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personal close encounter Philadelphia 1986

 
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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:02 pm    Post subject: personal close encounter Philadelphia 1986 Reply with quote

This is a true story about a personal experience I had as a young boy. I was attending a Catholic School on the edge of the Philadelphia/Bucks County line. It was a bright sunny day at approx. 12:20 pm. I was playing out in the schoolyard with some other kids that stayed at the school for lunch. I would say about half of the students would go home for lunch. Our schoolyard was a very large asphalt parking lot fenced off from the surrounding soccer, farm fields and woods. Every grade of students had their own section of schoolyard to play in. The section I had to play in at the time was right at a hole cut in the fence that the kids that lived behind the school would enter thru. It was a shortcut all you had to do was cross the field inbetween the school and the back of some neighborhood row homes. This part of the feild was partially mowed by the school except for a large section of high grass that the kids returning would have to walk past. I was playing near the hole in the fence when one of my friends that went home for lunch was returning. He was about 50 or 60 yards away from me when I seen something emerging from the tall grass directly behind him. It was absolutely amazing. I knew it was a cougar I had been to the Philadelphia Zoo many times. This cougar was crawling out of the high grass totally focused on this kid. I yelled to him "Behind you there is a cougar behind you". He turned around and saw it and panic set in. He immediately made a desperate dash for the schoolyard. I could see from the cougars reaction this was a very big mistake. Its legs started going like crazy and it was starting its pursuit. I knew I needed to do something quickly. I remember the thoughts clearly as they went thru my head. I knew from my experience with neighborhood strays that just a simple foot stomp in a strays direction would send it running. I decided the best thing to do was to charge right at it. I ran as fast as I could at it arms up in the air yelling and screaming. It remained totally focused on my friend running away from it. As I was passing my friend that was running in the opposite direction I started getting scared it didn't seem to be backing down.It finally took its focuss of my friend and noticed me running at it. It arched its back and turned sideways. I was becoming less and less confident in my decision to charge as I got closer and closer. As I got within about 50 feet from it. I remember thinking this is the end for me. I had no choice but to stick to the plan and hope for the best. I slowed my charge hoping it would change its mind and flee. Looking into its eyes its like I could see the whole fight or flight process going thru its mind. As I got within 20 or 30 feet I was on the verge of panic. I also felt very angry that my plan was about to go horribly wrong. I started yelling and screamming and waving my arms harder while stomping my feet as hard as I could. If I didn't slow down I think I might of ran right into it. I did not want to get in reach of its massive paws. Suddenly right before I collided with the massive cat it retreated. It darted into the high field of grass and out of sight. I refused to leave that field until every kid was back from lunch and until the police were called. I was not going to just forget about this. One officer showed up and interviewed me. He briefly looked in the area this happened and got on the radio to dispatch. He was told that if he did not see it himself to forget about it. I was highly dissapointed it was in a highly populated area with no way out. It would of been trapped in that section of woods with no choice of escape except to cross one of the roads surrounding it. In my eyes they let it get away. I haven't seen another cougar for many years until I started dating a girl in Schuylkill County. I have seen atleast 5 different large long tailed cats since I started coming to the area. They have all been in populated areas on the edge of small towns. I have seen some tracks around these areas. I have also found deer that have been eaten. With obvious spinal damage to the neck. I have also many large turkey remains in the area. Also I have heard many sightings with corrisponding stories. I have invested alot of time and money in trying to get proof. I have lots of useful equipment to try and prove this once and for all. I have a trail camera, IR cameras a good 4 channel DVR, I never go anywhere anymore without my camcorder. I also have a great dog with a great nose. I have worked on her tracking and she does much better than I ever could of expected. She is always sniffing out scat and other animals. All I figure I need is to be set up in the right place at the right time. I am hoping I can join forces with others interrested in proving cougars are here.

Thanks for reading,
Kevin
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Cougardaville
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome fngonuts!! Very Happy You have made a smashing entrance. Your event was sending chills up my spine, trying to read as fast as I could. Shocked I applaud you for sharing your story here. Smile Smile I have recorded hundreds of close encounters with mountain lions, but people still hesitate to talk on these forums. I never talk about a sighting report, unless I am asked to. I respect the privacy I have with many people. I hope you will open doors for more. Arrow

Pennsylvania and New York are running neck and neck with cougars being sighted. The cats in Pa. seem to be larger than N.Y. In Pa. the sightings are becoming very intense, as the event you share. Sad This is a huge concern for all of us working at Trackincats.com. Our network of people is growing daily, collecting very important data and evidence the mountain lion is in the East and going to make it's debut soon. What will this predator do to make people finally listen and take warning your woods and back yards are not safe. Crying or Very sad Our government agencies are stuck on denial. Evil or Very Mad How long can they gamble with this cat. Question I say their luck is going to run out soon at the expense of an innocent person Sad .

What makes any one think mountain lions only attack in the West. Question Confused Question Confused

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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the welcome

Even though this cat was going on the attack I don't think they pose much of a threat to people. I do think kids need to made aware of what to do in situations like that. First instinct is to run and that is the worst thing you could do. It just seemed curious. My theary is that it felt less threatened by a child and wanted a closer look. I feel totally comfortable knowing they are around atleast during the day. I often walk thru the woods unarmed during the day. I would not want to walk in the woods by myself at night. As long as someone else is nearby your chance of being attacked is slim. They are more afraid of us than we are of them. Well they should be after all we tried to wipe them out.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh, but Why would any eastern cats be afraid of Humans Question They are not actively hunted here so they will become (if they are not already) habituated to us. Once that happens it will not be long before we are on the menu Shocked . Especially if they are in suburbs where there is not much hunting of anything Evil or Very Mad going on but many Exclamation deer to eat. And nice house cat and small doggie snacks running around Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am 20 minutes from the NYS & PA State line.With all the new housing going up I can see a problem in the heavy brush areas that a cat can hide in near State Line.There is alot of posted property as well that can lead to more danger for a perfect hiding place for cats near newly renovated housing areas. And someone from this forum has stated that PA Zoning is restricting privacy fencing,but allowing 4 foot fences. How can people protect their children in the back yard ?
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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why are ferrel house cats afraid of humans? Because they lack contact with human beings. They don't know they were bred to be pets. They were often born outside or the barn ect ect ect. They don't know that people are meant to feed them so they revert back to the wild. Like every other animal they fear what they don't know.

Its in a cougars nature to remain unseen. They hardly ever confront something face to face. Its called survival instincts. To ever approach a human a cougar must feel fairly confident that it is safe. Children would be the best oppertunity for a cougar to observe us. A cougar wont risk going up against something that could hurt it back. If it is injured it will most likely impair its ability to hunt and would die.

Also I believe its unlikely for a cougar to attack humans simply because they cannot understand us. Hell I don't understand most people. We must look funny to them riding around in our cars. They will never have us figured out and thats what probably keeps most of us safe.

statisticly you are way more likely to be killed by another person than by a wild animal.

Cougars have lots of wild prey. If they get desperate enough they resort to smaller meals. For instance Turkeys, Opossum, Raccoons, Skunk, groundhogs for some examples. Also I seen a documentry on a cougar that pretty much lived off of squirrels. As far as eating your pet cats and dogs. Its the risk ya take when let them run free. Also if there isn't enough suitable prey the cougar will move on to better hunting grounds.

Don't get me wrong cougars are potentially dangerous. However they do have their niche in life. Unlike human hunters that are always after that trophy buck, cougars prey on the weaker animals. You know the easy targets. Most likely adapted to taking out the injured deer that survive getting hit by a car. My theory anyway based on a mother and two cubs I saw along the highway. Think back to playing tag as a kid. Most kids would go after the slower kid. Without natural predators our deer population would be a really pathetic sight. The bad genes would be more often passed down. That goes for all species I believe its called natural selection or something like that. Without it the prey species is in more danger due to genetic problems. Tell me that you have never thought some people shouldn't be allowed to reproduce Twisted Evil

Oh yeah and another point I never heard of a cougar attack but I sure have heard of alot of black bear attacks. Theres even the more frequent and more dangerous people attacks. The Applachian Trail Killer for one example. I would rather be packin around people than around critters.
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Cougardaville
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fngonuts wrote:
Thanks for the welcome

Even though this cat was going on the attack I don't think they pose much of a threat to people. I do think kids need to made aware of what to do in situations like that. First instinct is to run and that is the worst thing you could do. It just seemed curious. My theary is that it felt less threatened by a child and wanted a closer look. I feel totally comfortable knowing they are around atleast during the day. I often walk thru the woods unarmed during the day. I would not want to walk in the woods by myself at night. As long as someone else is nearby your chance of being attacked is slim. They are more afraid of us than we are of them. Well they should be after all we tried to wipe them out.


The mountain lion that was stalking your friend was doing so with one intension...to kill and eat him. Shocked There was no sign that this cat was just being curious, it launched the pursuit and attack mode. These cats never attack to scare something off..they complete the deed. The only thing that stops them is something similar as you did, you can try to stop or fight them. This defense does not always work. I have many articles listed to prove that theory is not 100%. Most things in life are not 100%, but when it comes to a mountain lion attacking there is only one solid defense in saving your self or another and that is to kill it before it kills you.

You mention day time being more safe. This is far from true. Most of the reports I have taken are during the day. 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon are the most popular times.Unexpectedly a cat steps out into a backyard with sometimes many people and stares them down. Is this a curious cat Question maybe. Confused Will this same cat become a threat to a person one day Question . I believe so, just as bloodhounds stated they are habituating to us every day. Idea I have so many areas that we have studied cat sightings, just when we think the cat is no longer there and we move on, it shows up again. But...every time closer and closer to the people.

Black bear attacks are more frequent, due to habitation and over population. This will ring true with every predator Idea Idea

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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It very well could of planned on making a meal out of him the entire time. From my point of view I assumed it saw movement thru the tall grass and came out to see if it was prey. It was just crouched down watching him very peacefully. Then I opened my big mouth and pointed it out to him. It looked just like the experts say if you run a cougar can't help but give chase.

You are right more attacks are during the day. I always thought that was because more people are out in the woods during the day. I know I wouldn't want to take my daily jog or bikeride at night. I personally feel safer during the day atleast I have a shot at seeing one coming. I think I read somewhere that most attacks are from young cougars. All I can picture is that film of a young mountain lion that was testing the limits of a black bear. Did ya see that one I think it was in Canada? What if most attacks are young cougars that never encountered a human before and merely testing its limits. If it was a mature cougar I would suspect it got away with a human attack before without much of a fight.

There is no way to calculate the cougar population. Even calculating sightings probably wouldn't help much. I know most local sightings here go unreported to anyone. Also no way of knowing if it was the same cat seen 10 miles away or not. I personally believe based on my own sightings that the population is quite strong in numbers. Only way to know would be to get collars on them and a whole lot of research. If I had the resources I would be out there trying to catch them in live squeeze traps to get tracking collars on them. I think the numbers would shock most people.

Thanks for the consideration of reading my comments. I really do appreciate it. I have tried posting on another site I doubt I have to mention its name. Just because my point of view was different I couldn't even post my comments. So far I think this is great forum with from what I can tell good people.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no way to calculate the cougar population. Even calculating sightings probably wouldn't help much. I know most local sightings here go unreported to anyone. Also no way of knowing if it was the same cat seen 10 miles away or not. I personally believe based on my own sightings that the population is quite strong in numbers. Only way to know would be to get collars on them and a whole lot of research. If I had the resources I would be out there trying to catch them in live squeeze traps to get tracking collars on them. I think the numbers would shock most people.


Well said Exclamation and I totally agree with you. We have crunched some numbers..our best guess at this time is 1,000-3,000 in each state of New York and Pa. ( and growing in leaps and bounds.... Laughing )

The day will come we will have tracking devices on them, but it will be a while. Right now the best we can do is field cameras. Sighting reports work well if you keep track for a long time. This web site has been terrific, when I get 5 reports miles apart all at about the same time, you know nobody can claim it is the same cat that took a 100 mile walk Very Happy Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as the privacy fence restriction. I have never heard of such a thing. Unless maybe it is the housing development telling home owners this just because the homeowners association decided they didn't like them. Like I said I don't know can only guess. The best advice about keeping the kids safe is making sure they are not alone. I think there really is truth to the saying that there is strength in numbers. Even if you have to get them a good loyal dog to keep them company while you get things done. I would suggest a lab no offense other breed owners. I have a young female black lab. I never imagined a dog could be this easy to train. Don't get me wrong they also require some work on our part. Your main job as a pet owner is to tire that dog out. It doesn't always have to involve much work on our part. I often play fetch indoors with the dog while I'm doing other things. Just 20 minutes of fetch usually brings on a nap. A long walk would be alot better or fetch outside and a good arm.

The biggest thing to keep people safe is education. Knowing what to do if you encounter a cougar. Like NEVER NEVER NEVER RUN away. It was probably preoccupied with something and is just as surprised to see you. If you run your done!!! You will only set off the chase and take down instincts that all cats have. It also shows fear and to a cat fear means you must be prey. Ok now would be a good time to take out any pent up frustrations on the cat I think it would probably save your life. Really go ahead go nuts, get mad, throw rocks, act aggressive, fight for your life. Most likely a cat will think you are a highly aggressive formitable foe that will not tolerate their presence and it should flee. I think this experience would also educate the cat. That we are not prey. All situations are different so its all up to you. I think most people with basic knowledge of what not to do will be just fine without incident. Survivors of attacks all have one thing in common they fought for their lives.

Now keep in mind I have no proffesional experience on this subject. However I have done lots of research on animal behaivor. I have also had some personal experiences with wild cougars. Including preventing an attack on a classmate by being as aggressive as possible and showing no fear. I do not think this makes me an expert. I'll just say I'm fairly confident I have the knowledge to survive and if I can do it anyone can. After all experience is the best learning tool. Wether its your own personal experience or you read about someone elses.

If anyone knows about the fence restrictions please let us know.
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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that is a very good guess on the size of the population. I came up with the same numbers on my own. Most likely there is not anywhere in the state that isn't part of a cougars home range. Don't worry dominant males usually do there own population control. If the compitition for food is too great or another male has been in its territory. The male will probably eliminate the compitition. Seek and destroy. There should be a much larger number of females than males. A male will tolerate females in their territory. Males should control much larger areas while overlapping the smaller territories of its females.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I didn't prevent this kid from being attack most likely he would of never been seen or heard from again. The police would of been looking for a human predator instead of figuring out what really happened. The police are not educated in animal behaivor and because of the claims by the PGC that the eastern cougar is extinct the real killer would never be found or even be considered as a possibility

This could happen quite often. I do not blame the cougars its only in their nature.

The real blame should be put on the PGC for not having the facts straight. If people were educated on what to do most attacks would not happen. Think about it if your a kid alone and attacked by a cougar who would ever know. Most likely no one would find your remains. Without a witness no one would know the truth.

This false sense of security given to us by the PGC is very irresponsible of them. The blood of any missing people should be on their hands. Because of their negligence people are not prepared. Sounds like a very good lawsuit if someone in PA is ever proven to be killed by a cougar. Might even be able to argue criminal negligence. Kids are taught what to do incase of a human predator. Why not prepare them for natural predators?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fngonuts wrote:
If I didn't prevent this kid from being attack most likely he would of never been seen or heard from again. The police would of been looking for a human predator instead of figuring out what really happened. The police are not educated in animal behaivor and because of the claims by the PGC that the eastern cougar is extinct the real killer would never be found or even be considered as a possibility

This could happen quite often. I do not blame the cougars its only in their nature.

The real blame should be put on the PGC for not having the facts straight. If people were educated on what to do most attacks would not happen. Think about it if your a kid alone and attacked by a cougar who would ever know. Most likely no one would find your remains. Without a witness no one would know the truth.

This false sense of security given to us by the PGC is very irresponsible of them. The blood of any missing people should be on their hands. Because of their negligence people are not prepared. Sounds like a very good lawsuit if someone in PA is ever proven to be killed by a cougar. Might even be able to argue criminal negligence. Kids are taught what to do incase of a human predator. Why not prepare them for natural predators?


You just summed up what Trackincats is all about. Many people that come to this site are here because they saw a cougar. Their first instinct because it is a wild animal is to call their Game Commission. Idea People are laughed at, called liars, told they were mistaken and never are given any help or advise. Evil or Very Mad Every game commission officer in the East is reading from the same 3 X 5 card. You are told if it was a cougar it was an escaped pet or released . Confused Confused That could be true, but a mountain lion (cougar) is a mountain lion. Idea
The day is very near that the Federal government will de list this cat from the Endangered species list and every state will be responsible for this cat.

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