LDWF investigating potential cougar sighting in Beauregard Parish

Sulphur hunter captures cat’s image on trail cam

Barry Price got quite a shock Friday when he was going over trail cam photos taken from his deer lease in Beauregard Parish.

The Sulphur hunter was checking images the day before gun season opened in Area 3 in southwestern Louisiana when he came across a photo taken early Thursday morning showing a large cat passing near a pipeline sign in the Bancroft area.

“When I showed it to a couple of guys on the deer lease this weekend, one of the guys said he had seen some two or three different times this summer,” Price said. “And another guy that’s on my lease said he saw one this summer out trapping hogs in the area where I’m at.”

Price said the lease habitat, which is on the Texas-Louisiana border, includes Sabine River bottom and thick pines, but the photo was taken only about a half-mile from a main highway.

“The bottom of that sign on the pole looks like it’s about 16- to 19-inches tall. That’s what I’m thinking the size of the cat is,” Price said. “The bottom of that white paper is about knee-high on me.”

Maria Davidson, large carnivore program manager with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said Monday morning she wouldn’t be surprised it the big cat turns out to be an actual cougar.

“On the surface, without spending any time on it, it looks like a pretty legit photograph to me,” Davidson said. “But we will work on it to double check before we put it in our database of cougar occurrences.”

A private lands biologist will coordinate with Price and go to the area to search for more information on the cat, she said.

“They will determine the height of the animal in the picture,” she said. “And that’s a really good one because that pipeline marker is right there.”

If the big cat is a cougar, any DNA samples collected during the investigation could determine where it came from, she said.

“To call it a Florida panther is premature,” Davidson said. “It’s probably a lot more likely that an animal dispersed from Texas or New Mexico than came from South Florida.”

Davidson encouraged hunters statewide who think they might have trail cam pictures of a cougar to forward them to her via email by clicking here.

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