We bought an old farm house in Bigbee, Al (Washington County). One night prior to hunting season I got up and observed at our deer feeder a large tawny cat with a long tail sneaking across the field. This cat was the length of a german shephard lower to the ground and its tail was every bit as long as its body. The way it carried its tail was enough for me to know what I was seeing. This was about October of 2009. Then about 8 months later on Hywy 43 in the mid-morning I was headed south going through Sunflower, Alabama and again I saw a long-tailed tawny cat run wide open across 4 lanes of the highway and make about a 12ft leap over a bank. This cat carried it tail in the same manor. Since it was day light and I definately knew what I had seen, I called the conservation and wildlife no. in Mobile, Al and explained what I had seen and where and they insisted they did not exist in Alabama. This really bothered me to the point I made a second call he again said the only way I could have seen a cougar or panther was if someone had released one. This was about the time all up and down hywy 43 clear cutting and surveying was going because Thyssenkroup was going in and land was being sold. I feel the timber traffic and all pushed this cat out of its safe place. I was disappointed by the wildlife and conservation people and their disinterest in this sighting.
I wonder why wildlife and conservation is not investigating all these reports or even attempting to investigate. They seem to think any reports that come in are pets someone released. There must be an awful large number of large cat owners around. Seems like we all would have a neighbor with these long-tailed cats. I find the thought there might be a few in the wild in Washington County and other rural counties like Washington County a very interesting thought and how wildlife can adapt to its surroundings. Washington County has some vast areas of woodland, plentiful with deer. Some of which is almost never traveled by humans. One of my sighting was just 1/2 to 1 mile due west of the Tombigbee River, the same river where there were confirmed sighting back in the 1960. This river has vast miles of swamp and woods only accessible by boat. During the time frame I saw the cat , there was acres and acres of clearing going on. In part due to the steel mill on hywy 43. As for the sighting in Bigbee Alabama the Farm House I bought had been empty for quite some time when I bought it with plenty of woods and deer for miles again perfect habitat for a large cat to go undetected for quite some time. Seems to me if the food source is next door and the range and habitat are there then the possibility is there. There has been some extreme droughts, floods and all arround natural disaster in the US over the last 10 or so years and people have migrated accordingly and so why not the wild life.
Don't always believe what the game wardens say. My brother and I were hunting at Oakmulgee management area about 15 years ago and on our way back to the truck we came across a hollow honey tree. There were very large claw marks way up the tree and pieces of honeycomb laying all around the base of the tree. When we got back to the checking station and asked the game warden if there were bears in the area he had a good horse laugh at us. When I got back home I checked on my computer and there was a green blotch (designating confirmed bear sightings) right where we were on the Bibb/Perry county line. Of course it also showed the population in Baldwin and Mobile counties. On Aldeer.com one guy posts bear pictures all the time, usually several bears in each picture from Mobile county. He actually gets more bear and hog pictures than deer pictures.
We should begin a map of sightings of Fish and Wildlife Management personnel! I saw one hiding in the bushes on the creek bank in Clay County spying on tubing tourists with binoculars ... he was quite unmistakable in his green uniform and radio .... and was interested in neither fish nor wildlife!
I live in Bigbee and have seen a cougar on two separate occasions. Once in the Midway area near the Methodists church and the other on the Chatom-Bigbee Rd. My mom also saw one on the Chatom-Bigbee Rd. Sad that the state dismisses these accounts but I don't need someone who sets in an office all day to tell me what I saw.