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Cougar caught on game camera in Jefferson, ME?

Stephen Bailey, a resident of Jefferson, ME, believes he captured an image of a mountain lion with his game camera. According to an article in the Lincoln County News, Stephen hadn’t seen any deer this year in an area he knew had several deer in the past. He saw one image of a coyote and thought they were keeping the deer away, or preying on them. Then he saw another image captured on his game camera (a camera set up to photograph wildlife), which he believes is a eastern cougar.

We have lots of anecdotal sightings of mountain lions (also known as catamount) here at NETrailhead, and the state of Maine authorities receive regular reports of sightings. It’s difficult to verify the sightings, and many photographs passed around the internet turn out to be hoaxes or have stories which have changed over time, for one reason or another. However, in 1995, biologists tested hair samples related to a sighting in Cape Elizabeth and confirmed they were from a mountain lion.

Did Stephen finally catch a photograph of this elusive predator? The article quotes Keel Kemper, wildlife biologist for the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, as saying:

“This is clearly a whitetail deer. Several observations: I assume it is the long tail that has Mr. Bailey convinced. …

“Notice the clear white underneath tail of a whitetail deer, that really shows up on the camera. This tail appears to blend into perhaps a stick or vegetation that makes this tail appear longer than it actually is.

“The most definitive mark to me is the left rear leg which is clearly a deer hock characterized by the severe angle of the deer’s ‘knee.’

“Mr. Bailey should find some solace in the fact that it is the whitetail deer that is most often confused with a cougar and this photo is very illustrative of just that reality.”

Is that the final word on this sighting? Is it just a deer?

What do you think?

More information:

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One thought on “Cougar caught on game camera in Jefferson, ME?

  1. My wife and I were on our nightly walk, summer of 2008, when I saw what I thought was a black bear in the shadows on the edge of a grain field. I asked my wife if she could see it, when suddenly, it made 5 or 6 leaps out into the field and pounced on something, just like a house cat would on a mouse. This cat was making strides of 6 to 10 ft in a bound and stood in 16 inch high grain, with all of it’s top part of the body above the grain.. Tail was an estimated 3 ft long.

    We had our 100lb rottweiler with us, but he wanted nothing to do with this cat, as the three of us beat a hasty retreat.

    This was in the town of Westfield, me.

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