Letters To The Editor: August 2023

Reader Contributed | August 1, 2023

Here’s the spot where Tom Protheroe said he spotted a cougar. He was hunting in Crisp County.

Georgia Cougar Story From Crisp County

Dear GON,

The cougar article in the Days GON By department of the July magazine prompted me to contact GON Publisher Daryl Kirby regarding an encounter early January this year.

I was deer hunting on our farm near Arabi, a morning hunt, when I saw a big, big cat! It was tan, 7 feet long and had a distinct 3-foot tail (obviously not a bobcat, which my wife Sue and I have seen quite often).

The plot I was hunting is 30 yards wide and 200 yards long. The cat crossed the plot nonchalantly approximately 170 yards out. I was able to glass it from halfway across until out of sight. This all happened in under 30 seconds.

I’ve hunted Georgia for nearly 30 years and this was a first! I was excited, told my wife about the experience and decided to do a little research. I started with Georgia DNR. The articles I read assured me there were no cougars here. That put a damper on the excitement and made me question what I know I saw. In addition, the Georgia Forestry Commission was due any day for a prescribed burn in our longleaf pines, so I had pulled all my trail cameras just days previously and had no backup pictures. All this made me file away the encounter as a “what if,” until this July’s issue of GON.

When I contacted Mr. Kirby, he seemed genuinely interested (not a hint of skepticism of which I may have been). He asked if I’d share a narrative on my brief encounter. I’m adding a picture of the food plot so you can get a “feel” for my 30-second encounter!

Tom Protheroe, Arabi

Editor’s Note: Tom, we appreciate you reaching out. Even though we published a year-long cougar photo contest ( in 2010-11, we never got for-sure photo evidence of a Georgia cougar. However, we know it’s not impossible for a cougar to roam into Georgia. After all, a genuine Florida panther was illegally shot in Troup County on Nov. 16, 2008. You can read about that at


That’ll make you hit the brakes! Scott Zorn saw this big timber rattler while hunting Di-Lane WMA during turkey season.

Di-Lane WMA Rattlers Part Of The Quota Experience

Dear GON,

My lifelong hunting partner Tom Thurmond and I were drawn for this year’s Di-Lane WMA turkey quota hunt. This was our third trip. We hunted all week, and the action was slow. I did get the opportunity to hear a few gobblers and saw a hen.

The below picture is of a timber rattler that was in the road one afternoon and was in no particular hurry. It was the largest timber rattler I have ever seen. I watched it slide off and then went back to hunting.

If you hunt Di-Lane in the warmer months, buy a pair of snake chaps or boots, trust me! There was one area I wanted to hunt but was afraid to walk to due to the thick underbrush and the fear of stepping on a rattler. I also crossed paths with about eight piglets and a sow that was huge. I snuck away in the early daylight not wanting to tangle with momma protecting her babies.

Scott Zorn, Cleveland


Record Rattler?

Barry Hardin reached out to GON last month asking if anyone kept a list of rattlesnakes with the most rattles. Nobody keeps such a list, but this is certainly an impressive specimen, if not the most rattles we’ve ever seen. Barry killed the timber rattler from Jones County, and it had 21 rattles.

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Noah Knight killed this Worth County buck on Nov. 23 after rattling him in. It grossed 136 6/8 inches.


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