Georgia Cougar Quest

For a full year, GON has collected evidence of wild cougars in Georgia. Now it's time for readers to decide who gets $1,000.

Nick Carter | May 26, 2011


Debbie Cannon, of Doerun, Colquitt County, November 2010: Debbie got two shots of what appears to be a long-tailed cat as it trotted down the edge of a hay field in Colquitt County.


George Young, of Plains, Sumter County, February 2010: George said there have been numerous sightings around Plains and that this animal’s rear legs are feline.

Clint Durrence, of Riceboro, Liberty County, January 2011: Clint set his camera out where hunters had dumped deer carcasses and caught this visitor slipping through the tall grass.

Jennifer Ellis, of Covington, Hart County, October 2010: Jennifer said this photo is missing some vital information “such as a head,” but her initial thought was big cat.

Jason Cowart, of Fitzgerald, Ben Hill County, September 2010: Jason said this trail-camera photo appears to be of a large, long-tailed cat and a kitten.

Trish Inglett, of Woodstock, Hancock County, July 2010: “I was pretty sure it was a cat; I just didn’t know what size,” said Trish, who got the photo surveying deer at her hunting land.

Ted Eby, of Midway, Liberty County, January 2011: Ted wanted to know what GON thought of this “panther” he got on trail camera in Liberty County during January.

Jeff Lizotte, of Clearwater, Fla., Randolph County, July 2008: “Looks a lot more muscular than a deer and bigger than a bobcat,” said Jeff. “Not sure; you make the call.”

Scott Reynolds, of Buford, Dawson County, August 2007: Scott got this photo on a trail-cam. He said the cat is still around and that it’s much bigger now.

Tim Willkerson, of LaGrange, Heard County, September 2010: Tim said panthers have been seen on his hunting property before. His son Drew Atkins got this shot of a cat killing a deer.

Eric Rzad, of Milton, Screven County, August 2010: Eric got this sharp trail-cam photo of a cat in Screven County. He and some other reputable locals were pretty convinced.

Ronny Hulsey, of Gainesville, Hall County, July 2010: Ronny said he has been seeing tracks for years, but he always counted them out as other animals until he got this photo.

Steve Arflin, of Unadilla, Dooly County, October 2007: Steve said he has all kinds of animals on camera from Dooly County, but nothing else that resembles this.

Josh Mitchell, of Menlo, Chattooga County, December 2009: Josh said a local veterinarian told him this was definitely not a domestic cat. Josh said it might be a young black panther.

Robert Upchurch, of Columbus, Macon County, January 2010: Robert said he has a full photo of a cat that is without a doubt a Florida panther in Georgia, but he lost it.

Robert Jenkins, of Millen, Jenkins County, July 2008: Robert said everyone he has shown this photo to thought it was a cougar. “It’s definitely too large for a house cat,” he said.

Barry Nelson, of Lula, Hall County, December 2008: Barry said he’s asked around and most people say this looks like a big cat. He said it doesn’t look like coyotes he’s seen.

Gary L. Watkins Sr., of Mauk, Taylor County, May 2010: “What’s your take on the photo, feline or canine? We couldn’t decide,” wrote Gary about this trail-cam shot he captured.

Roger Vititoe, of Moreland, Coweta County, September 2010: Roger caught this long-tailed animal on video. He said he thinks it might be a young cougar. The fence is 6 feet high. Before voting, be sure to watch the video by clicking the link at the bottom of the article or by copying the link here and pasting it into your browser:

Lee Ward, of Cordele, Webster County, April 2010: Lee was hunting hogs with night-vision equipment when he got this video of something that looks large and feline. Before voting, be sure to watch the video by clicking the link at the bottom of the article or by copying the link here and pasting it into your browser:

Jason Houston, of Conyers, Newton County, July 2009: This video was taken near the Alcovy River. “The quality is not great, but it definitely shows a long-tailed cat,” said Jason. Before voting, be sure to watch the video by clicking the link at the bottom of the article or by copying the link here and pasting it into your browser:


In June 2010, GON put the call out for proof of wild cougars in Georgia, offering $1,000 for the best evidence. Now it’s time for our readers to decide who gets a check.

A year into the Georgia Cougar Quest, we have fielded hundreds of reported sightings of large cats from across the state. A good number were photos and video. On these pages is the best of the evidence we’ve received.

Also submitted, but not included in the running for the prize money, were many photos of tracks or plaster casts of tracks. GON submitted all of these tracks to expert analysis. In most instances they were determined to be the tracks of canines. Those that weren’t counted out as dog or coyote tracks were deemed inconclusive because of the poor quality of the tracks, the casts or the photos. Also not included in the running for the money were photos of dead deer that could not be verified as cougar kills.

Now it’s time to vote. Buy a copy of the magazine and see pages 18-23. Use these pages as a survey; check the box you think best describes the quality of each photo as evidence of wild cougars or panthers in Georgia. GON will compile all completed surveys to determine the best three reader-chosen pieces of evidence. The top three will receive $500, $300 and $200, respectively.

Once you have completed the survey, including the “Voter Information” box, mail it to Georgia Cougar Quest, 4331 Seven Islands Rd., Madison GA 30650. Only one survey is allowed per reader. Duplicate surveys, photocopies and surveys with incomplete “Voter Information” will be disqualified.

The deadline is the close of business July 11. Results will appear in GON’s August issue.

Note: For photos 20, 21 and 22, be sure to click the links below to see the videos before voting.

Roger Vititoe:

Lee Ward:

Jason Houston:

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