Anyone who has spent much time growing up in Northeast Lousiana has undoubtedly heard a “panther” story or two.
As Terry L. Jones writes in his column “Panther Tales,” published in Country Roads Magazine.
In the old days, encounters with cougars were common and sometimes fatal. Texas historian J. Frank Dobie wrote about one incident that occurred in the mid-1800s when a local man took advantage of a rare snow fall to go deer hunting on Bayou Macon. When he failed to return home, a search party had discovered that the hunter had been following a large set of deer tracks. Eventually, they found the man’s mutilated body and determined that a panther had jumped on him when he walked under a leaning oak tree and “sucked blood from his throat.” The men trailed the panther another sixty yards and found where it had killed a buck and sucked blood from its throat, as well. They concluded that the panther had killed the deer the hunter was trailing and then ambushed him from the tree.
But according to LDWF, what old timers’ referred to as panthers were likely cougars. Here are a couple of interesting “panther” news clips I’ve come across.
In 1878, between Rayville and Alto, Dr. H. Rush claims to have seen one.
1931 “Panther” Killed
The best Panther story I’ve come across is this one, detailing the kill, and telling about how it was placed on display for the public to see.
A story that ran the week prior to this one is difficult to read, but can be seen here. Panther killed Sat, Jan 31, 1931 – 1 · The Richland Beacon-News (Rayville, Louisiana, United States of America) · Newspapers.com