panther a few years ago on a
September afternoon while going home from school. I would trust this guy
with both my life and my wife. He is a good friend and a fine, moral fellow.

He told me the story of the sighting more than once. I will never forget his
statement, "I know what I saw.''




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