On their way to Tractor Supply last weekend around 1:30 p.m., Pamela Eppinger and Jim Coldiron saw a surprising sight.
“We were crossing Brandywine along the river, going around a curve, and I look in the woods and I see a cat the size of a golden retriever, a little bigger,” said Coldiron. “It looked like he was prowling around in search of food.”
Eppinger heard him pant and described seeing a large fawn-colored cat with a black tip on its tail, she said.
“I am an outdoor enthusiast. I take people out hunting. I know what I saw, ”said Coldiron, from North Carolina. “He didn’t care about the traffic. ”
Coldiron said he thought he heard a cougar screaming a few months ago upon entering his Pennsylvania home, but saw nothing.
“If you’ve heard it, you can never forget it,” he said of the animal’s roar.
Eppinger said she had a friend who told her she saw paw prints under her window, believed to be from a cougar, in Landenberg, Pa., Several years ago.
Growing up in an area with cougars and knowing their nature, Coldiron recommends people throw their arms up like a show jumping and scream if they’re ever too close to one. Having a safety whistle can also help disorient the animal and scare it away.
“You just have to make yourself feel like you’re not appetizing, you’re not the type to tango with,” he said.
The couple said they haven’t seen the cougar since, but heard other people talk about their cougar sightings after posting their story on NextDoor.
Denise Kunzig, who lives in Orchard Valley on Bayard Road in Pennsylvania, claims she saw a cougar just before Thanksgiving while walking her dog at 9:30 p.m.
“I look up and see an animal come out of the woods. It’s kind of crossing the street, ”she said. “I’m a good twenty yards away. ”
Too big to be a fox, too small to be a deer and not a dog without a human walking it, she wondered what it was. Moments later, he spotted her and her dog, she said.
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“At this point, he takes a few steps towards me. It rests on the ground. I start to think, ‘my cat is sitting like this. It’s a cat. A big cat, ”she said. “He got up and started walking towards us. I took a few steps, walking backwards down the street.
The animal followed her and her dog a bit, but eventually ran away. Kunzig then flagged a car and asked a neighbor to drive it down the street to her home, too scared to walk past the area where the big cat had emerged, she said.
“I just know I saw some kind of puma or cougar,” she said. “nobody can tell me that I saw a deer or some other kind of lie.”
Kunzig described the animal as having a beige coloring, a round head, and about five feet long.
“He didn’t run after me. It was calm. He came out of the woods calmly, walked towards me calmly… There was a distance between us but I was still afraid, ”she said.
Since then, Kunzig has said that she always carried her phone with her, which she didn’t have that night, and that she stayed near the townhouses in her development instead of venturing out near the drink.
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Other people have shared their cougar stories.
“Right in the middle of the road, almost in front of my brother-in-law’s house on Highland Road, was this big cat,” said David Williams, 82. “He stopped. He acted like he had a bone stuck in his teeth or something. His mouth was wide open and was flexing. Right in front of me.”
It happened around 10 a.m. on Williams’ return from a doctor’s appointment, which is why he remembers it so well.
Williams is originally from West Texas, a place where cougars are plentiful, so he knows their looks and manners.
The animal then made its way to the backyards of a few houses, so Williams went to the next street thinking the animal would pass again. Sure enough, he crossed the road and disappeared into a swampy area, he said.
“This one was acting like he was tamed,” he said. “This one didn’t make any noise. He was walking very fast. He didn’t roar.
Although Williams remained on the prowl for a while afterwards, camera in tow to hopefully take a photo, he never saw the animal again.
“I’ll tell you, they’re big cats, and it was really surprising to see this one,” he said. “I could not believe it.”
The state’s Fisheries and Wildlife Division said there were several reports of cougar sightings per year, but none were corroborated.
“There have been no confirmed sightings of cougars in Delaware for decades, the state has not taken any recent action associated with cougars, and there are currently no plans to control this… species.” said Rob Hossler, wildlife administrator for DNREC’s fish division. and wildlife.
According to Hossler, there were documented cases of cougars released in the state in the early 1990s, but they were never captured and are believed to have died of natural causes.
During the afternoon of September 13, 1996, Kathe Worrell of Landenberg stated that she saw a cougar near Yorklyn off Sharpless Road, the site of her old house at the end of a cul-de-sac.
“The reason I remember is because this is the day we moved into our last home in Ashlynn Ridge,” she said. “I was unloading boxes in the bedroom and I looked up and thought, ‘Oh, there’s a deer. “”
Upon reflection, she realized that a deer does not have the same gait as the animal she saw. Her house leaned on woods and was vacant for a long time before her family moved in, a possible reason the animal made an appearance that day, she said.
Although she only saw him from behind, she could tell he was the size and color of a deer but had cat paws and a cougar tail.
“It was almost at eye level as he walked down the street. He was going back and forth as if he owned the road.
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