LDWF: Beauregard Parish trail cam photo just a bobcat

Further examination of picture, site visit combine to rule out potential cougar sighting

“After further review, the ruling on the field is overturned.”

Nope, that’s not another referee’s decision going against the Saints this season – but it is the final verdict by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on the potential cougar photographed last Thursday on a trail cam in Beauregard Parish.

After a biologist visited the site on Barry Price’s lease in the Bancroft area on Tuesday, officials believe the big feline pictured walking past a pipeline sign is only a bobcat.

“I kept wondering why that tail looked funny,” said Maria Davidson, large carnivore program manager with LDWF. “Look right in the middle of the rump – there’s a black spot. That’s the end of the actual tail itself.

“The other thing that looks like a tail is actually part of the left hind leg.”

Davidson said further examination of close-ups of the photograph, combined with Tuesday’s site visit confirming the 16-inch height of the bottom of the white pipeline sign, all point to a plain old bobcat.

“We’re not in the business of disproving this stuff, but if I’m going to document a cougar occurrence, we have to make sure it’s an actual occurrence,” Davidson said. “I would have loved for it to be a cougar. But it’s not.”

Davidson welcomed hunters and landowners who have a potential cougars caught on a trail cams to send the photos to her personally at mdavidson@wlf.la.gov.

“If people have a picture that they would like to see documented as a cougar occurrence, we would love to document an occurrence,” she said. “We’ll be happy to do that.”

And she stressed that if a cougar occurrence is confirmed, no restrictions of any kind are placed on the landowner’s property.

“In the event we do document an occurrence, it does not change anything about their property at all,” Davidson said. “There are no restrictions whatsoever. As a matter of fact, we don’t reveal their actual location if that’s what they choose.

“We don’t share specific landowner information.”

So while it was neat to imagine a cougar roaming the Sabine River bottoms in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana will have to wait a while longer for the next confirmed occurrence.

“At first blush, you look at that thing and it looks like a cougar. But we want to be positive one way or the other,” Davidson said. “That bobcat actually looks a couple inches shorter than 16 inches.

“It just looks like a general run-of-the-mill bobcat.”

About Patrick Bonin 1315 Articles
Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.