I just opened this shot from a friend. My first thought was, “Why is he sending me a shot of the woods?”
OK, so it’s not a cougar. But it’s something that is often mistaken for a cougar, in my opinion.
Speaking of which, a friend sent me an email last night saying she had seen one near Roanoke. This makes the fourth direct friend who swears to have seen one of these elusive cats around here.
If I extrapolate this data, taking into consideration that I, being an extrovert, have more friends than the average Virginian, that works out to an estimated 67,954 cougar sightings in Virginia over the past 10 years.
That’s either a lot of cougars, or one very active cougar.
Probably a better chance that it’s a lot of cougars, don’t you think?
Yet, amazingly, all those cougars have managed to avoid the 567,945 trail cameras out there in the Virginia woods at any given time. And not a single one has gotten hit by a car or accidentally shot by a hunter who mistook it for a bobcat, deer, coyote, turkey or whatever. Most amazing of all, not one of those 67,954 people had time to pull out their smartphone to take a picture of the cougar. In fact, odds are that, with as many cougars as we have roaming our woods, someone would be taking a picture of something else, and a cougar would accidentally photo bomb them.
I’m not saying my friends and those other 67,950 people are liars, have poor eyesight or are just dumb or crazy. They saw something. A wild cougar? As you can tell, I’m skeptical. But, as I’ve said for years, eventually one of these sightings is going to turn out to be legit.
Cougars cover ground and are moving east. They are going to be here eventually. When that happens, the first sighting is going to be followed by another, and another, and another. And then someone is going to get a picture. Then someone else. Then someone else. The cat will show up on a trailcam. And another. And another. Experts will find and confirm tracks and scat.
If you read about other confirmed arrivals of long-missing critters (such as the recent arrival of a bobcat on Cape Cod, or the mountain lion that ended up in the Twin Cities in Minnesota), solid proof appears pretty quickly.
Maybe this latest sighting is the one that will get the ball rolling.