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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 12/15/2005 10:10:15 AM EDT
About two months ago, I talked to my folks who live in Fannin county and have about 300 acres of land. It seems something had been spooking the dogs again at night. It has happened on and off for the last 2 years, albeit infrequently. With all that land, our dogs run quite a bit. Apparently, they smelled or heard something around 3 am that made the hair of their spine stand up and caused them to bark wildly for about 2 hours. They would not leave the yard. My first thought was a bear, when they told me. Every once in awhile, a black bear will happen through, but doesn't stay for long due to the fact that both my folks and 2 of their distant neighbors have dogs, and mostly because the smaller black bears we do have are fairly timid.

I go up their fairly often to shoot and goof off, so I decided to go check it out. I walked about 1/4 mile down an old logging road that crosses the property with Bailey, our 2 year-old golden Lab. After an hour or so, we walked down to an old house site (late 1800's - early 1900's build). Bailey immediately changes posture. She freezes, and the hair stands up on her back again, and she starts growling. Something takes off through the woods about 200 ft. away in the opposite direction. All I could tell is that it was a dark tan color, and it had a long tail. I couldn't make out its head or front part of body. It kinda bounded off through the woods, and dissappeared. Bailey stayed aggravated for the next day or so.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago. Nothing unusual had happened since my "spotting", but my folks call , and tell me that the dogs got spooked again, and this time our dog Rocky is missing. They drove down on the property for a couple hours looking for him, but don't ever find him. Rocky was a mutt, but a great one nonetheless: totally non-aggressive, and doesn't wander much. I should point out that is the second dog we have lost. The first was a small black lab mix that was getting older. We wrote her off to old age, thinking she had just gone off somewhere and maybe passed on, but now I'm not so sure. She was in good health, and it was unexplainable at the time.

Last week I go down to the DNR office and tell them our situation. The only response I get is "we don't have wild cats, mountain lions, cougars, etc. in this part of the country." I ask them about other reports of such animals, and they say they haven't heard anything. Frustrated, I leave and catch a game warden as I'm walking out the door. We get into a conversation about it, and he tells me to see if I can find a track, and get a plaster imprint of it. I take the advice, and search for a few hours, and finally find what I think may be the track near the old spring. It was not deep enough to get a good cast, as I could barely make it out anyway.

I kind of forget about the whole mess, because I have alot going on, but folks call again Monday night with the same deal - dogs have been spooked again. This time our other black lab has come back home limping, and 4 puncture wounds to the side and back. They took him to the vet Tuesday, and he'll be okay, mainly just sore for a few days.

I call DNR back and tell them that we definitatey have some sort of predator. After much discussion, I get the same answer, that we don't have wild cats, and that it was most likely a fight with another dog, or possibly a bear. I told the guy I was talking to that we have a cat, that I've seen it, and if and when I see it again, I'm going to remove it from the non-existant population of wildcats in north Georgia. He then goes on about them being spotted in North Carolina and Tennessee, but had no recent reports of them in north Georgia. I think he said something to the effect of them being "protected" (haven't verified this), and if in fact one did exist, they would need to come setup live catch traps and relocate it.

Anyway, does anyone have any experience hunting or tracking this type of animal? From what I have read, they are nocturnal hunters, territorial, can be aggressive toward people or animals, and can normally range 150 square miles. Food can be small deer, mice, rabbits and other small game,
and ground nesting birds such as turkey and pheasant. Anyone had avice on how to lure or hunt this thing?
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 10:37:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2005 10:41:51 AM EDT by Bradd_D]
Send an IM to our Moderator, BookHound. I believe he knows a member of the board here that works or worked (retired maybe) for the DNR.

Here is a cool link. There is some pertinent info near the bottom of the article.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:47:10 AM EDT
I believe it could be a big cat (cougar, catamount, panther, whatever you'd like to call it).

To lure it in I would try some type of live bait. Maybe a small pig or something tied up. You could put out raw meat, but they like to stalk from what I have read and I bet they would like something live.

I had a very good friend that came across one in South Carolina while bowhunting. Actually, it was stalking a deer he was watching. No one believed him either. Told him he was full of it. He even went back and got pics of a couple prints it left. I believed him because I knew him enough to know he wasn't the type to make it up.

Good luck, Keep us posted.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 3:45:48 PM EDT
The ground should be soft after this rain and will show tracks better.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 6:20:00 PM EDT
A spot light, a couple of cans of Tender Vittles, and a bottle of Tannerite should do the trick.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 6:51:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 5:34:00 AM EDT
A friend of mine at work lives near Taccoa and has a farm. She said one night they woke up to the sound of one of their pet pigs screaming. Her husband went outside and the horses were going nuts as were the dogs. He heard the pig up in a tree. A cougar had grabbed it and carried it up in a tree. She said it happened the same time of year the previous year to a neighbor. It seems the cougar is feeding young or something.
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 6:36:28 AM EDT
Sounds like you need to try some Trinitrotoluene.
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 8:09:19 AM EDT
How about a pass on hunting fellow predators? Odds are if you leave it alone it will reciprocate. Wild cats, of any sorts, almost never attack humans and bobcats are just overgrown feral house cats. Prey animals are fine but taking out fellow predators doesn't sit well and tends to disrupt the order of things.

Just my .02. I'm always concerned about protecting pussy...cats
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 11:06:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Muddy:
I'm always concerned about protecting pussy...cats

Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:49:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/18/2005 1:50:33 PM EDT by cohutt]
IM Sent.

Where in Fannin is your parent's place? Any chance it is out west on sr2 towards the Cohuttas?
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