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  1. #1
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    Default Mountain Lions in GSMNP

    Apparently there continues to be claims of Mountain Lions in GSMNP.

    While filtering some water during a break at Double Spring Gap shelter, a family of 5 staying at the shelter told a story of being tracked by a mountain lion the night before. I recall that a part of their story included a heap lamp, that they saw the cat's head, and the distance between the cat's eyes indicated it was a huge one... (I think they said they estimated it to be 400lbs?).

    I must admit that my first thoughts are that they some how mistook a deer for a mountain lion... after all, that same night, at Silers Bald shelter, a hiking buddy at first thought he had seen a bear when we saw a pair of eyes reflecting his headlamp... but he quickly figured out it was a deer (something not unusual to see around GSMNP campsites, especially near dusk).

    But I also couldn't totally discount their story as apparently about 10 sighting of mountain lions are reported each year in GSMNP, and there have been some confirmed mountain lion sightings in Tennessee. (From what I recall the last time I read some news stories on the subject, it's believed there are no breeding populations of mountain lions in Tennessee, just the occasional individual cat that has wondered from either out west or Florida).

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    i'll just put it this way-----over ten million visitors to GSMNP every year and not one credible photo has surfaced of a mountain lion in the Park.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    i'll just put it this way-----over ten million visitors to GSMNP every year and not one credible photo has surfaced of a mountain lion in the Park.....
    And a large percentage of the ten million probably has a phone capable of taking pictures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    And a large percentage of the ten million probably has a phone capable of taking pictures.
    But mountain lions are generally nocturnal, making it less likely there would be enough light for a phone to capture an image that could be used as a confirmed sighting. Combine that with the fact these cats tend to shy away from humans, and it's even more unlikely a visitor would get a chance to see a mountain lion, much less get a picture one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    But mountain lions are generally nocturnal, making it less likely there would be enough light for a phone to capture an image that could be used as a confirmed sighting. Combine that with the fact these cats tend to shy away from humans, and it's even more unlikely a visitor would get a chance to see a mountain lion, much less get a picture one.
    They also leave footprints, and I haven’t heard of any picture of footprints either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    They also leave footprints, and I haven’t heard of any picture of footprints either.
    The woods are full of bears, but I don't recall having ever seen a bear paw print in GSMNP back country.

    If course I should follow that up with the fact there is no way to prove a negative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    i'll just put it this way-----over ten million visitors to GSMNP every year and not one credible photo has surfaced of a mountain lion in the Park.....
    The very vast majority of those “visitors” just drive the road across the mountain. They don’t see much at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    The very vast majority of those “visitors” just drive the road across the mountain. They don’t see much at all.


    yes, they do......

    every animal in the Park----especially large mammals---has been spotted by someone in a vehicle.........

    stands the reason that a mammal as large as a cougar, would be seen from a visitor in a vehicle.....

    also---along with the number of people who spend a night in the backcountry, and add that number to the number of people doing day hikes, some of which are doing double digit miles so they dont have to stay in the backcountry, and the hikers who are just doing casual hikes--------somewhere in there, someone would get some sort of credible evidence.......something---scat, a sighting, fur, anything..............yet nothing....

    and trust me, i'd like to be proven wrong and find out there are cougars in the Park, but i need to see some evidence........

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    Lightbulb Cougars can EASILY be seen by car drivers

    Indeed, the problem is that cars HIT cougars.

    http://www.fox13news.com/news/florid...orida-panthers

    There are about 100 to 200 adults panthers in Florida, about the MINIMUM number to have a sustainable breeding colony. If there are cougars in Appalachia, their population MUST be AT LEAST that number, or they would have died out in a few decades.

    In Florida, that number of cougars has resulted in 147 deaths by vehicles in the last five years.
    How many cougars have been killed by vehicles in Appalachia in the last five decades?

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    Rangers probably file these sightings in the Big Foot folder


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashepabst View Post
    Rangers probably file these sightings in the Big Foot folder

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    I can't speak to specific events, however sighting claims are frequently if not always investigated by State Game Wardens and Park Rangers in the Eastern United States. Tracks, scat, kill-sites, dens or sleeping sites, fur snags, climbing scars are all part of the "look and see" investigations. Though there is not a breeding population in the eastern US, there may be a cougar lurking about in GSMNP, they do get across the Mississippi River on occasion and wander around the eastern forests, however rare it may be.

    At some point cougar will migrate and fill the predation niche that exists in eastern forest areas without apex predators, the question remains when that may be and at what point will evidence support the premise.

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    Default Mountain Lions in GSMNP

    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    At some point cougar will migrate and fill the predation niche that exists in eastern forest areas without apex predators, the question remains when that may be and at what point will evidence support the premise.
    Yeah, it’s exciting. Coyotes are relatively new to us and now they’re everywhere. We actually had our first confirmed cougar sighting in Tennessee in generations a few years ago in west TN. There was a bear roaming through Davidson County (Nashville) last year.


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    And a large percentage of the ten million probably has a phone capable of taking pictures.



    thats my point exactly.....

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    Yeah, but no breeding population in like 1000 miles. The idea of a cougar hunting a family of five... in woods that are chock-full of deer? Plus, if it’s 400 lbs... maybe he’s not hungry enough to eat 5 peoples


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    A 400 pound cougar would be a freak of nature.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    A 400 pound cougar would be a freak of nature.
    Yeah, I looked it up before I originally posted... Males can grow to around 200 lbs...

    Doesn't disprove it was a cougar... they may be just terrible at estimating size... because apparently the fear was real (they mentioned both the husband and wife had a fun, both drew their weapons, and if I understood correctly, the only reason they didn't shoot was they believed the shelter was beyond the cougar and didn't want to risk hitting other campers).

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Yeah, I looked it up before I originally posted... Males can grow to around 200 lbs...

    Doesn't disprove it was a cougar... they may be just terrible at estimating size... because apparently the fear was real (they mentioned both the husband and wife had a fun, both drew their weapons, and if I understood correctly, the only reason they didn't shoot was they believed the shelter was beyond the cougar and didn't want to risk hitting other campers).
    Great, scared people with guns who cant tell the difference between a mountain lion and a deer/black bear/raccoon/skunk/squirrel/stray dog??? Fear can add a couple of hundred pounds to any animal in the moment. At least they had enough self control to not start blasting at shadows in the dark. I kept a male lion in captivity in the mid west for a year as part of a study to determine if they should be reintroduced into areas where Whitetail populations have exploded due to declining numbers of hunters, unlimited food and no natural predators. Game Wardens brought the front half of a deer carcass to the enclosure every seven days. After a year of weekly feeding the three year old male weighed 180lbs.
    "I love the unimproved works of God" Horace Kephart 1862-1931

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    ... both the husband and wife had a gun, both drew their weapons, and if I understood correctly, the only reason they didn't shoot was they believed the shelter was beyond the cougar and didn't want to risk hitting other campers).
    So, the illegality of killing animals of any sort in the National Park, ... nor the fact that they had no such hunting license nor the fact it wasn't mountain lion hunting season stopped them, only their alleged good judgment?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
    So, the illegality of killing animals of any sort in the National Park, ... nor the fact that they had no such hunting license nor the fact it wasn't mountain lion hunting season stopped them, only their alleged good judgment?
    "In the case of imminent threat of life and injury", it's not illegal to kill an animal... but that's what bothered me the most about their story... that the words they used make it sound like the only reason they didn't pull the trigger on an animal that seemed to simply be following them was the relative position of them, the cat, and the camp site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
    So, the illegality of killing animals of any sort in the National Park, ... nor the fact that they had no such hunting license nor the fact it wasn't mountain lion hunting season stopped them, only their alleged good judgment?
    .

    Always good to hear from Rain Man. Judgment is always required. I wonder how I would react if I found myself in one of those kitty's crosshairs. I know...--Do not run (no matter how much you want to. --Make yourself appear larger than you are. I have considered how effective a pop-openumbrella would be at convincing it that I am a formidable foe. --Make noise. That ought to worry it. They apparently exist in silence, very stealthy.
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