Out in the Open

Local man catches glimpse of large cat

About three weeks ago, David Campana, of Bivins was sitting on his back patio at  about 2 p.m. when he saw a doe run across his back yard less than 100 feet away.
Then about 30 seconds later he saw something trailing behind the deer. 
At first glance he thought it was his German shepherd, but after running in the house, he found his dog laying inside, then he realized what he was seeing was a big cat.
He described the cat to look brown and black. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), depending on the light, a cougar can appear gray or black.
Campana said when the large animal caught sight of him, it stopped dead in its tracks, turned, and ran back in the woods where it came from.
Penny Wilkerson, local wildlife biologist for TPWD, it is not unheard of for mountain lions to move through this part of the state, but it is very rare.
“Mountain lions require huge expanses of habitat and are primarily dependent on deer as prey,” said Wilkerson. “In the Pineywoods ecoregion, TPWD does conduct population surveys for mountain lions mainly because the species does not have a stable population on this side of the state.
According to Wilkerson, most mountain lions that do come are migrants moving through the area. “I have not verified a mountain lion sighting in Cass, Bowie or Morris Counties (neither by track, first hand sighting, scat nor kill) in the 12 years I have worked for TPWD. 
The closest confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in the last few years was in Panola County via a game camera photograph,” she said.
 Campana spoke to his nearest neighbor and she was a bit surprised to hear of the sighting. 
He also said he doesn’t have cattle or any livestock to have to worry for their safety
“All the animals that roam in these woods feed off the creek bottom,” he said. “I do have some concerns about a large predator being so close, but I have no interest in eradicating the animal,” he said.

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