Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Massachusetts Mountain Lions and Quabbin Gray Wolves: Putting the "Fur" in Furtive

Grave's Landing, Quabbin
(This is a copy and paste of a comment I left back in 2008 on the Outdoors Forum on Masslive.com. With recent talk of restoring the gray wolf population in New England, I thought it worth reviving.)

Mountain lion evidence was found in Pelham, Mass., in the spring of 1997 by professional tracker John McCarter. DNA testing of  droppings left behind proved conclusively that a mountain lion had been in the area.

http://www.easterncougarnet.org/northeast-desc/4-97.htm

http://www.easterncougarnet.org/northeast.html

Mass Wildlife had a press release from around that time confirming the McCarter find, but speculating that the mountain lion had been a captive released into the wild and not a native. With the reworking of the Mass Wildlife web site, the press release is now unavailable from the bookmark I had saved. I tried a search of the site, but so far have come up empty. From now on, I copy and paste stuff I don't want to lose to cyberspace!

Along with the McCarter find, I have heard firsthand two reliable accounts of mountain lion sightings in the same area of the west side of the Quabbin Reservoir. These sightings were not related to me by city folks out for a weekend jaunt, but by loggers who have spent their lives in the forests of New England. What struck both of these men was the way the animal they saw moved, unlike any animal they had seen before. In one of the accounts, the lion cleared the forest road with one leap from snowbank to snowbank.

According to the logger who witnessed the leaping animal, the next time he ran into an environmental officer while he was out logging his plot at Quabbin, he told him about the cat. The officer supposedly confided in the logger (who he had known for quite awhile through their Quabbin connection) that mountain lions had indeed made the area home, at least temporarily, if not permanently.

Apparently, in the winter, to help the resident eagle population out, the good folks at the Quabbin (and they do an awesome job) will sometimes put a fresh-killed deer on the ice for the birds' dining enjoyment. This particular officer claimed to have witnessed mountain lions feeding on these carcasses, as well.

I relate this second-hand, so it is subject to scrutiny and certainly unofficial in every sense of the word, to be sure. I've been interested in the question of whether mountain lions are among us here in Western Massachusetts for quite awhile now, but for now, history records 1858 as the year the last Massachusetts mountain lion was killed. Officially, there are no resident mountain lions in Massachusetts.

Of course, that's what the experts said about the gray wolf, too. And they were wrong:

http://www.recorder.com/story.cfm?id_no=4900943

With the presence of the gray wolf in Western Massachusetts confirmed, I feel less wacky sharing this experience my wife and I had almost ten years ago now.

We were hiking Quabbin's Gate 40, passing Dana Common and heading the two miles further out along Skinner Hill Rd. to the spot on the eastern shoreline known as Grave's Landing. Making our way around dead man's curve and down the slippery and steep hill beyond, we shed the walls of the forest for the wide-open expanse of the reservoir. It was a cold day in late winter, and the Quabbin was still plenty iced-in, with no hint of spring's approach.

Our attention was quickly drawn to the circling eagles above a deer carcass on the ice. Blood trails on the ice told the story of the young deer's final minutes. This was no ranger-kill, but a natural death. A death by predator.

My wife, Roma, and I hunkered down to watch the bald eagle buffet from the vantage point of the little peninsula just at the end of the road. We were about 100 yards away from the carcass, hoping to see our first Quabbin bear. I know, bears are dangerous, but remember, you only have to outrun the person you're with.

What we did see was even more amazing as far as we were concerned, although we've told very few people about our experience, for reasons pretty obvious to any skeptical Western Massachusetts outdoors-person.

Creeping slowly and warily out of the woods, a canine about one-and-a-half to one-and-three quarters the size of a large German Shepherd made its way down the snowy bank and onto the ice, stopping about ten feet from the deer, scouting for danger. Moments later, a second canine emerged from the woods, walking slowly past the first and to the carcass. After a glance around, the second animal began to feed, while the first waited patiently surveying the area, undoubtedly standing - or sitting in this case - guard. The markings, shapes and sizes of these two Quabbin creatures left no doubt in my mind of what we were looking at. Even more compelling was the instinctive, primordial sense that flooded my cranium, causing my adrenalin to surge and my hair to stand on end. My immediate and involuntary reaction upon the initial sighting was to whisper to my wife with a mixture of fear and awe, "Wolf!"

Indeed, it is possible to be both very pleased and scared silly at the same time.

The animals relaxed, the wind blowing in our favor. For about twenty minutes they took advantage of the free meal. Then again, maybe it was their kill. Looking at the healthy, strong and formidable creatures through binoculars, it didn't take a far stretch of the imagination picturing the scene.

By placing ourselves on a somewhat barren point of raised land jutting out into the frozen water, we had no choice but to lay low and wait for the animals to finish dining, hoping that they didn't head our way when they were done. Any attempt to remove ourselves from the tricky situation at that point involved the good possibility of drawing the (unwanted) attention of the two canines. I'm not so smart sometimes. With two sharp-toothed predators in play, outrunning my partner probably wouldn't cut it.

Okay, where are the photographs you ask? I must have taken pictures. Well, yes. I did. But unfortunately, being poor back then - funny how some things never change - my camera at the time was a cheap 110, and the photo quality is very poor. I also have photos of Scotland's Nessie. Just kidding.

I'll dig the photos up and scan them into my computer and post a link here when I get the chance.

When the two animals (notice I am still reluctant to call them wolves) had eaten their fill, they trotted off across the ice, heading southwest towards the ghosts of Greenwich. We feel privileged to this day to have spent part of that chilly morning with two such beautiful and regal creatures. Their shared bond was evident. Watching out for each other. Taking turns at the feast. Continuing their journey through the cold wilderness together when they are finished.

Some memories are worth dragging out for a look-see every once in awhile.

Mountain lions? Maybe. Gray wolves. Yep.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

For more on Quabbin, check out 'The Quabbin Page' or 'The Quabbin Chronology: A Timeline of the Swift River Valley,' both found exclusively at EWM!

Update - June 13, 2011: A 140-pound mountain lion was hit and killed by a vehicle in Milford, Ct. on Saturday, June 11, 2011. Here is a link to the Reuters article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/13/us-mountainlion-killed-idUSTRE75B1JE20110613.

Update - July 27, 2011: Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty says the Milford, CT, mountain lion hailed from South Dakota, traversing upwards of 1,500 miles over a period of years as tracked by its DNA. Here is a link to the amazing story at the Middletown Press: http://www.middletownpress.com/articles/2011/07/26/news/doc4e2f1341de52f489437623.txt?viewmode=fullstory

The New York Times also has an article on the far-flung feline: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/27/nyregion/wild-cougar-traveled-east-1500-miles-tests-find.html?_r=1&smid=tw-nytimes&seid=auto




Home|Welcome|Table of Contents|Explore|Upcoming Events|Patrons|Marketplace|Contact|Privacy


105 comments:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely there are Mountain lions in Ma! I saw one nearly two years ago, but didn't know who to tell. It came up a banking from the right side of the road, approximately 20 yards in from of my car, and with one long leap, he was on the other side of the road, and into the woods. He was massive, muscular, and my jaw just dropped, and I had only wished I could have seen more. No doubt that it was the Mountain lion. No doubt. I know the difference between bob cats, and such. This was a rural road in the Leeds area of Northampton, Williamsburg border.

Don said...

My wife and I watched a mountain lion move out of the woods behind our house in Sunderland, cross the street and head back into the woods. We were only about 15 feet from the cat. We looked up mountain lions on Google images just to confirm what we saw, and the images there confirmed what we just watched.

Mark T. Alamed said...

Thanks for sharing your personal accounts of your encounters with mountain lions. I have a feeling there are a lot more folks out there who have seen them, but might be reluctant to come forward.

A Google search with the terms: mountain lion in mass., does reveal quite a few news articles of sightings over the years though, with some even close to Boston.

It's nice that they are elusive and free, as nature intended.

HighWolf said...

Hey all, my brother and I were in Becket, MA this wknd enjoying a walk on our 56 acres of undeveloped property. My brother and I noticed a hole the size of a beachball partially covered w/ a slate rock. "Looks like a cat cave" I suggested to my brother who responded "yeah, lets keep walking". 5 minutes later my brother quietly points to two large tan/greyish cats or wolves 50-70lbs a piece and near 20" in height. At around 50 yards away we stared for a moment, gathered ourselves and continued our walk. Changed the dynamic of the entire wknd.

Regards,

Ben

Mark T. Alamed said...

Ben,

Sounds like an interesting walk in the woods!

Mark

HighWolf said...

Mark, your prior comment "I have a feeling there are a lot more folks out there who have seen them, but might be reluctant to come forward." motivated me to share my story. Like most of us who enjoy the outdoors I spend a lot of time walking in the woods. To have had this opportunity was special. And while I'm not sure of exactly the animal my brother and I saw because we were in the forest and about 50 yards away, we both came away w/ the same description of the animal. As an outdoor enthusiast, this was a real treat.

Sterling Resident said...

My sister in law and her boyfriend reported seeing a mountain lion on our block in Sterling, MA last Friday evening at 2 a.m. on their way to my house. I have no reason to doubt them as we had a mountain lion visit our yard midday on Thanksgiving ten years ago.

And I am confident that I can identify a mountain lion from other cats. Growing up, one of my best friends had a mountain lion trophy (that her dad had bow hunted) mounted on their mantel. It was a 'feat of bravery' to put your hand in its mouth :)

HighWolf said...

I picked up bear spray yesterday as I'll be back in Becket on labor day wknd and thought I shld be better prepared. I had always maintained the naive perspective that a walk in the woods was like walking in my backyard - always really comfortable w/ the cares to the rest of the world left behind. Along w/ the beauty of the outdoors, leaving the world behind has always been one of the reasons for taking the paths less traveled. I guess nothing has changed, just some additional company that has a rightful place to share that space and deserves to be there as much as I do.

How much fun is labor Day wknd gonna be. Mount Snow Brewers Festival on Sat, golf @ Cranwell in Lenox on Sunday and camping out in Becket. Thank god for my beautiful wife and two children who let their daddy do his thing.

Cheers -

Anonymous said...

Hi All, I witnessed a mountain lion in my backyard in Saugus MA, which is close to Breakheart Reservation. Around 11pm, 9/7 and I heard the wierdest sounds for over 5 mins. It was definetly a first as I've heard many animal sounds and none were like this. They were somewhat Chimpanzeeish-like sounds, but not completely and coming from the same spot. I then turned on the rear flood lights and could hear it walking slowly behind the holly shrubs as it hit the brush. Finally, I saw a very golden somewhat muscular maybe 80-90lbs (very approximate) animal and it was walking with a deliberate, slight crouch. I knew it wasn't a fox or coyote as I see those all the time and not a dog either. I was stunned and Mountain Lion didn't cross my mind at first. Talked with family members and they were like 'its a Mountain Lion'. Finally found an image of one online in the very same stance and realized i've just witnessed my first Mountain Lion.

Mark T. Alamed said...

This is turning into a pretty interesting comment thread! Thanks for sharing your mountain lion sightings, everyone!

HighWolf said...

I agree Mark - Thank you for getting this forum rockin'. I check-in once a week.

Good ole' Saugus, MA. I use to mountain bike over there in the early 90's (i'm getting so old).

This wknd I'm taking my daughtor Bella camping at Emerald Lake State Park in E. Dorset, VT.

It'll be her first camping endeavor - however I know she's really going for the same reasons I enjoy late summer camping - the apple cider donuts, pumpkin icecream and corn mazes.

No animal sightings lately - while a bit boring, I'm not certain that's a bad thing either.

Thanks for reading - take care.

Harvey S said...

My wife and I saw a mountain lion in mid August of this year at Dean Pond in the Brimfield Mass State Forest. It came out from behind some rushes at the edge of a beaver pond and ambled off . This was be a mid size animal as we estimate the tail and the body to be about 30" each. When we got home I looked up pictues of mountain lions and my reaction was "Bingo". The color and features matched exactly. A kind of tawny light brown color. We both grew up on farms and know animals and this was a mountain lion! Harvey S.

Anonymous said...

YES there are mountain lions in the state of mass. My cousin was an avid deer hunter visiting the berkshires yearly. When he visited the local land owner to confirm his annual pemission to hunt his land, the landowner showed him a photograph of a mountain lion that he had taken in the field by his home. The landowner had reported the incident and showed multiple photos to local fish and game officers. The F+G officers asked him not to spread the word of what he had seen and admitted to him that it was most likely a cat that had been released in the area. This happened more than a decade ago.

Anonymous said...

was at a meeting of natural resource professionals at UMass-Amherst recently and spoke with a resident of Hatfield who said she saw a wolf on the CT riverbanks a few years ago. Said she spoke to someone from 'wildlife' about it and they admitted to hearing about it from others but weren't publicly recognizing it as a resident species, yet.

Thanks for the interesting discussion. I was in Kilgore, Idaho about 5 years ago hearing people say that the only good wolf was a dead one. I guess I can see why the 'wildlife' guy was so hush-hush to her.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend's family lives right near the Quabbin. It is a beautiful area. I love visiting. The whole family has witnessed mountain lions sightings in the area since the 1970's. The first sighting began with his father, he was hiking in the Quabbin when he saw a mountain lion leap across the same path he was on then disappear in the woods. My boyfriend's mother saw a mountain lion on several occaisons about 10 years ago. She would see the animal running through her front yard and literally hang around the farm across the street.
Years went by and she never saw the cats again. Then out of the blue the last time I visited she told me that yesterday morning, on Decemeber 17, 2010 she saw a mountain lion! She was working at her computer when she noticed through her window a "deer" running. She called out to her husband, "come look at the funny looking deer run in the field." As the mountain lion ran closer she said that was NO deer. She saw a mountain lion, golden and with a long tail. Her aunt next door also saw a cat that day hanging around their barn full of horses. And early that same morning a women on the way to work witnessed a mountain lion leap in front of her car in the morning.

I would do anything to see a mountain lion. We drive around the Quabbin and hike around it too. I always have my camera ready when I am there. Some day I will see one.

Anonymous said...

Great comment thread! I just want to report a mountain lion sighting in Hubbardston on Dec. 31st. I didn't see it, but a neighbor allegedly did. Williamsville Road, near the Country Hen egg farm.

Anonymous said...

I and my wife saw a mountain lion cross right in front of our car last night 1/17/11 on Bay RD in Hadley MA.This cat was about 60 to 70 lbs with a very long tail. This was clearly a very large cat!!

Anonymous said...

three of us were driving back from Hardwick last night and saw a mountain lion cross the road, run a bit and leap up and over a stone wall. this was no bobcat- three foot tail- We checked out the tracks in the snow and they absolutely match the tracks of a mountain lion. amazing

Anonymous said...

I live in Templeton and commute to North Brookfield. A wonderful picturisque commute by the way. I saw a wolf this morning on Root Road in Hubbardston. I have seen many coyote and fox but this is the first wolf. It was larger than a shepherd and ran accross the road in an open field showing no interest whatsoever in my crossing its path. I stopped to watch it but the animal was definitely on a mission to get back into the woods and continued to run. My next door neighbor (relative term - she is 1/2 miles away)has horses and she claims to have seen mountain lions on her rides through the woods of Templeton/Hubbardston. She also claims to have been visited by bears.

djodonoghue said...

Driving home from a visit in Vermont about 5 years ago I witnessed a mountain lion walking across Route 91, a few miles into MA. I think I was in/near Northfield or Bernardston. I was floored, as it was 2am and was the only one on the road in either direction. It was about 25 feet in front of my car in the road and I watched as it sauntered off into the field of a farm. Thanks for all the great sighting stories

Mark T. Alamed said...

Here's a link to an interesting article by George Barnes published in the Feb. 2, 2011, Worcester Telegram that mentions EWM and this comment thread (specifically comment #16, the report of the Hubbardston mountain lion sighting on Dec. 31).

On the Trail of the Unusual - http://www.telegram.com/article/20110207/NEWS/102070450/1116

It's gratifying to learn that the assistant director of the State Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Thomas French, "does not take reports [of mountain lions] lightly," as the article reports. Although he does toe the official line that a mountain lion roaming the verdant hills, plains and valleys of Massachusetts would most likely be the result of an unscrupulous owner releasing a captive animal, Mr. French is to be admired for his open mind on the matter.

As for me, the more I hear from people like the good folks who have shared their wolf and lion encounters with the readers of this page, the more credible the idea becomes that there are indeed mountain lions in our midst here in Massachusetts. Thanks for all of your insights and input!

(More from the Telegram: a May 9, 2009, article by Kim Ring exploring reports of a mountain lion in Barre: Elusive Quarry - http://www.telegram.com/article/20090509/NEWS/905090336/1116)

Mark T. Alamed said...

Apologies, On the Trail of the Unusual was actually published on February 7, 2011, not February 2.

Anonymous said...

Friday Feb 25th at 5:30 am my husband saw a mountain lion on his way to work. It crossed the road in front of him. This is near a large piece of land on the Russell/Westfield line. 5 years ago we, myself and my husband, also saw a mountain lion cross in the same area it jumped off a crag of rocks landed in the road and leaped again. It was an amazing animal. Also about 3 or so years ago my son, age 9, was walking our dog in mid morning. We live in a rural neighborhood surrounded by mountainous area, he heard a "woman scream or baby type scream" and decided to check it out. (yes, I know my 9 year old checking out crazy screams) he said he started to walk towards the sound but the dog, a Dalmatian, had his ears up and was standing erect. Then he said "Mom it was really weird all the woods were quiet and the chipmunks and squirrels were not moving even the birds were quiet" So needless to say I am a believer. They are here. He was freaked out and came home half panicked but never saw anything and no woman or baby was near either. Thanks for the stories.

Dan Arel said...

Wow, I just heard on the news today about it, and I realized a bobcat I saw way back in 2006 wasn't a bobcat! My dad realized it too and brought it up to me. It was in some woods in Williamsburg, my town, about a half mile to a mile from the reservoir. It had a long tail and stared at us for the longest time so I remember the face of it, yup, mountain lion. The other thing that proved it to me was the leap, it leaped into the woods like a mad man. Needless to say I got goosebumps to hear they are actually back in the northeast and it wasn't just recently.

Mark T. Alamed said...

New EWM blog post with photos: Mystery Cat Prowls Massachusetts

Anonymous said...

My aunt was walking her dogs in great barrington mass when she seen a huge mountain lion it sat under the street light for a min then ran down the road the tracks it left in the front yard were huge..

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine was diving to work Thursday morning in Leicester and had a mountain lion cross the street in front of his car. It was about 4:30 in the morning and he said he saw it from approximately 20' away fully lit in his high beams. He is an avid hunter and spends half his life in the woods and has no doubt it was a mountain lion.

Baerh said...

Heard from two folks in Sharon, Mass about some Catamount sightings along with Fisha Cat! That's only 40 minutes from Bean town.

Being not too distant from the Hockomock swamp I wonder about any sightings from that area. Always kept my eyes peeled out in the Hock but never seen any Cat-amount sign, but they're probably present.

marilyn wiley said...

We saw a mountain lion on our property on Washington Mt. Rd., Washington, MA crossing the meadow. My husband saw one about 5 years ago further toward Becket on WMTR crossing the road and a friend reported one crossing the road near our property about 10 years ago. It was a very large cat with a long tail.

Anonymous said...

I saw a mountain lion in my back yard in Lenox. I heard the crows going crazy and it caught my attention. Out from the tree line I saw it appear then after about 20 seconds it disappeared back out of sight. I couldn't believe my eyes so I too looked up pictures to confirm my suspicion. Yes, for sure it was a mountain lion!

Meg said...

My husband saw a mountain lion about 2 years ago (this time of year-late spring maybe). He said it was really big, a tan color, muscular but thin. It was broad day light and easy to recognize as a mountain lion. We live in Paxton MA...across the street from Moore State Park. We knew lots of wildlife inhabited the Park, but not mountain lions. Maybe just a passer-by, but just this past weekend, my 7 year old son saw a "huge cat" in the woods. We brought up pictures of several types and he recognized it as a mountain lion. He was at my sisters house about a mile away from ours in Paxton when he saw it. Just tonight my brother in law called to confirm a large cat like animal walking through his yard. He said it was at least 2 feet tall and 3 feet long (estimate from his perspective). No markings, just a gray-ish tan color. Not sure if it was exactly the same type of cat that my husband saw, but I know for sure now that my 7 year old did see some type of wild cat. Has anyone else seen a mountain lion or mountain lion type cat in the Paxton area...which is more east of the Quabbin?

Brian said...

There are definitely mountain lions in MA. My wife and I were eating dinner tonight and I saw a large animal walking along the wall in our back yard. We both looked carefully at the animal that looked like it was stalking a wild turkey in the yard. After dinner I looked up bobcats to show my daughter a picture of what we saw, but it did not match. I looked up Mountain lion and the picture matched perfectly. Absolutely amazing.

Brian said...

Sorry... forgot to say in my previous post that the Mountain lion was seen in Sterling.

Anonymous said...

Heard a rumor that a mountain lion attached some horese on Haynes Hill Road in Brimfield this past Sunday night. I do know that at least one horse had to be euthanized due to an "animal attack" and several others were injured running through the fences. The event did occur, as one of my friends was present when the horse was put down, but the part about it being a mountain lion is second-hand.

Anonymous said...

A mountain lion crossed in front of my car as I was heading to Great Barrington on Route Rte 7 South on Sunday, 6/5/11 @ approx. 10:30AM. This was near Monument Mountain.

Anonymous said...

Although I did not "see" this animal, I am sure the noises I heard last night were from a mountain lion. Last week my neighbor saw one up close in his yard. And I am wondering if there is anything we can do to ward off these visits. We all have dogs and I know deer pass thru behind our houses. We live really close to route 12 so the most wildlife we see are bunnies. Any advice would be appreciated. I still have chills now that I know how close I was to it. (Sterling, Ma)

Roxanne said...

I live off rte 32 in ware and was driving one night kind of late and seen what at first I thought was a deer, turned out it was two wolves one was black with yellow eyes and the other a grey multi color I thought I was seeing things so I slowed to almost a stop and just looked at the black one which came up really close to the side of my car and looked right at me I was very scared!! I noticed a car coming the other way and they slowed two i would love to know what they thought!! they came from behind the Walmart on 32 !! It was a crazy thing and no one believes me!!! I know what I seen!!

Catharine said...

June 28, 2011. At 7:30 PM I saw an enormous black bear walk across the middle of my front lawn from one side of my property to the other. I was in the living room in front of the deck, and saw it clearly. I live on Monson Turnpike Road in Ware, not far from the Quabbin. I've lived here 22 years, and have never before seen a bear.

Anonymous said...

My mother reports seeing a wolf this morning, while outside around 2AM. She at first thought it might be a large dog, as it crossed out front yard headed the woods behind our back yard. She then realized it was much larger, and had a distinctive fluffy tail. It's hair was gray color with the tips turning black. My mother was sitting at the top step of about ten leading to the front door, and the animal was about twenty feet away. She says it looked at her for several seconds, to which her response was to sit still, before continuing to the woods. We live in Ludlow MA and have seen coyotes and even black bears around before, but the wolf was deffinitely an unexpected visitor.

Anonymous said...

Driving to work this morning ... Same route I always take ... Only today things were different ... When as I came along Winchester St in Newton, a large golden-colored animal was striding across. I was approaching at about 30mph bc the road is dark and a bit curvy. After being surprised by the animal's color the next thing I noticed was the long, thick tail. This was a muscular animal that moves like our barn cats did growing up when they were on the prowl. We have an American bulldog that's pretty big and muscular. The animal I saw was even longer and leaner. I immediately thought "mountain lion", it was crossing from a wooded area into another wooded area that meets up with the Charles River. I saw it's full body for a few seconds before it went up the embankment on the other side, slipping into the darkness. I desperately wish someone was ith me t see this or that I had time to grab my iPhone and snap a picture. I called the MA division of fisheries and wildlife. They told me the same thing I've read from all the comments on here - about how it's unlikely and that IF it were a mt lion, it's probably bc someone illegally had it and released it. Well ... How can they still say this after the recent mt. Lion finding in connecticut when it was it by a car and killed??!! I've contacted several wildlife trackers bc I want proof! A woman I work with says she saw the animal I described - in the same place - a few weeks ago right around midnight. She never told anyone bc she thought they'd think she was nuts for calling it a mt lion. But when I told everyone this morning she told her story too.

Anonymous said...

I drove a truck eastbound on the Mass pike about 4 miles west of Westfield just past the runaway truck cutoff . This is about 1 a.m August 17 2011 . saw a matted yellow bobcat or mountain lion that had crossed the pike going into the woods. Animal is about the size of a German Shepard,was not scared of my truck.Not something I would want to meet while walking.About 100 lbs. Do Bobcats get this big?
Its fur was scruffy, matted with a long yellow tail.

Anonymous said...

I also saw a large cat leap out of the woods, land on the yellow line and then a huge distance covering leap to the woods on the other side of the street. This was on rt 9 in ware right before the state police barracks. And just today a friend of mine was fortunate enough to witness two adults and four cubs.

Rick said...

I was driving my nephew home tonight in Sturbridge and we came up the road at what looked like a large housecat with a black nose and light colored fur. It froze until we got about 10 yards away and then it jumped into the woods. I was almost stopped by then so I turned the car to face the woods and we saw 2 cats that appeared to be very large kittens, facing us. We watched them for a few minutes then they ran off. They looked an awful lot like Mountain lion kittens.

Brad said...

All the stories of Mountain Lion sighting in the area have finally became reality on 8/30/11. While going thru my trail camera pic I came across three photos of an animal i've never seen or photographed. Unfortunately they were all from behind, so I could'nt see it's face. But once I saw the tail and hind quarter, it was a dead give away what I was seeing. Once my photos were brought to other peoples attention in town, my dad was told by the farmer up the road from our house that his son had an up close sighting only a few weeks earlier. His sighting was out in the open and not more then a few hundred yards from the nearest house. His sighting was no more than 500 yards from my trail camera. This sighting was in North Adams, Ma. I guess i'll be walking a little faster when in the dark walking to and from my tree stand!

Anonymous said...

Man o' man.
It was a typical beautiful Sat morning in the Berkshires as I left NJ bright n early to assist the folks who suffered from the flooding @ a mobile home park in Williamstown.
I had just set up camp on my property in Becket and began to head north on rds parallel to 8 heading towards Williamstown,MA.

And what do I see - A black bear.

Man to enjoy the time I spend in the Birkshires

Anonymous said...

My wife thinks she has seen a mountain lion in Barre, MA, on two occasions this year...once in March and once two days ago. Both sightings have occurred during the day, and I saw a paw print in the neighbor's yard that looks like a "big cat" print. Anyone else heard of mountain lion sightings near Barre?

Dianne Scott said...

hello.............yes indeed I am sure there is a mountain lion. I live in Hubbardston and two years ago I heard my cat cry out front of my home in the woods. The poor thing was now in the mouth of a very identifiable mountain lion. It was horrible. I called to report but they told me that I must have seen a bobcat, but i know the difference. I am disturbed to think that the animal or animals are still in the area

Anonymous said...

My dad and I saw a mountain lion about 2 years ago in Hampden Ma. It leaped out in front of our car and cleared the road in one leap. I know what I saw and remember its long tail, tan fur and smaller head, I would say it was atleast 70 lbs.

Anonymous said...

I have seen Mountain Lion in Tolland MA on my road, 3 years ago. I also saw a gray wolf in Granville MA crossing Rt 57 in the "downtown" area, about 5 years ago,. I am familiar with coyotes and northern breed dogs......this was a wolf. And there are no other animals that would be around that I know of that have long tawny tails...........

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this thread because I thought I may have seen a wolf on Rte 143 in Worthington about a week ago. It was about 7:30pm and it came cantering across the road. When my headlights caught it, it hesitated for a moment and took off. I at first thought coyote, but this animal was "healthy" looking, if you know what I mean. Maybe 60lbs or so with a very thick, soft coat.
On another note, about 5-6 years ago I was walking the snowmobile trails in Worthington and veered off to "relieve" myself. I can hear something plodding down the trail and figured it was my neighbor and his dogs. When it got about 20ft from me, I must have gasped, because it stopped midstride and with its front paw suspended, stared me down for 30-45 seconds. All I could think was "Thats a lion - that's what you see in Africa!". I was absolutely mesmerized that i was seeing this creature, and its muscular shoulder and shiny smooth coat are embedded in my memory. The thing that sticks even more, is the tail - so long, with that distinctive black tip. It slinked off into the woods and I circled around to backtrack its tracks...sure enough, huge cat prints about the size of my hand.

Anonymous said...

I was at my parents house on Rt. 32in Ware just before Gilbertville, just before the hurricane this Sept 2011 and had a up close and personal experience with a black bear, my dog frighten it away and a week or so later it was killed by our neighbors during the opening of bear hunting season.
A few month later a moose was hit by a truck a few miles away at the Rock Reservation in Rt. 9 in W. Brookfield and was put down....since then my parents have seen a fischer cat too in their yard! Unbelievable. Two years ago they were in the Quabbin and saw a mountail lion too, it jumped across the dirt road and disappeared in the woods right infront...long long tail, with a sleek body...almost afraid to go outside or walk in the woods these days...

JosephGMullett said...

Just finished a walk with the dog at about 11:15 pm here in Ludlow, MA near the Springfield Res off 21, and had two very large grey dog like creatures slowly walk across the street. Street lights behind them and in front gave the colors and the fullness of the bodies. First one and then the next, the last being the largest. Hands down had to be Grey Wolves. Far to large for Coyotes, and the size in comparison to my dog walking, was very noticeable. We get many coyotes and foxes moving through these woods, but these two moved together.
best picture I could find to compare them...
http://images.enature.com/mammals/mammals_l/ma0158_1l.jpg

JosephGMullett said...

Just found another article, and looking for dates to it, but it mentions two things that I found interesting, 1. size and 2. behavior.

The two creatures crossing the road, first one being smaller, crossed rather cautiously, and then made it's way into the woods. That got my dog's eyesight going.
The second creature, stopped on the edge of the road, looked at us, got my dog's hair up, and paused. For what I would consider an uncomfortable amount of time. Being 6ft and having a dog with me, I thought would probably send the creature on it's way, but nope. Just stood there, almost as if interested and curious, maybe even sizing my dog up? It then moved across the street, paused again, not as long, but paused again and looked at us (Which we were now moving closer) and then headed into the woods.
Freaky, never felt that type of emotion within caused from a wild animal, bears, moose, fox, coyote, no biggie, but these two, hmmm.
Here is the article.
http://www.timberwolfinformation.org/?p=4616
Dec 17, 2004

AnnT said...

Saw two coy wolves or wolves, looked like large German Shepherds when walking my dog in Leverett. They bounded across our path and my dog, tail wagging, ran after them. I waited for the owner, thinking they were neighborhood dogs but no one came...then I realized they hadn't any collars. I called my dog back who was happy as a clam, no fear, no protective stance. She's super protective so I sensed no danger...I also saw a cougar in Wendell after picking up a Thanksgiving turkey at the Diemand Farm. Bounded across the road, just after the Wendell State Forest entrance. I looked to where it had crossed and it was STILL THERE..turned it's head back to look at me. I never said anything to anyone b/c as an acquaintance at the Dept. Fish/Wildlife said..too much headache and paperwork for them...

Anonymous said...

I grew up on the at the edge of the forest abutting the Conway state forest. If you look at the satellite and topo maps of this area you can realize that animals have an uninterrupted highway to and from the berkshire mountains.
I've spent as many hours on foot in those woods as anywhere else in my life, and I have found very large feline scat and prints. I realize have compared to bobcats and there definitively 2 different sizes of cat poop occurring. There is a very abundant deer population in those woods and nobody that I know of hunting them out. Two people I know have seen large cats with long cat-like tails leaping across the road at dusk. One was a 50 year old hunter who spotted it on westbrook road in Whately, and one was a 23 year old hunter who spotted it on north st in Whately.

We know the coyotes around here are western coyotes that went up over the great lakes and bred with the Red wolves up there (they are actually more wolf than coyote genetically). We also know that cats roam here from elsewhere, presumably undetected. If you consider that, and the sightings, and look at the maps of the area I described you can begin to see that It really isn't that unlikely that the cougars are back...It's not such a surprise either. The forests were gone in this state 100 years ago...quite literally. Every year that passes they get denser and denser and while we continue to experience suburban sprawl, it is really only in a limited, contained and connected space when compared with the unbroken forests that exist these days.

Anonymous said...

I have collected some scat that I believe is either wolf or mountain lion. I am leaning toward it being wolf scat. What do I do now?

I live in Shutesbury not too far from the Quabbin and there are many deer near my home

curious one

Anonymous said...

Lancaster Ma. two witnesses see mountain lion or other large cat (7-9 ft in length) stalking livestock today. I have seen the same type of cat in the fall in the same area of lancaster, adjacent to fort devens south post. I have no doubt there is more than one cat in Lancaster area.

Anonymous said...

What interesting reading!I would LOVE to see a Mountain Lion.I live in Medway,which can be very "woodsy"in places.This past summer ('11)I had left my house and down the road a bit I saw a bunch of coyotes in a field. I know what they look like; not at all uncommon in this area - I saw a pup in my backyard close to my house with it's kill(bird?rabbit?squirrell?)this past summer as well and I have seen many adults.But I quickly noticed something that seemed out of place - a BLACK wolf!I couldn't believe it! I wondered what a wolf would be doing with coyotes. Interestingly I saw the post earlier than mine that told about coyotes breeding with wolves and there was my answer!It was beautiful.I have heard about a worker for the town of Wayland (about 30 min. from here having seen a mountain lion run accross the street in front of his truck early one morning a few years ago. it was in the paper and he is a hunter so he was sure of the identity.Bears have been seen in Concord,Wayland,Bellingham,Hopedale.And several Moose have been seen in the metrowest area. Mountain Lions? I don't honestly think they ever left this area - they just went undetected for this long.We now have action detection cameras to spot them in the wild easier and as all the forests are being further and further inhabited by man there is more of a chance of seeing them crossing our roads etc.I do know that the Bobcat was said to be extinct in Mass. many years before my family saw one in 1956.We were in the process of building a house in Framingham and were all walking into a large room flled with building materials when I saw what I thought was a beautiful cat and started to run forward to pet it. My father grabbed me and said that was not a cat but a Bobcat,and he knew because he had trapped all kinds of animals growing up to help support his family.I remember exactly what it looked like even now. I can't understand how some can mistake a Bobcat for a Mountain Lion or vice versa.Different size,color,long tail on one to stub on the other.We have a huge deer population around here. It's normal to see between 2-10 deer on my way to work in the morning and I once saw a herd of 40 crossing Rt.126 in Wayland. About 20 years ago my friend who lived right around the corner from me and I were hanging out our bathroom windows because we heard such bazzare noises coming from the woods behind our houses one night. It sounded like a cat fight- and I don't mean housecats! Something big. It has been suggested to me that it could have been Fisher cats but I don't think so. They are small and this was coming from a big animal.I'm going to follow these comments - I only hope some idiots don't go killing what they see to ahng a trophy on their wall.

susannah,Dorset, UK said...

Thanks so much for recalling your 90s sighting of wolves. In the spring of '98, I was visiting friends in Wendell,at the top of Wedell Depot Road. I had gone to sit in the woods just to the north of the property, when next door's unhappy big dog started making a huge fuss. He slipped his chain and came rushing over the field into the wood. I like dogs so did the thing and he, who lacked company, came and sat with me, leaning against me, for quite a time - until his owner started calling. Then he returned, not very willingly. I sat on for a few minutes - and then saw movement. Used to using stillness to see wildlife in England, where I live, I froze. And sat while I was circled by at least two huge, grey canines. It was impossible to see if there were two or more as I judged it safest to remain absolutely still. They circled a number of times, and then sloped off. I got a good look at them as they passed, and they looked like wolves, not coydogs. It wasn't frightening, oddly - and remains a stunning memory.

Anonymous said...

Mike
Northfield MA

I saw a mountain lion on 4/30/12 at 7 am.In Northfield MA. We live at the bottom of South Mountain Rd. It was about 2 1/2 ft tall and 3 ft long with a 3 foot tail. It walked thourgh my backyard. I was looking out the kichten window when I heard my chickens.

Anonymous said...

My brother's co-worker texted him a picture his wife took with her phone of a mountain lion dragging an 8 point buck across their backyard early this morning in New Ipswich, NH - not MA, but very close to the MA border. It's irrefutable that its a mountain lion and bobcats can't carry prey that large no matter what gaming officials may say. It's scary that it could pass as an African lioness - no exaggeration.

Anonymous said...

I have always been a sceptic about these things.For years I told people there were no moose in Granvill Ma and boy was I wrong.I am an avid hunter,spend much time in the woods,harvesed a nice black bear last year.That said May 23 2012 about 7am I was driving down a country rode in town and I saw a mountain lion walking on the edge of a field about 200 yds away.Long tail,muscular build big head.No dought a big cat.I am now a believer.There have also been many sightings in Agawam in the Provin Mountain area.Have fun out there and keep the wind in your face.

Anonymous said...

Catherine, there absolutely are black bears in Quabbin (and all over Mass). They even visit the park at the south end, and are regularly seen by fishermen and tourists. I haven't seen one yet, but I found black bear prints behind Goodnough Dike a few days after the October, 2011 snowstorm. (It was the only place all the snow wasn't gone.)

Anonymous said...

Almost positive I saw a mountain lion in New Marlborough MA last weekend. It crossed the road about 50-75 feet in front of my car. I wasn't exactly sure what I had seen at first— it was about the size of a coyote but was tan, with small ears and was thickly built. The tail did not look like a fox or coyote's though. I pulled over, jumped out of my car and watched the animal as it walked along a small river at the bottom of an embankment. The tail was unmistakable—very long and thick. I mentioned the sighting to my neighbors who said they had also seen a mountain lion in the woods on their property in NM.

Anonymous said...

My daughter and I have seen a mt lion on two different occasions. The sightings where in Haverhill Ma in woods next to my house. My daughter was so startled she dragged my poor golden in the house by his hair. I dismissed her account till this am when i saw it leep from a tree overlooking my garden that deer frequent. I am a avid outdoors man and very confident in what I saw.

Anonymous said...

August 11, 2012, Ayer MA...At about 5:30 AM, what we believe was a wolf - twice the size of a coyote - was standing in the driveway. Comparing it to the grill next to it, it was about 2 1/2' at the shoulder, probably 85 pounds. It stared at my husband, turned and lumbered into the woods. We abut conservation land and have seen deer, moose, bear and coyote... never anything like this. No one believes us!

Anonymous said...

I had heard that if mountain lions are formally acknowledged it could change the environmental status of the land in the area and curtail development. That’s why the state is hesitant to admit it. I’m not sure if that’s true or not.

Anonymous said...

Love these stories but can someone post a picture?

Anonymous said...

Didn't know about this site to post to.... But my husband and I saw a mountain lion in our backyard about 20 feet from our house in Becket about 2 years ago. There was no doubt this was a "lion" not a cat. We were in the house when he spotted it and pointed it out to me, it seemed to see us through the window, stared for a few moments then sauntered on into the deeper woods.

Anonymous said...

frvosmSTwo nights ago on our way home from dinner, a grey wolf crossed Sunnyside Road by the Ranch Golf Course in Southwick, MA. It loped through our headlights and looked like a German Shepard on steroids... silver and black and weighed well over 100 pounds. Our neighbor told us that she had seen two of them across from her home on one of the fairways the day before. I have hunted all my life, not only in the Northeast, but in the Rockies for elk most years and have seen many animals of all kinds. This was not a coyote or a dog... this was definitely a grey wolf.

Anonymous said...

Today at 3:30pm I was riding my horse through out property of about 86 acers of land in medfield mass when out of the corner of my eye I saw a gray object running through the woods. I assumed it was a deer sice we have a resident heard of about 20 give or take. About ten minutes later we were about to cross a small.river that travels through the property when a massive grey wolf cuts in front of us traveling north up stream. My horse reared up and I fell off since I was riding bare ack. I decided to check out the river shore to look for prints. It rained all day today and k knew the mud lining would be high. I found multiple large dog like prints. I have two German sheperds and regularly walk the property. I am still skeptical about what I saw but reading previous stories make me feel a little better. I didn't have my phone ad just to dark to take pictures now

Anonymous said...

I frequently run into large, wild canines while walking my 2 German Shepherds in Peabody, MA. My dogs strain to get at the critters. The critters are unimpressed with my dogs & me. I had one good-size grey one just lie in a field for a minute or 2 yesterday before s/he loped off. I had 2 stand & calmly watch my dogs & me on Veterans Day. They haven't threatened us so far. I'm not too concerned. But what if we run into 4 or 5? One woman I spoke with said she has seen as many as 7 together. That would be scary.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like coyotes are packing up in your area. Not unusual for coyotes to do that. Be careful around coyotes that have lost their fear of humans, they become even more aggressive, less predictable and very dangerous. Keep in mind that a coyote is not your average dog. They can jump higher, run faster and fight more fiercely than nearly any domestic dog trained or otherwise. enjoy but keep your distance.

Anonymous said...

I have been encountering wild canines while walking my dog (2 dogs now) in that part of Peabody since the mid 1990s & have never had a serious incident though the critters there are quite habituated to people. It is the increasing size of the critters & greater likelihood of running into more than 2 that concerns me. On 2 separate occasions I have heard howling that sounded like 3 or more though I didn't see them so I don't know for sure.

Interestingly, over the years 3 people have told me they've seen mountain lions there. I have not. I may have seen one several miles away while driving to Gloucester for an early morning business meeting. I was fiddling with the car radio & saw a big, muscular dark brown critter built low to the ground race across the highway through my rear view mirror. It was near exit 17 or 16, getting up to Cape Ann which would have lots of ledge, swamp, woods & deer. I told myself it must be a big brown dog because we don't have big brown cats around here. But it looked more like a cat. I will never know what I saw that morning but not too long after there were many reported sightings if a cougar in Beverly, just at the edge of where I saw whatever I saw.

I used to walk the woods in Peabody all hours of the day & night. Not anymore.

Anonymous said...

Southwick, Agawam ma and Suffield CT all meet at rising corner. It was there I sighted what I thought was a big coyote. Grey and black in color, small ears and yellow eyes. As my vehicle got closer that night I was able to determine the size of the canine as being far too large to be a coyote. This creature stood as tall as my great Dane at the shoulder, figure over 30 inches. Now tonight, 6 months later I heard something going on out in the farms behind my house. I've heard the coyotes going crazy before, this was different than that tonight. Deeper, more sinister sound. I absolutely believe that there is enough deer and turkey out here to support some serious apex predators. Be careful out there

bullrush52 said...

I finally believe what I saw recently in Leicester,Ma.
I was driving west on Paxton rd. and approaching a downhill corner.
Out of the woods on my right,a Giant reddish dog darts across the road and into the adjoining woods.
I knew it wasn't a domestic dog.
My grandfather told me stories about Coy-dogs...Well, this was either a Coy-dog or Red Wolf!
I owned a 100lb Rotty, This animal was at least that big!!
long,fluffy tail...
I am an avid hunter and I am sure it was not Domestic...
Furthermore, I recently took pictures behind my house of Bobcat and Coyote.
One track I found after last weeks snowstorm was triple the size of the other dogs in the pack.
I am sure it was not domestic,due to the fact I tracked these coyotes daily and I am hunting them(I am a licensed hunter)
The Xtra large print shocked me, I did not want to assume it was a wolf or Coy-dog, But I am absolutely convinced now ,that I saw at the very least, a reddish Coy-dog/ poss. red wolf and that same animal could be the one behind my house... I live less than 5mi from my first sighting. This area is next to Worc. Airport which is very heavily wooded.
Then to hear we have Cougars in the area! I found prints in thje snow that matched a cougar, but I thought I was nuts! Guess I was correct, If I can post them here, I will...At least when I am in the woods, I carry a black powder gun or Crossbow... I advise people invest in Bear spray for the upcoming Summer hikes..
It sounds like there's Monster's In Massachusetts woods!!
Watch out!!!!

Anonymous said...

Two years ago my girlfriend and I were walking around reservoir across from wildcat road on granville road in granville. we were walking across the dam when a big cat golden brown in color caught our attention. it was about 75 yards away walking towards the woods on the road. I thought it was a bobcat untill we saw the 2-3ft long tail.

Unknown said...

I was driving home around 9pm this evening when I saw something crossing the street. I was in Lancaster driving down Main Street right near where it crosses the Nashua River. When i got to where the creature had crossed I looked over and just as I did he turned and looked over at me.....and it was a mountain lion. At first when I saw it I thought maybe it was a coyote, but then I noticed its long tail and pointed ears. No sooner did our eyes meet, he turned and ran into the woods. I was kind of shocked....never would i expect to see such a thing in Lancaster.

Anonymous said...

Re March 9 - Are you sure that what you saw was not a coyote? A mountain Lion has more of a rounded ear than a pointed one. In the heat of the moment a coyote could appear to be something else. How it ran off would have been telling too, Cougers tend to leap off then transistion in to a low run when they want to get moving. If it was a Mountain Lion, its good also telling that it ran off at first glimps of you. that could sugest that it was not an exotic pet that has been released. Cats with lots of interaction with people tend to just stroll off. hope what you saw was in fact a mountain Lion!

weather01089 said...

Well wild cougars sometimes just stroll off as well. But if it runs off, its more likely not to be the "escaped pet" being propogated by various wildlife people. The odds are with a wild animal anyway. People have been sighting these for decades, long before anyone had them for "pets". Get used to them folks, more and more are going to be seen over the next decades.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if you took my questions the wrong way. I'm a Avid animal tracker and wild life enthusiast. Just trying to get a better idea of the situation and trying to discern if what has been reported as Cougars is in fact Cougars and if there is in fact a "breading population" herwe in the east of just roaming males out of Canada or released exotic pets

Anonymous said...

I hope we don't have "breading populations". We have enough bakeries in the area.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the typo "breeding populations" yeah we do have enough bakeries "here about" and they're serving up some real big ones!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I live in Goshen, Ma. and travel to West Springfield,Ma. every morning between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. During these quiet early morning hours, I have seen every type of wildlife Massachusetts has to offer. Deer and Turkey are a daily occurrence, in fact, I see several deer EVERY morning standing on the edge of 91 south between Holyoke and Northampton. Bear sightings are a monthly occurrence, and I have seen Moose once a year for as many years as I have been here. I just read posts from two other people on this thread who have seen a Mountain Lion in the Leeds/Williamsburg area. South st. in Willimsburg which turns into Audubon rd. Leeds is a road I travel daily. This road has more Turkey than I have ever seen anywhere else. September of 2012 I watched a Mountain Lion investigating a barn full of horses for approx. 15 min. from less than 100 feet away. I have a degree in zoology and entered that field because of my interest in bringing back the populations of big cats to North America. I am very familiar with this animal, and would laugh at anyone who tried to convince me it was anything other than what I saw. There is more than enough prey for these animals to thrive here, The groups of 30 to 40 turkeys I see almost daily are easy prey for such a skilled predator. If I can find this much (FOOD) prey driving a loud truck with my high beams on, is it really a stretch to think that an elusive apex predator found a way to survive quietly in small numbers in an environment as vast as the Berkshires? Especially one that it is designed for? (they were living here long before we were after all) I think it's much more foolish to think they were completely eradicated from this area. Although I have yet to confirm a wolf sighting, the difference between wolf and coyote calls, are very easy to differentiate. Don't believe me? Do some research. you will hear the difference instantly. I have many friends, especially loggers, who have either seen or heard wolves and coyotes in the area. I have also heard both. Most educated people can tell the difference between the species by size alone. A 70 lb. bobcat with a 24" tail? Really? I think not. If you are sure of what you saw, then you are probably right. This is not the Lock Ness Monster, these animals belong here, they are native to this area. We are the intruders. Hope this helps more people feel confident to share. Goodnight all.

Anonymous said...

Remember people some of you might be confusing animals. The most important feature to look out for besides their enormous size is their long tail!!! I saw one cross the road in North Brookfield about 2 years back. Then my father told me that him and his hunting buddies found a deer dragged up a tree in the High Rocks area of East Brookfield. I am a ranger with the National Park Service and have worked in Alaska and Wyoming. I know what a mountain lion clearly looks like. The thing that clearly matters to the state isn't sightings but proof of a breeding population. That's what we need to do to protect them. I will soon be out on the New England National Scenic Trail keeping my eyes and ears open along with my camera on just in case I am lucky enough to see one again! People also put out game cameras in areas you think they are, but don't forget to get permission first!!!

Anonymous said...

When you saw one in North Brookfield did you subsequently look for sign in the area of your sighting?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately not. And my bad, it was 4 years ago. I wasn't thinking too much about it until I started college and my park service career. Now I wish I had. As for East Brookfield. I'm going out to the area. Not directly for this subject but the High Rocks area isn't protected and I'm working on a proposal to send to DCR. While there I will look around. Also I will be hiking the New England National Scenic Trail which goes through alot of the places where people have had sittings.

Anonymous said...

Happy hunting!

Anonymous said...

approx 5 weeks ago while using my grill behind the house (gardner Ma)I heard a loud clank,being late about 10:30 or so I grabbed the flashlight and had a large wolf looking at me about 40ft away. The smell and smoke had to be what drew him/her in. We looked at each other for about ten seconds,he stepped behind some trees and stood.I went inside to see if he would come back, and he did. so I popped back out the door and he stopped in about the same place as before. This time he left the yard limping - the clank, he must have tripped over one of my sons toys. he crossed the yard and the street and was gone. Very large but thin.after some study I learned what I saw was a wolf coyote mix,common somewhat in this area. I enjoy walking in the woods at night on the trails in the area. after that encounter I will be much more aware of the sounds around me at night. I've often wondered about big cats around here,after reading this I have no doubt that they are around -sparse but here. remember...nature abhors a vacuum......john from gardner

Anonymous said...

About 5 years ago we were looking at an old farm house for sale on Kelly rd in Palmer/ware line. It was mid afternoon on a bright sunny spring day. While walking around the outside we noticed a wolf standing about 50ft away at the tree line. Five of us saw it, five of us confirmed it was a wolf.

Anonymous said...

A mountain lion walked through my backyard this morning on Pine Tree Lane in Hubbardston, MA. Initially, I thought it was a dog. However, after it walked passed my plants, I called out to it from my back doorway and it stopped looked right at me and walked off a few seconds afterwards. To my surprise it was not a dog at all but a large cat. Did anyone else see it?

A.F.

Anonymous said...

I was on way to work one morning and a big gray fury animal that matched your discription run across the field of a farm on southwick side . It than ran across road after something at that time I thought it looked like a wolf but no one was really talking about it so I dismissed it that was about eight years ago its 2013 now . I have seen cyots all around that area but this was lot bigger.

Anonymous said...

early morning august 30th i was trying to get to sleep outside. i heard up to 3 wolves howl seperately within 5 second intervals of each other roughly east by north east of east catamount hill road colrain massachusetts.
ivancales@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I have heard stories of a release at the Quabbin before it was open to hunters is the reason they are so skittish about confirming a sighting

Anonymous said...

I attended a family get together in South East Maine the weekend of Sept 21st. I got to see my Cousin who owns a 50+ acre spread in Northern NH, it’s up near Littleton. He says that he saw a mountain Lion come out of the brush along the tree line about 100’ away from him as he was closing a storage shed. It appeared for about 10 seconds or so, it seemed to know he was there, looked right at him and then leaped up on a stone wall, looked at him again and the then disappeared in the brush again. It has been long rumored that there are Cougars in the area. So much so that officials either dismiss the sightings as released exotic pets, a rear roaming male down out of Canada or in most cases misidentifications. One local who has witnessed many sightings over the years told him that the state of NH is well area of the cougars in the area. However, they are reluctant to confirm it due to the problems it will cause in terms of hunting game animals that cougars feed on, and the rules and regulations regarding conservation and management of the cougars. This only came out because I mentioned that there has been more and more confirmed sighting of Bobcats in and around south eastern Massachusetts including Cape Cod. I have long known that there is a small breading population of Bobcats on the Cape around Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth and in the area of south west Plymouth. I collect arrowheads and track wildlife for a hobby. Last Spring a Black Bear turned up on Cape Cod. The popular joke is that the Bobcat, extinct in the area, hitched a ride across the Cape Cod Canal on the back of the Black Bear that was not supposed to be there.

Goss_hawk@msn.com said...

I live on an 11 acre rural forested property here in Northbridge, MA with the Blackstone River as the far rear "property line". The home is built about 100-150 feet from dense vegetation/forest and about 300 feet from the road. I was sitting out back early morning when for no special reason I looked out in to the forest and through the thick vegetation of vines, poison ivy etc about 100 feet away a large jet-black wolf or coyote face was like a statue peeking out; really surprised by the absolute black color and bright eyes. After about ten seconds it just backed up and disappeared. This was no dog and neighbors too far away for it really to be a dog. I am familiar with coyotes and of course dogs and comfortable outdoorsman so there is no sensationalizing here. I saw what I saw. It was not a skinny face as a coyote and again - pitch jet black, no grey, nothing but black. What was it? Could it be a wolf? I could not see the body at all. There is evidence of a bear and cubs being seen in the area but the face was not round.

Eastern Ghost said...

I just started a website/facebook page, called Eastern Ghost, where people can report Massachusetts cougar sightings. I've got a growing network of experienced trackers who have been trained how to collect approprite measurements and documentation to positively id tracks and sign. These trackers all have agreed to be on-call to respond to sightings as soon as possible to try to collect evidence and postively identify the animal species. If you click on my name it will take you to the website. The facebook page can be found here https://www.facebook.com/easternghost. Please let us know if you think you've seen a cougar in Massachusetts and we'll get out there as soon as we can to check it out. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My son is traveling westbound on the MassPike tonight. He called me at 7:20 PM to tell me he saw a mountain lion next to the highway in Becket, MA. He is only 15 years old, but is a hunter and outdoorsman. He said it had a tail and at first he thought it was an African lion.

Anonymous said...

My 95-year-old mother lives in a retirement community just south of Williamstown. She is an avid hiker and lifelong student of nature. Last summer (2013), she told me, she was hiking along a dirt road that runs through farms and forests. Suddenly a herd of deer came crashing across the road ahead of her. Moments later, a mountain lion crossed the road. Its body was about three feet long; it had a long tail, was buff-colored, and walked like a cat. "It had to be a mountain lion," she said. She is a completely honest soul, never one to boast or make up stories. I asked her if she reported it. She said she didn't know where to do so and probably wouldn't be believed; so she didn't.

Michael Bergquist said...

I lived in Hubbardston,Ma well east of the quabbin and have seen wolf and mountain lions in the woods where I cut firewood everyday.

Tim said...

Lions, and tigers, and bears- oh my.

On the outside chance that there are mountain lions or wolves here in Massachusetts, it drives me crazy when these reports enhance peoples fears of the woods. IF they are here, odds of an encounter are slim- made slimmer by the fact they would have no interest in us. While these accounts can't be discredited out-of-hand, PLEASE be skeptical and don't change the way you enjoy the outdoors! Very often there are strong alternative explanations for these sightings, and if they were to be confirmed, a better understanding of the animals is what it needed to live with them.

Anonymous said...

I have seen a Mountain Lion twice, in the town of Bernardston. The first time was crossing a bridge on rt.5 & 10 going into Greenfield. I saw people pulled over on the bridge looking at something. I pulled over and saw a Mountain Lion stalking something behind what is now the main building of Kringle Candle.The next sighting was actually in my back yard. I live on a Mountain in Bernardston and a stream runs along the property line of my house and a neighbors house. It was 6 am and I let my dogs outside, when I walked out, I saw the long tannish tail run up the stream. I quickly gathered my dogs and got them in the house then bolted to the front door and saw the Mountain Lion run across the road into the dense woods.

Anonymous said...

Today(3/27/14) an article appeared in the Patriot Ledger (Out of Quincy, MA) about people claiming to have seen a mountain Lion in the Winchester Ma, area, i.e. “Police, State at odds over Winchester’s Mountain Lion Reports”. The “gist” of the report is that people have been seeing what they believe to be a Mountain Lion in the area but officials have been writing them off as Coyote sighting or something else. Others are not so sure. Tracks have been found but they too have been dismissed as other animals. It’s an interesting read. The Winchester area, in and around Woburn is not a back woods area by anyone’s measure but these kinds of reports have surfaced for years around here, I work in Woburn. I feel that if there is a mountain Lion in the area it’s either a “roaming Male” down from Canada or Northern New England or an escaped exotic pet. I can’t see a breading population around here.

What I can say with certainty is that I am an ex-trapper turn naturalist and animal tracker. I was taught how to trap the Portuguese on my mother side of the family. They used to trap the muskrats & Fox out of the bogs and farmland all over the South Shore. I did the same until about 1970. I know wildlife. In any case I would say, do not underestimate any animal’s ability to show up in a place that no one would ever expect to see it. Case in point that I can attest to. I reported Bobcat tracks in the Miles Standish state forest back in the 90’s, they were dismissed. Several weeks after that a State Police Curser hit and killed a Bobcat on route 44 in Carver about 8 miles from where I saw the tracks. These cats are supposed to be extinct in the area. We all heard of the black bear that somehow got onto the Cape last summer by either swimming the canal or crossing over one of the three bridges all undetected. Fishers returned to the South Shore long before the state would admit it. Black Bears routinely show up in Middleboro, Carver and points west and south. All are said to be renegades from western populations yet they get here by crossing major high ways like Rt495, RT128 and Rt 95 undetected. Moose have been reported inside of the Rt128 loop. I saw a Bobcat cross Rt 3 North on the Pembroke, Marshfield line late last summer. Given its stride and size, it was all too clear to me that it was a Bobcats. Here again officials scoffed at it. Lastly, my cousin has a nice get-away home in Northern New Hampshire. He claims to have seen mountain Lions on his property several times. Other who live there year round have been reporting sighting for years. Word is that NH State Authorities Officially deny the existence of Mountain Lions in the area or attributes them to lone Cats coming down out of Canada once in a while, fair enough. But privately many Officials will admit that there may well be a breeding population in the far north of New Hampshire but the state does not want to announce or admit because they would have to set up conservation programs or they don’t want to frighten people, or so it’s said.

Anonymous said...

Glad to have found this website! This morning on the dirt road I live on in Huntington, MA, I saw a very large grey wolf jump over the stone wall across from my driveway-this is the second sighting in our area in a year. The last one was again a very large male grey wolf sitting up on a high bank on the side of Route 66 in Westhampton. I was lucky enough to have the time to pull over and observe this amazing animal for more than five minutes. My friends at the end of our street had a mountain lion walk through their back yard last fall-they were totally shocked at how close this big guy came to them. This is not surprising, as we live in a very high elevation with a lot of rocky outcroppings in the side of these Mts., perfect for the way mountain lions live. As a child growing up in Goshen, we were able to see Mt. lions occasionally in a place called Devils Den. It's been used as a favorite place for kids to swim for over 50 years. It's much like a gorge, and again, perfect terrain for these cats to make a home.I wish the wildlife people would finally suck it up and admit that yes, we are living with these beautiful creatures in close proximity, and we do need to set up programs to protect them.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting the spin that MassWildlife put on that Winchester event. I am part of an independent organization that sent the CAT tracks to a number of credible experts that handle cat tracks on a daily basis. There were also coyote tracks that were photographed on purpose at the site, and Mass Wildlife of course included those to anyone they had look at the tracks. UNANIMOUSLY the reviewers confirmed our take, they are LARGE CAT tracks. There were over a dozen credible witnesses that saw a LARGE CAT, including one lady that watched it scale down her tree BACKWARD. There is no great dane or sheepdog roaming Winchester disguised as a cat. But, it was only ONE track in the limited snow, so to be a real confirmation, you need more. Mass Wildlife did not even speak to or consider the witnesses. The police interviewed all of them, and consider them credible, and consistent. Now Mass Wildlife has softened their stance a bit, saying there may be one "passing through". Quite a leap from "impossible" a year ago.