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06/19/12 Mountain Lions Exist in Arkansas!!, Finally the Arkansas State Game and Fish admits that the big cats are out there

In an article titled “Cougars moving toward Midwest” in the 06/18/12 Arkansas Democrat, it was reported that at least 8 mountain lions have been reported in Arkansas.  Most of these appeared in game cameras that were set out by deer hunters in various parts of Arkansas.  For years, I have been hearing reports by local Arkansas residents that they had either heard or seen a mountain lion.  The southwest corner of Arkansas up to Hot Springs seemed to be the main location for sightings, however more recently the northwest part of the state has reported sightings.

In 35 years of hiking throughout Arkansas, I have only seen what I would call actual evidence 1 time and that was very clear paw print on a hiking trail along the Ozark Highlands trail.  In all my night photography trips, I have not heard any cries from a mountain lion, but still at night you do start to really think that one may be near by.  Of course everything seems closer at night!

The Arkansas State Game and Fish commission has never really admitted to the presence of the big cats, even with the photographic evidence.  In this latest newspaper  article they are finally stating that there is a possibility of the large cats living in the most remote parts of Arkansas. However they are still trying to fall back on the issue that these sighting are “captive cats” that somehow got away from their owners and not part of  a “breeding” population.  I am not sure what it will take, but I figure in about 5 to 8  more years Arkansas will start to have a season on the Big cats just like there is a season for bear.  With the Elk population in Arkansas now close to over 1,200 animals it’s only natural that a large predator like a mountain lion would seek them out.  The Elk currently only have man to fear during the annual permit hunts,  as no other natural predator in the state would be able to take a full grown elk down.  The deer population also seems to be out of control, yet another reason for the cats to come back to the state.

The article points out that the most likely areas for a mountain lion to be living in Arkansas would be the Ozark and Ouachita wilderness areas, as they are so remote.  These are areas I frequent, so I will definitely have my guard up.


  1. Jeff Baker says:

    There are mountain lions in Arkansas. I saw my first one in the mid 80’s. I was driving north on hwy 95 close to 124 intersection and it crossed the road in front of me. I heard their cries more than once in the Menifee Bottoms. Very spooky. My second sighting was in the mid 90’s between Bigelow and Toad Suck very near St Boniface church. It was about an hour before dusk on a freshly cut access deep into the woods. It was standing in the road maybe 150 yards in front of me. It was solid black.

    • Hello Jeff:

      Yes I fully agree with you. That the Arkansas Game and Fish won’t admit we have a breeding population still amazes me. It will take a unfortunate incident before they
      do anything. With the increase in horsemen/women in Arkansas, it won’t be long before a cat does something. The Elk population alone is enough to keep them going.

      I don’t like hiking in remote parts of the state alone much anymore. I have yet to hear one at night, and I am out a lot at night shooting.

      Take care

    • My mother lives in the billy goat mountain area in the north Pulaski co. Area i saw three sightings as I was growing up there. The first one It was on January 16, 2005. I was outside at 5:45 I was with a buddy of mine, as we walked to cross the dirt road that runs between two property’s of about 350 acres of woods we step in the middle of the road and the cat was a darker brown almost a black but not solid. The cat saw us and stopped and the weirdest thing it’s wasn’t scared at all he just walked back and forth across the road watching us but each time he crossed he got closer and closer until he was about 20-25 yards from us and that was close enough for me so I fired a warning shot in the air with my pistol the cat ran off in the direction of the house so we went home seeing how with the loud shot bow hunting was out the window. That same day at 5:00 pm right before dark I was on my porch and I was talking on the phone next thing I knew I looked up and about 40 yards away not one but two mountain lions are laying down on the edge of the woods it wasn’t ok for them to be that close to my home so I ran them off with a couple rounds in the air. My best friend nick lives about a mile away from me on august 3, 2008 he saw a large cat way to big to be a bobcat. keep in mind we are very big hunters so I know what a bobcat is. he said he saw it at like mid day in his grandfathers field just watching his uncles house for some reason the cats eyes were glued to his uncles home he said he yelled to scare it but it didn’t seem to shake it. About 6 hours later I was at his house and his uncle knocked on the door saying his dog was just killed by a cat twice the size of his full grown English bull mastive he heard it and walked down the ridge and he pulled back some bushes and the cat had the back of his dogs butt in its mouth dragging it down the ridge he said he ran home got his gun and by the time he got back his dog was dead and the cat was gone. No one can tell me cats aren’t here in arkansas I’ve seen and have picture of a ripped apart dog that’s bigger than a German Shepard. I’ve also seen many many tracks around my feeders and nicks grandparents have seen tracks at there pond weekly for over 5 years now the last tracks the found were less then a month ago.

  2. Kathleen Ramsey says:

    Mr. Caldwell:

    I have to comment on the subject of cougars in populated areas, because three days ago I saw one across the creek that borders my back yard (right in the heart of Little Rock). I have no special credentials, and no pictures, but I am 100% certain of what I saw. I am a former biology teacher (a college zoology major), and a nature lover. I walk my dog on the creek behind my house each day. As I was leaving my yard, I looked across the creek, and saw this beautiful, large, golden brown cat with an extremely long tail, gracefully moving up the steep cliff on the other side of the creek. I was struck with its grace, its sinewy muscles, and its absolute silent movement. I was shocked, but on reflection, I realize that this great predator has moved in with the numerous deer that we see on the creek fairly frequently. Recently, we (my neighbor and I) have seen small herds of deer (4) moving down the creek. No doubt in my mind that the cat is after those deer. A call to game and fish met with no interest at all. I only spoke with what I assumed was a secretary, and she said she would pass on the word. Frankly, I think they should, at the very least, be keeping a record of sightings. I
    know I have no “proof” of seeing this animal, but this sighting has made me a real believer. I’m not particularly afraid, but I am now reading “A Beast in the Garden” which is about a documented killing of a human by a cougar in Boulder, CO, in the 1990’s. It’s certainly food for thought!

    • Hello:

      There have been many cat’s caught by night cameras used by deer hunters out around Roland and Natural steps. I have seen a few and they are most definitely cats, and not
      a Bobcat, with a long tail.

      That the Arkansas Game and Fish won’t admit we have a breeding population still amazes me. It will take a unfortunate incident before they
      do anything
      . With the increase in horsemen/women in Arkansas, it won’t be long before a cat does something. The Elk population alone is enough to keep them going.

      I don’t like hiking in remote parts of the state alone much anymore. I have yet to hear one at night, and I am out a lot at night shooting. I still hike alone in the
      daytime and hope that the over population of deer will keep them at bay for now.

      Take care

  3. I live within hollerin’ distance of the Bayou DeView Wildlife Management Area in northeast Arkansas and can assure the AG&F that we do have big cats and baby big cats in our area. I’ve heard their screams at night and almost hit one on Hwy 214. It jumped out of the ditch, touched the pavement near the center line, and was gone in a flash. I was shocked at it’s huge, muscular frame and very long tail.

    • Hello:

      There have been many cat’s caught by night cameras used by deer hunters out around Roland and Natural steps close to Little Rock. I have seen a few and they are most definitely cats, and not a Bobcat, with a long tail.

      That the Arkansas Game and Fish won’t admit we have a breeding population still amazes me. It will take a unfortunate incident before they
      do anything. With the increase in horsemen/women in Arkansas, it won’t be long before a cat does something. The Elk population alone is enough to keep them going.

      I don’t like hiking in remote parts of the state alone much anymore. I have yet to hear one at night, and I am out a lot at night shooting. I still hike alone in the
      daytime and hope that the over population of deer will keep them at bay for now.

      Take care

  4. Our Beaver Lake neighbor(near Garfield,AR) , said the people renting the house at the end of the road west of his house,(about 150 yds from us) heard a loud noise last week on their roof, went outside, and saw a mountain lion eating a raccoon on the roof. This was the 3rd time they have seen a big cat this year. We have heard about mountain lions in the area for a long time.

  5. I every time spent my half an hour to read this web site’s content every day along with a mug of coffee.

  6. Jeff Kinley says:

    On January 15, 2013 I looked outside into my back yard in Mid-town Little Rock (Hillcrest) and was surprised to see a huge cat. It was walking around my fire pit and was by some chairs so I was able to determine its size in comparison to the chairs. it was about 3 1/2′ in length and about 1 3/4′ tall. it had a long tail. It was a brownish golden color and the end of its tail was black. it had large pointy ears. It walked very slowly into the bushes. It was NOT a regular cat. After looking at photos on the internet, I believe it was a small female mountain lion.

    I have heard people say they have seen large cats down by the dumpsters at the bottom of Cantrell hill…also in Little Rock. No one believes me, but i know what i saw. There had been a lot of flooding and rain several days prior to this. on this day, It had been sleeting and snowing. I saw the animal about 2:00 in the afternoon in broad day light.

  7. Jerry L.Guthery says:

    Well, Now I dont feel so bad about making this post.I have been feeding the deer on my place,for over 10 years now and never had a problem,but starting in Oct.2011 my son in law and I were hunting down in the bottom below my home (both in tree stands)We both heard something take a deer off one of the trails leading to the feeder.My three grandsons and friends were playing in the yard and went running in the house telling grandma that someone was being hurt in the wood but I know what it was it was the cat catching that deer,now in the first week of Jan.We went to put more feed in that same feeder and found a kill site,right under the feeder,be aware the big cats are here in northern baxter co.I,ve never seen one of the cats myself,but my wife and sister seen this cat cross my back yard.JERRY

  8. Johnny Mullens says:

    I live northeast of El Paso in southwestern White County. We have had numerous sightings of mountain lions. A cousin saw a female lion kill and drag a calf owned by his uncle near Highway 5 north of El Paso. Another cattleman found a calf that was drug up a tree. This has happened within the past 12 months.

  9. Glenn Reese says:

    I was hiking out at Lake Ft. Smith today and took a photo of a track to identify later. At first I was thinking a bobcat, but it’s about as big as my hand (which is in the shot for scale) and the toes are more triangular. In looking up mountain lion tracks online, I’ve found some photos that look very much like mine. I can’t be certain, since it was made when the ground was muddy which may distort and exaggerate the size of a bobcat track. Still, it looks very much like some of the cougar track pictures I saw. I have seen one cross the road just a little north of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, so it’s not impossible to think this might be one. I’d say unlikely, but I can’t rule it out.

  10. Recently, my family purchased a house in Malvern, Arkansas. For most of you unfamiliar with Arkansas, Malvern is about 10 minutes from.Hot Springs. The house is located on a mountainside with very dense forests all around. I myself have not seen or heard any big cats, but recently my mother, while attending to her gardening, claims to have seen a few tracks. I was a bit skeptical to this until some several weeks later she told me the neighbors youngest daughter had actuallyseen one in their land scaling the mountain. I no longer doubt that they are close by, much closer than we think. Be careful, and if ever attacked go for the eyes.

    • Arkansas will eventually have to recognize the Puma, or Mountain lion as reports increase every year, and there is no doubt a breeding population now in the state. With the current Elk population approaching over 1400 animals ranging over the entire Buffalo river drainage, it’s just a natural progression. The more interesting issue is how many sitings of mountain lions have been with a 25 radius of Little Rock. I am sure some are inaccurate, however I have seen a couple game camera shots near Roland/Nature Steps area that were of a very large cat.

      Take care and thanks for reading.

      Paul Caldwell

  11. Kendahl says:

    I was talking with a friend today about how hes lost 3 calves. One closer to 200lb range. All three was half eaten. From center of back down was gone. All killed in same week and everything went silent. Theres no tracks as it happened in hay field. But if not a cat, what?there was no gashes like a bear. Or tracks. This man is very well respected and credited for what he says he sees. He nvr figured out what killed these calves. Ive hunted everything this state has to offer a season on. And ive personally seen a black panther on rock creek rd in glenwood arkansas. My gpa has the cats prints in his concrete on the shop floor. The cat walked through it before it set up. Another sighting goin down glenwood mtn about 3 yrs later. Black panther. We moved to caddo gap when i was young and behind our house there was an old barn. We heard babys cries and women screaming at night. After we moved in and sme persuasion frm us the cat moved out. Firecrackers work great to run em off. But ive seen that cat perched in pine trees on the mtn behind our house. It is golden brown. In my teens i had one come up the trail behind me while squirrel hunting, nose to the ground. Talk about making u scared staring down a good 150-200 lb cat at 50 yds. Golden brown with long tail. Gorgous. But when they come up behind u, nothings pretty about them. So i knw theyre here. Im 25 and ive seen several. Granted i hunt more than alot of ppl do. I have no evidence on any other than the tracks in gpa shop. But im hear to tell you. They are wild animals. They can be unpredictable. So if you have one in your area make sure to take precautions. They can kill, an easy meal is an easy meal. Most go on there way without ever bothering ppl. But after that one come up behind me im always carrying protection when i go for walk through the woods. Between them and wild hogs. U just never know.

    • Hello:

      Arkansas will eventually have to recognize the Puma, or Mountain lion as reports increase every year, and there is no doubt a breeding population now in the state. With the current Elk population approaching over 1400 animals ranging over the entire Buffalo river drainage, it’s just a natural progression. The more interesting issue is how many sitings of mountain lions have been with a 25 radius of Little Rock. I am sure some are inaccurate, however I have seen a couple game camera shots near Roland/Nature Steps area that were of a very large cat.

      Thanks for taking the time to read.

      Paul Caldwell

      • Diane Mikrut says:

        I saw two mature mountain lions a couple of weeks ago (10/18/13) on the outskirts of Hot Springs, near a row of dumpsters by an empty parking lot abutting some woods. I reported the sighting to AGFC and they said they would look into it since the cats were spotted in an urban setting. I did not get photos, but I had a clear view and identification was unmistakable.

        • Diane:

          If you ever hear back from the G&F, please let me know.

          Thanks for the comment.
          Paul Caldwell

          • Melanie Rounds says:

            I live outside of Pea Ridge AR and see one this morning behind my house. No mistaking it and what a surprise.

  12. James Harrison says:

    I don’t know the specifics of the federal and state wildlife laws but if the Arkansas G&FC officially recognizes a breeding population they will have to use scarce resources (money) to monitor and protect the animals. There are no resident wolves or alligators either. Coyotes and armadillos aren’t protected so it is okay to call them residents.

    • Hello James:

      Actually Arkansas has a very large population of Alligators, which currently are protected as I understand it. They range into the middle of the state and all over the south east corner. Arkansas will eventually have to recognize the Puma, or Mountain lion as reports increase every year, and there is no doubt a breeding population now in the state. With the current Elk population approaching over 1400 animals ranging over the entire Buffalo river drainage, it’s just a natural progression. The more interesting issue is how many sitings of mountain lions have been with a 25 radius of Little Rock. I am sure some are inaccurate, however I have
      seen a couple game camera shots near Roland/Nature Steps area that were of a very large cat.

      Take care and thanks for taking the time to read.

      Paul Caldwell

  13. My uncle lives in Botkinburg, just north of Clinton on Hwy 110. He has seen three different panthers on his property, and one of them is black. This past December, after the snowfall, he witnessed two panthers take down a medium sized buck, kill it, and then drag it into the brush. I don’t think panthers normally hunt together, but these two might be brothers, or maybe sisters. He has seen at least two every year for the past 20 years or more. If you travel Hwy 110 near the Plant Baptist Church area, his property is east of the church with a large rock wall. You just might see one of them at dawn or dusk.
    The main reason the AGFC doesn’t want to admit there is a breeding population in the state, is money. They would be required to spend lots of money on a conservation program for mountain lions, instead of spending that money elsewhere. The all-mighty dollar rules… least until a person is mauled or killed by one of these panthers, but then it will be too late.

    • Hello:

      Thanks for the information. I am still hoping to get some pictures to post along with this information. I agree on the dollar issue, however I do hope that it wont’ come to a tragedy before the Game and Fish starts working on a program. They spend thousands on the Elk, and I realize that the Elk bring in a lot of dollars to Arkansas, but they also bring on predators. I get the most worried working alone in the southwest part of Arkansas, around the Cossatot river where you can get pretty remote quick.

      Thanks for taking the time to read.

      Paul Caldwell

  14. Remonica says:

    Living between Quitman and Heber Springs…along Hwy 25, we have 15 acres. We have two ponds…for the past two weeks I have been finding big cat tracks on the banks of the big pond. The first time it looked to have cub prints with the larger tracks.

    Have taken photos of the tracks with size perspectives and sent them to Arkansas Game and Fish for verification. Haven’t heard anything back from them, yet. But I am confident that they are those of a Mountain Lion. We have Bobcats, too. HUGE size difference in their paw sizes!

    Have found prints fresh after the last two rains! As long as the Big Cats leave me and my critters be…I shall leave them be, too!

    • Hello Remonica:

      I would love to see the prints!. Can you email them to me as I would like to add them to my website and a new post. You can eamil me at The fact that might have a young cougar is most important, as that easily points to a breeding population for sure. I am very familiar with you area as I used to spend a lot of time up there on the Little Red river.

      Thanks for taking the time to write a response. I am surprised the Ark Game and Fish has not responded, but it’s par for the course for them it seems on this issue. I only hope it won’t come to a human tragedy before they act.

      Paul Caldwell

    • It was between 10 to 15 years ago, here on my dads farm in Sharp county ( northeast Arkansas) , my son and I were deer hunting , we were headin back to the house to get something to eat, probably around 9 am, when we heard something behind us, and turned our heads and there was a mountain lion veering out beside us but angling another direction, he was staring at us and us at him. I’d never seen one up close, and it took a minute to decipher what I was looking at. But it was jogging slowly and had plenty o time to realize it was indeed a mountain lion. We were in a half cleared half wooded area. It never made a verbal sound or looked like it was going to attack. It just looked at us as he went his on way. I thought briefly about shooting it, but figured it was illegal. I immediately went home to look up online to look up pictures to verify what I saw, and it was indeed a mountain lion. We live back in the woods not to many miles from the strawberry river.

  15. Michelinda says:

    We live in the country, though there are about 7 families in a 1 mile radius around me. Something has been coming into our back yard and making our chickens evaporate (no feathers – NOTHING). Whatever it is hunts at night so we have been putting them up and closing the door on the coop at night. Last night – just at twilight I walked down quietly to shut the door. There are ducks and geese all over my yard and I was trying not to disturb them since they were bedded for the night. When I got all the way to the chicken coop (maybe 100 – 150 feet from my back door) my little dogs took off out of the house barking (they had not realized I went outside). Maybe 30 feet away in tall grass (about 5 feet tall) SOMETHING of the color of deer or lighter jumped up HIGHER than the grass, twisted in midair and did a hiss/spit noise (two kinds of noises run together). Then it was GONE. We have a lot of deer, but never saw in any that direction and have never seen one move in that way. And clearly something is walking away with entire chickens. Below where I saw the animal is a hollar with a fresh spring coming out of a cave in the side of the mountain. My concern is that we have a mother cat with kits in that area and she is using our yard birds for dinner. But she is dangerously close to my house. Not sure what steps I can take to discourage her visitations and to pursue the many rabbits and not my chickens in my yard. I am also concerned that I have small grandchildren, pets, milk goats etc. We have shot the shot gun off in that area to leave pellets/smell and noise to scare her away (always assuming it is a her – I don’t know). We keep the grass mowed a good 10 feet around the chicken house on three sides and then the entire 6 acres or so we call our yard. I have seen pressed places in the grass under the tree closest to the coop (maybe 20 feet?) and think whatever it is may be using that tree as well. We have found paw prints up behind the chicken coop that appear to be maybe 3 1/2 – 4 inches wide with claws a considerable amount away from the pad marks. Between the size of these prints and the animal I saw, I am assuming it is a very large cat.

    • Hello:

      It sounds like you definitely might have a cat, either a cougar or bobcat. As far as I know, there have been no human attacks yet in Arkansas. About 10 years ago there was quite a bit written about a woman who was killed in the southwest part of Arkansas, but I believe the final outcome was dogs. Hard to believe that, but some people do have some aggressive dogs. Sounds like you are doing the right things with the family. If you get a chance to take some pictures, of the tracks you saw, I would love to get a copy of them to post on the site. If you take them make sure to place something in the shot to show scale. Pictures for any cell phone would work fine.

      Thanks for reading and take care.

      Paul Caldwell

  16. Arleta Power says:

    Last Wednesday 8/7/2013 AM I took my 10# dog out on a leash because my neighbor and I both had seen a bobcat 2 days earlier. My husband and I are paying professional trappers tom catch it and release it into the forests. This required permission from the city of Little Rock.

    But on this particular morning my dog and I walked across our patio to the grassy area on the north side of the house. We turned to go back across the patio. My dog looked up towards the wooded area behind our house. I stood mouth gaped open as a mountain lion and I stared at each other.. I was too shocked to move, which I guess was a good thing. My dog did not bark. A few seconds later the mountain lion turned and walked back into the woods.

    With the bobcat spotting, 2 days earlier, we heard sounds from the next door neighbors back yard. Going to the computer I found a sight for bobcat sounds and then compared them to mountain lion sounds.
    From what I heard I think it was a bobcat we heard and not the mountain lion.
    We live right off Hinson and Dorado Beach Drive. We have set up cameras in the woods and on our patio.
    We watch our pet carefully now. In fact he shows less interest in going outside in the back. I think he senses the danger.
    What do we do now?

    • Hello Arleta:

      The best thing you can do is contact the Game and Fish and let them know about the sighting. Game cameras would also be a good idea especially if you feel this is not a random sighting but instead a possibility of a repeat. I have not heard of a lion this close to the city but I have heard of several sightings around the Roland and Natural Steps area. So far there has not been a “formal” attack by a Mountain lion against a human, and since the deer population in Arkansas is so large there might not be one. I feel that one of the reasons the cats are coming closer to LR is that so many people have deer feeders up and the deer have become almost tame and thus easy prey for cats. Even a Bobcat which could take down a fawn.

      The Game and Fish most likely will only note the call, but it’s still important to let them know.

      Paul Caldwell

  17. Saw a tawny colored mountain line – full profile so there is no doubt as to what it was – along with a second, smaller (cub) on August 10 about 2 miles southwest of Eureka Springs. Others in the area have reported sighting a female and cub and one person reportedly got a picture on their phone-though I haven’t seen it-in the same vicinity as where I saw them. With the abundance of deer and small animals they should thrive around here.

    • I would not doubt that such a sighting was possible. There have been many reports of Mountain lions in this part of Arkansas. If you get the pictures or copies of the pictures that the other person got with their phone, please forward them to me and I will post them.

      Paul Caldwell

  18. Arkansas and in particular the Ozarks have always had a population of big cats regardless of what the A.G.&F. says. I was born and raised here (well over 50 yrs of age) and my ancestors on both sides of my family have been in the Ozarks since before the civil war.
    I have worked both for the state of Arkansas, the U.S. Forest service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doing work in wooded areas near population centers and remote forest areas.

    I grew up with knowledge not only of the normal big cats but the large mysterious black cats as well. Imagine my shock when I was majoring in zoology at the University of Arkansas and was told matter of factly that they didn’t exist.
    Later I changed majors and was doing some survey work in the Huntsville area when I came across a large cave with a dead horses skeleton and fresh Mt. Lion tracks in front of it. I cautiously neared the entrance but stopped when I was met by a lions snarl. Despite my the assurances given to me by my professors that these critters did not exist here I chose to believe my own lying ears and eyes.
    I currently live in Eureka Springs and can shed some further light on the subject of big cats here.
    About 15 months ago a young man of about 21 years of age and I were talking. He was from New Zealand and was attending the University of Tulsa on a track scholarship. He had been out jogging just about dusk the night before just below the crescent hotel when suddenly a large mt. lion sized cat ran across the road near him. Since I was a local he wanted some help understanding what it was because it was solid black!
    That same day I told two other locals about it and I quickly found two other people who had seen such a cat here in the last three years. One even had a photo on their cell phone but had lost the photo when they upgraded their phone.
    Yeah Right!, you say. But here’s the problem. Just like me when I was younger, they had no idea that our experts say these don’t exist here in Arkansas. I was the first one to tell them this. They had no idea their sightings were in any way important.
    Sorry to ramble but I do have a copy of a cell phone photo of the large cat you guys have been asking for. Of course it is very grainy but any one who knows big cats can tell what it is.
    So long from Eureka.

    • Ken,

      Thanks for the detailed information. Hopefully a better solution will come eventually.

      If you get any pictures, please send them on to me, I would like to post them on my site.

      Paul Caldwell

  19. I live in Bella Vista, Arkansas and saw a big black cat on my walk around our circle. I had my cell with me but was so shocked I forgot to take a picture of it. I still can’t believe what I saw.

  20. Craig in Fayetteville says:

    I believe it is plausible for a mountain lion population to be here. I haven’t seen any game camera images to support the claims. Any links out there credited to Arkansas?

    • Craig:

      I have seen 2 images in game cameras, both were near Roland, however neither person would give me the permission to post the shots. The 2nd camera series was pretty interesting as it showed a large buck come by and then about 30 seconds later a large mountain lion came though following the buck. This was by far the most impressive series I have ever seen in Arkansas, but as I mentioned I wasn’t able to get the ability to post any of the stills.


  21. Roger Huber says:

    I recently moved to a remote 20 acre farm in NW Arkansas near Huntsville. About 3 weeks ago I definitely saw a Mountain Lion drinking from my pond on an early evening. Most everyone that I’ve told this to said I was crazy or saw a Bobcat or deer. I know the difference between all these animals and definitely can tell them apart visually. My neighbors said in the 30 years they lived here they have seen them about 2 or 3 times in the past 6 years.

    I have also seen a Bobcat at the pond frequently. My wife and I noticed the day before the Cougar/Mountain Lion showed up our resident herd of deer were noticeably absent and didn’t come back for a few days. They were absent yesterday too so I’m thinking maybe the cat makes a long hunt that brings him around about every 3 weeks or so. Is this possible or normal?

    Whatever position the AG&F wants to take doesn’t bother me as I KNOW there’s at least one in my area and I’m okay with it. I retired and moved here to see & encourage wildlife.

    • Roger:

      Thanks for the info. If you ever get a picture of this cat or any other, please send it to me as I am trying to get a photographic record also.


  22. I am 53 years old. As a child my dad and I were sitting on a screened in porch one night when a mountain lion came up to the screen, sniffed at us and then walked away. We lived northeast of Ozark,AR at that time. Now I live southwest of Paris, AR. This spring I saw 2 mountain lion cubs in a pasture about a mile from our house. A couple of months later my husband and son saw an adult mtn. Lion even closer to our house. They are here folks, just be careful.

    • Toni:

      If you ever get a chance to get any pictures, please send them along. Your report of cubs is a first for me. I spend a lot of time on Magazine, not far from Paris so I know the area well. Thanks for posting the information.


  23. A friend that lived in the Western Hill area of LR kept hearing on cry at night and the dogs were going wild. She spent some time living in the CO mountains and knew one when she heard it. She called Game and Fish and asked what it really was. Man there told her a mountain lion. SHE said that THEY said there were none. He said there was a difference in G&G acknowledging a population of mountain lions and having a stray on here and there. Her house was on a creek that would give good cover to wild animals.

    • Bern:

      Thanks for the information. From others and yours I have had posts from across Arkansas, enough sightings that it’s pretty clear the the Mountain lion has come back to Arkansas and has a breeding population. I have not ever heard one at night when I am out work the night skies, but not sure I want to either.


  24. Roger Ware says:

    My Dad spotted a cougar this morning crossing Ware’s Chapel Road around 1030 hours near Emerson, Arkansas. Tan in color, two and half foot at the shoulder, skinny with a long tail carried low to the ground behind it. Saw it about 70 yards away going into the woods on a deer game trail.

    Roger Ware
    Oct. 2nd, 2013

    • Roger:

      Thanks for the info and post. If you ever get a photo, either a game camera or other type please send it on to me so I can post. This time of year the sightings do seem to increase.


  25. Ron Duncan says:

    The elk population is only about 600 as of 2012. Last year’s count was the highest ever. I do not know where you got your number at, but I’m sorry, it is incorrect.

    • If you are basing your info on a Game and Fish “count” then I we can agree to disagree. I base my information on working in the fields with the Elk as a photographer for the past 4 years, not just during the rut. I have worked the entire river all the way down to Gene Rush and the Boxley herd is now probably closer to 350 to 400 total animals. I feel the official count is a political number just like the fact that he Game and Fish feel Arkansas doesn’t have a breeding population of Mountain lions. I have also worked closely with 2 photographers, that have documented the elk herd in the state for the past 12 years and I personally would take their count at closer to 900 to 1000 than what the Game and Fish wants people to believe. The animals that are “seen” along the Highway are just a small part of the total population. In the new Game and Fish wildlife management area near Richland creek, last fall while sitting on the narrows we counted over 100 elk in there in two separate fields.

      I will not state officially you are incorrect as you did for my post, however everyone has the right to believe what they want. Thanks for taking the time to post your opinion.

      Paul Caldwell

  26. Gary Treece says:

    I some how I found this site and the posts about Mountain Lions in Arkansas. I just recently posted a link on my Facebook page of a mountain lion that was caught on the dash camera of a police officer in Mt. View. It was carried on the TV stations in northeast Arkansas, but not in Little Rock. It is on somewhere. The AGFC are now saying that we do have them in the state.

    • Thanks for the info. The AGFC have never disagreed on the fact Arkansas has them, but they won’t confirm a breeding population. Based on the number of people that have read this single post, and the comments I have gotten over the years, I feel strongly that the numbers of lions in the state are enough that they all didn’t come from people owning them and then releasing them to the wilds.

      I have yet to see one or hear one at night, but people have seen them very close to Little Rock, in the Natural Steps and Roland area.

      Paul Caldwell

      • I’m late to the party but we have at least one on our farm in Northwest Arkansas not far from the University of Arkansas. My brother saw one a couple of weeks back and I saw one on Wednesday. Back 15 years ago or so my brother and I saw one at our creek not 6 feet away from us. And tonight our dogs were barking very loudly for a good hour but wouldn’t let me outside to see what was going on. And from my window I heard whistling. I will look for tracks in the morning.

  27. Jed Lamberth says:

    Last night a mountain lion was captured on a game cam in northeast Arkansas near lake frierson state park. The rumor of black panthers has been going around for as long as I can remember but this is the first large cat pic I have seen. This is a golden color animal with a very large tail. Tried to post the pic but couldn’t get it to aware that they are out there, regardless of what the experts say!

  28. I was hikiing Sunset trail in Hot Springs over the weekend and found what I believe to be fresh mountain lion scat in the middle of the trail. Didn’t see it, but it sure freaked me out since there are no signs posted anywhere to beware

    • Susan:

      Hot Springs has been an area where many sightings have been reported. If you ever get some pictures, of either tracks or a cat, please forward them to me.

      Paul Caldwell

  29. Elizabeth Chapman says:

    Dear Sir:
    I am 68 years old and was born and raised in Arkansas, Wynne, about 45 miles from Memphis.
    My Daddy and Mother and I had gone to visit my Aunt, on a gravel road
    off Highway 64. It was mid afternoon and weather was clear. I was around
    8 years old, but sitting on Mother’s lap. (Always have been tiny).
    I happened to look out of the passenger side window of the truck and yelled, “Momma, look at the dog with the long tail!” She looked, and
    very calmly answered”Dear, that’s no dog. It’s a Mountain Lion.” It was
    pacing the truck! Just off the road in the grass. It was beautiful! A golden
    color, with a very long tail. And it was BIG. I am very pleased to have run
    across your site, because ever since I saw the cougar, I could only tell
    my friends, who did not believe me. But I know what I saw! Thank you
    for the site and good luck getting some pictures.

    • Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the comments, hopefully the process with the Arkansas Game and Fish will improve.

      Paul Caldwell

  30. In the late 80’s I was deer hunting on Ft Chaffee and heard a loud scream like a woman, scared the living day lights out of me. When telling what I heard, I was told that it was a Mtn lion. Also had a friend that lived on Lee Creek just north of Van Buren, he swears that he saw a mtn lion when he was deer hunting his property. That was in the late 90’s.

  31. Marla Gregory says:

    Last week our neighbor had a goat killed and partially eaten. Their son told us there were large cat prints around the dead goat. The same night my husband went outside because our horse was running around the pasture….which is something he usually doesn’t do. My son said his friend caught a picture of a large cat on his game cam around the Poyen area (about 4 miles from us). It does not look like a bobcat really… But is a little fuzzy and definitely bigger than any bobcat I have seen. So…we are watching and listening!

  32. Joyce Williams says:

    We live outside of Pine Bluff between PB and Woodlawn. Recently most of the neighbors’ outside cats have gone missing. My daughter has heard what we believe is a cougar. She has even seen it in the woods behind her house at night. We have a creek that runs behind our house and a small lake that is mostly drained, due to damage to the levee by beavers. We have called Game and Fish but they seem unconcerned. My daughter walked through the woods behind the lake and found numerous prints we believe to be cougar along with bear and hog prints. I have personally seen the bear in our yard a few years back and have heard the hog. My daughter took pictures of the prints and put her hand and foot beside them so that you can tell how large they are. I have asked her to email you pictures of the prints for identification. I love wildlife and watching deer but am a little concerned about these other wild animals as I have 3 young grandchildren. My neighbor is an outdoorsman and insists there are no cougars or panthers in this area. Hoping you can identify the prints for us. Thanks

  33. The only fact I know for sure is that there is no such thing as a black phase of a mountain lion. Check it out yourself. So all these people claiming to have seen a black panther I have to ask how is that even possible. They simply don’t exsist. That’s a fact.

    • Kirk:

      I agree, as all the facts I have read state that only jaguars or leopards can have a melanistic or black phase. From what I have read, no mountain lion (cougar) has been found in a melanistic phase.

      What is more interesting to me is I have spoken to 3 different people, one a hunter and the other 2 very respected outdoor photographers, and all have claimed to see a large black cat, one reporting this around west Little Rock Arkansas. This makes me thing that a jaguar may have also come into the state as I don’t think leopards are in North or South America.

      Just last week a 160 Mountain lion was killed by a Elk hunter with a crossbow. This cat made the paper.

      I still feel that Arkansas has some form of a breeding population of mountain lions, but I can’t figure out if there are also jaguars (in the black phase) also in the state.

  34. Johnny Mullens says:

    I had an encounter with a mountain lion yesterday just after sunset. I was checking my land for trespassers when I walked across an opening and saw a lion looking at me. I was about 125 yards from the lion in an opening. I had a gun and air horn with me. I looked at the lion and it walked off toward a creek. I realize that lion had been watching me because I had walked along a creek and then walked around the edge of the field where the lion was.

    I remained calm because I had read that mountain lions attack what they consider prey. I had to make myself not be like prey. The lion was huge. It was close to five feet from nose to tail. I read that the reason lions attack runners if that they sense the runners as prey running from them. I also had read to make myself as tall as possible, which fortunately, I did not need to try. The safest thing is to keep my distance. I am curious how lions interact with hogs since our area has many wild hogs sighting, especially at night.

  35. A mountain lion was hit along Hwy 234 in Wilton, AR (Little River County) by a woman late one night last month. An AR state trooper was on scene when a local stopped to check it out the mountain lion was trapped in the wreckage and still alive standing on it’s front legs. The trooper was waiting on a game warden to handle to situation. However the incident wasn’t released to the media to prevent panic etc.

  36. I grew up in the between Yosemite and Lake tohoe Ca. California has the largest wild cougar population in the U.S. about 20,000 + I believe . In all my 25 years living there in high mountains and mountain lion country I only seen one. If you ask 20 of my friends if they have ever seen a mountain lion in the wild and one may say yes. I’m telling you where I grew up is huge mountain lion country. They shut schools down often becuase of them going on school grounds. With that said there are about 3000 bear now in Arkansas and not many people see them but hunters a a few others. You ask 20 People in Arkansas if they have seen a bear and 3 or 3 may say yes and bear do excist here in Arkansas. Now lets say there are 500 mountain lions in Arkansas and that’s adding 480 more then there is but just raising the numbers to be a little fair. Now ask 20 of your friends if they have seen a mountain lion and 15 at least would say they have and half will say they were black panthers that without a shadow of a doubt only live in South America . With all that said I do believe its possible for there to be a small number. But find it odd that half the states population has seen one. They are shy sneaky preditors that survive by not being seen . I don’t buy into the therory that the AGAF is in denial because they don’t want to do more research or paperwork or that it would cost to much to reconise there population . That’s rediculous, they would if anything get more funding. I’m not looking to argue this just really think about it and be honest with your self

  37. My story starts 3 years ago when a mountain lion attacked one of my horses in the barn. Called G&F but they said there are no mountain lions in Arkansas. The next year it took down 2 of my goats, called G&F again and again they said no mountain lions in Arkansas. This year I have been finding dead deer about 2 a week half eaten all over my property. Was riding on 4 wheeler going up to my pond and about 50 yards ran out in front of me was a 6pt. buck then a mountain lion right on its heels. Called G&F again. Had all kinds of proof for them to see but they came after a few days of rain so all the scat and prints by the pond was gone and 2 of deer were gone.Someone did come out this time said the were going to set up game cam in the area to see if they could get pictures then maybe set up some traps. That was 3 weeks ago haven’t seen or heard from them since. They did tell me if I see again get a picture, sorry I laughed, cause if I see it again I’ll shoot it. I will not let it take down anymore livestock and I have a bunch of new babies. This is my livelihood we’re talking about. Now its hunting season and not only do I have to keep an eye for the mountain lion but trespassing hunters as well.

  38. I live between Centerton and Gravette and I would say that in about the past 3 years there have been three sightings of a large black “panther like” cat coming through the area. Most recent was a couple weeks ago. It makes me a little nervous considering I do have goats and horses and chickens in my yard that might look like an easy meal for a hungry cat. Hopefully the deer in the area are more appealing.

  39. I have heard about black panther sighting in NWA and Eastern Oklahoma for years but have never seen one. However my wife saw one this morning in the ravine behind our house in Bella Vista. She says it was much too large to be a house cat or anything else. It had a very long tail and moved very stealthily. There are a lot of deer around our house all the time so it does not seem entirely unlikely that a large predator would be in the area. It is still shocking that these animals are spotted in populated areas this often. I did not get to the patio door in time to see it but we are keeping an eye out and I will take a picture and post it if possible. I am convinced that these animals do exist in Northwest Arkansas and it is only a matter of time before this is confirmed.

  40. My very honest pastor knows a man who was once an arkansas game and fish officer. The officer told him, in confidence, that arkansas game and fish knows that there is a population of mountain lions in arkansas. He told my pastor that the state does not want to have to deal with the consequences that might arise due to the fact that mountain lions are nationally protected. That is to say, he seemed to admit that they were lying. This is of course just word of mouth, but my pastor and his friend are very honest people.

  41. There was a mountain lion attack in Leslie, Arkansas in 2003. Ann Cox was attacked and her parent felt it was covered up. I believe it was in 2003. In the Chimes area of Leslie. Officials said wild dogs killed her. There had been a Mtn Lion sighting in the area before the attack and she was covered up with leaves and branches after killed. Very tragic. You can google it. I come from So California where we have had several attacks. Possible attacks are very real. They should not be covered up. People should be educated about this.

    We are getting several Game Camera pictures, good clear pictures here in Stone County, AR of several different Mountain Lions. One very large one about 100 yards behind my house in area called Hell Creek, another one near the Bike Trail and Calico in Izard County. These pictures come from Reliable people. I remember when California did not believe there was a breeding population in the Santa Rosa Plateau and they were in for a big surprise.

    @Seth, I do believe they are in denial here and I have asked many times about this in my 20 years here in Arkansas. I have been told different reasons. I have been told it will hurt tourism and mainly will hurt the timbering business here. It does not make senses and is very strange. Arkansas is not California. It is a different world here. Problems are handled on a local level.

    I lived in So Tahoe in the 70’s and never saw a big cat there but knew they were there.. I hiked the Fallen Leaf area and Desolation Valley quite a bit with a permit. Never saw a big cat and never saw a bear. Was told in 1971 the Bears were hunted out. My last visit there bear all over and almost at a nuisance level. So populations do change.

  42. @ Seth–oh ye of little faith 🙂

    Each of my two brothers in southern Missouri has seen a mountain lion in his back yard. (These locations were in Rolla and in Springfield, about 100 miles apart–not the same cat) Also, I live in Searcy, and have seen personally a photo from a wildlife camera set up less than a mile from town of a mtn. lion, not a bobcat–no mistaking it. Additionally, the Rolla brother found a deer carcass in a tree at the bottom of the hill on his property (remote acreage that ends at a lake). Unless the deer committed suicide by jumping into the tree, I would guess a lion dragged him up there. No bobact did. The Springfield brother drove into his driveway and the cat was laying sunning himself up against the garage. Brother watched him for five minutes, actually ran the car up to him to try to get him to move, but he didn’t. Bro wouldn’t get out of the car, and the cat eventually got up and walked off. This happened about two days after his neighbor had told him she had seen it, too. Both of these locations are within 2 miles of city neighborhoods. Each of the cats had a tail that was over two feet long. These guys are lifelong outdoorsmen, and know what they saw. Springfield bro called the Mo Wildlife Dept. to report the sighting (as did his neighbor), and the Dept. told them they had seen a bobcat, and that no mtn. lions live in MO. Apparently, the same story Ark dept. was giving, and probably the same reason.

    I think there are probably enough wild areas in Arkansas with enough people living in the wild areas, maybe unlike Yosemite valley, where the population may be a little more spread out, that it could explain the difference in sightings. Also, cats move a lot, are not as reclusive as bears, and follow deer, which are at nuisance levels, so I don’t have any doubt that there are more sightings. Especially after hearing Springfield Bro’s description of how the cat seemed accustomed to humans, and not skittish.

  43. Johnathon says:

    They have been around since before the 50’s. My grandpa shot one on our family land in 62. My dad has seen them since he could remember. And Ive seen and heard them. We are from Arkadelphia area by Degray Lake.

  44. I have several 3-Mpixel pictures (iPhone) of a cougar-sized tawny cat from about 80 to 100 ft in Hempstead County. Do you have the ability to enhance them enough for some detail? It had a striped tail, very long, and a dramatic white bib. Wasn’t afraid of us at that distance — cautious, but not afraid.

    If nothing else, the pictures show the size of the cat.

    It was here April 11 and April 18, 2014.

  45. Backpackers says:

    Yesterday, we were backpacking up the Athens-Big Fork trail. We pitched a tent at Eagle Rock Vista, a scenic point-of-interest and campground. At about midnight, we were out by the fire and began hearing brusheling in the bushes. We immediately grabbed a light and began surveying the area to spot any glowing eyes. We saw a very large tan colored cat staring back at us. Its head and eyes were definitely larger than a human’s. We began clapping and screaming and the cat ran off into the distance. Luckily, we had brought a small handgun with us in case of such an emergency. We grabbed the gun and proceed to sit back by the fire again. About 10 mins later, we hear brusheling in the bushes behind us once again. We grabbed the light and right before our eyes less than 20 feet away, the big cat was staring at us waiting to pounce. My boyfriend grabbed the gun and shot in its direction. The cat ran and we didn’t see it the rest of the night. Please heed our warnings and if you are deciding to camp over night, make sure you have ample protection and know your area. Make sure to bring flashlights and look in the flashlight’s glare for eyes. They are the only dead give away which might save your life.

  46. Mary Ann Hodges says:

    I live just south of Little Rock, and there are big cats in Pulaski County. I should have set my camera up., but I will today. At first I thought it was a big skinny dog., but now I know better. It did not run away like a dog. So, I was pretty sure of what I saw, but everyone said there were not any mountain lions in the area.. Maybe he/she was just traveling through but I don’t think so.

  47. However they are still trying to fall back on the issue that these sighting are “captive cats” that somehow got away from their owners and not part of a “breeding” population.????? because captive animals dont have sex lmao…..also there is another predator capible of killing elk ….I have found 18 inch human looking tracks in the ouichata mountains ,taken 7 casts, had rocks thrown at me, heard whoops and howls……. I have seen puma tracks as well….

    • There’s been sightings in Searcy County like that that made the 18″ track you found. A family of them lives in some caves in the area. We also have both the mountain lions/cougars and black panthers in the area.

  48. I lived at Shirley, AR when I was young and I saw a big tan cat in a tree and when it climbed down there was no doubt it was a mountain lion. That was in the early 1970’s

  49. Kelle Wats says:

    I’m originally from Cabot, Ar. In 1978 my mom and dad built a house right off of Hwy 5 in Mountain Springs, about a quarter of a mile from Mt Springs Baptist Church. When they built the house, the area was all woods and a road actually had to be cut into the woods to do the construction. We often heard panthers in the woods screaming at night and numerous members of my family witnessed black panthers in the woods around the house. I was not allowed to go into the woods by myself because of the large cats. They can deny it all they want to, but folks in the rural areas of Arkansas know they’re there.

  50. In the spring of 1983 I along with another person witnessed a big cat carrying a kitten across a hay field. The farm also lost several calves during this time. Just a few years ago my son saw one run across a highway very near to him and a frind who was with him. During this same time frame a big cat was was hit and killed by a car 5 miles from this location. An Arkansas game warden who lived on this same road came and removed it. Since then i am aware of at least 8 other sightings two of which were by a preacher and his family members. All of these sightings were in Lawrence county. I don’t just believe there is a breeding population in Arkansas, I know there is!

  51. Driving from Shirley to Greenbrier one night in April 2006, I saw a large Mt. Lion off the road stopped at a fence post by a farm just south of South Side (Bee Branch) . At first my brain tried to convince me that it was just a large dog. But that was no dog! , within just a few seconds I whipped the truck around to go back for a second look-see. But no luck. I kept it to myself until a few months later there were rumors that some farmers found mauled eaten calf corpses in their pastures. Too much of a coincidence.
    Later that summer, I was awakened after midnight to a high shrill growl which…..a….well, it made my neck hair stand straight. My place is on Burnt Ridge walking distance to Sills Penninsula. Next day Neighbors who also heard it claimed it was a cougar.

  52. P.S. Choctaw Canyon is reported to host numerous natural caves for a Mt. Lion population that has long since been common knowledge to local Choctaw, Ark residents.

  53. James Carter says:

    I am appalled that Arkansas Game And Fish Commission never has visited Jackson County around Swifton and Tuckerman along Villiage Creek because there have been black panthers there all my life, in the 70s They Were In An Abundance There And Could Be Seen Quite Often. Recent Sightings By The Arkansas State Police (while giving a driving test) in Newport is proof that they are rather large also.All it takes to know they are around is to drive out behind Swifton beside Villiage Creek at night and hear their distinctive cry.

  54. December 19th , 2015. – we were headed to our Sunday school Christmas party just northeast of Alma Arkansas . My wife spotted a very large black cat with green eye shine . She said it stood taller than our golden retriever on the left side of the road in some very tall grass and brush. She identified it as a black panther from pictures online. Never realized they had been spotted in Arkansas until this occurred but research revealed that many people had seen them in our state. Wow !!!!

  55. AR Backpacker says:

    On the Ouachita trail at exactly mile 182.5 there is a backpacker’s shelter called Brown Creek Shelter. Two of us were staying in the shelter and had fallen asleep. Right at midnight we were woken up by a horrible screaming coming from just behind the shelter. We instantly suspected a big cat because of how it was screaming. My friend immediately fired 3 rounds into the air as warning shots to attempt drive the cat away. Instead of the cat leaving it screamed again which we interpreted as a challenge and that it was not going to give ground easily. We then waited inside the shelter, armed with a 9mm pistol and a 22 survival rifle. After a while the cat began to move and we could see it was starting to circle the campsite. Thankfully it did not come any closer and eventually left. Shortly after that a big thunderstorm moved into the area. My theory is that the cougar wanted to use that shelter to get out of the storm and was not happy when it found us there. Stay alert in the woods.

  56. Stewart says:

    We have a very large dark color cat in the Wye Ar area. Last night as my wife walked our dog the thing was maybe 20 feet a way. We are not sure what kinda of large predator cat this is, but in the last few months dogs have been disappearing. If anyone would like to come out here and set up cameras or hunt it down please contact me. The Neighbors have small children who play outside and I fear something bad might happen.