Something on the prowl in East Texas neighborhood - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Something on the prowl in East Texas neighborhood

By Courtney Lane - bio | email

BEN WHEELER, TX (KTRE/KLTV) - An East Texas farmer says something is on the prowl on his land and he has a picture to prove it. Chuck Arena snapped a photo of a large, fresh paw print he found on a pile of clay.

"When I saw this claw print, it definitely wasn't a hog, it wasn't a dog, it was something big," said Arena.

Arena owns nearly 30 acres near Ben Wheeler, and down the stretch of County Road 4412, he has had sightings. One time even during the day, sitting in his truck.

"He just slumbered on into that brush out there...At first I thought, 'That's a dog,' but when I saw that long tail I just knew that's a cat," he said.

Then, he came across this the print.

"When I first saw it the first thing I did was like, 'Ok, that's pretty fresh,' and I started looking around," he said.

What was it?

"I think it is a mountain lion," said Arena.

Just down the road, Christine Clements says she has come face to face with one several times.

"He has came up before and saw me but he just stood there," she said.

She says the big cats have not hurt anything and are beautiful to watch.

"That mountain lion would be laying up on the hay sprawled out, just sunbathing," she said.

Still unsure what this print is, we took it to Game Warden Chris Green. He says the pad shape looks more like a large dog.

"Not to say that he didn't see a mountain lion, I'm just not sure that right there is a mountain lion track," explained Green.

But, he says because of an abundant food source of deer and pigs, big cats are on the move in East Texas.

"I think we're seeing more and more...We didn't used to hear about so many sightings of these big cats, but we have just in the last five years," said Green.

"I've got me a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog that are known to track down lions in Africa," said Arena. "I might bring him over here and turn him loose and see what he comes up 'cause they don't fear big cats."

At least Arena doesn't have a bigfoot on his hands.

"Bigfoot is up by Caddo Lake is where they've sighted those," said Arena.

But these prints remain a little mysterious.

"I definitely feel there's things out in these woods that we don't know," he said.

Game Warden Green says mountain lions, or cougars, have even been spotted near city limits. They are nocturnal, feeding at night or early morning hours. He says if you see one, don't panic, simply back away slowly.

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