Lynx to Vermont

No photo today because I can’t catch phantoms on film – this is symbolic. According to a news story Vermont officials have confirmed there are Canadian Lynx in Vermont. This isn’t news to those of us out in the woods. I’ve seen their tracks.

Meanwhile the Vermont officials continue to deny the existence of wolves and cougar in Vermont. I think that is because they don’t want to scare tourists – after all, cougar hunt, kill and eat people out west. Holly and I have clearly seen the cougar twice. We have also run into it in the woods at night – don’t do this at home kiddies. That time we did not see it but heard it snarling at our dogs who kept it at bay – it pays to have multiple large dogs. I would not go out without them. We have also seen cougar tracks twice in the snow. Lastly, cougar is the only predator capable of ripping off a sheep’s chest with one swipe of its claws and then taking another sheep and long jumping over a high 4 wire electric fence leaving no other traces. It’s either a cougar or the abominable snowman – I’m not putting bets on big foot.

The cougar exist in Vermont and comes through our valley every few months. They’re called Catamount around here.

Outdoors: 20°F/17°F Overcast
Farm House: 57°F/50°F no fire
Tiny Cottage: 51°F/42°F window work, planning, prep

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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16 Responses to Lynx to Vermont

  1. pablo says:

    The Conservation Department in Missouri insisted for many years that there were no cougars in Missouri. Then the credible sightings, including videotape, kept piling up. So the Department said these must be captive animals that had escaped. Then a cougar was struck and killed on a road in Kansas City. The body was examined and determined to be a wild cougar. So now the Department says that maybe they are straying in from other nearby states.

    A forester who once worked for the Department told me that the real reason they don’t want to acknowledge the existence of these big cats is because if they do, they will be obligated to divert large parts of their budget to study and protect the animals, and no one wants to give up any of his own budget.

  2. Joanna from Greensboro Bend says:

    Eep. Now I am a tad worried, what with having two little ones here…Maybe I should move up those plans on getting a dog or two…

    We saw one ourselves, crossing a road back on a drive from New Hampshire – but we didn’t think much of it since it was _so_ far from home, and out in the middle of nowhere.

  3. Anonymous says:

    for the uninitiated, what is the difference between lynx and cougar?

  4. The difference is about 100 to 150 lbs plus coloration and fur patterns. Cougars are much bigger than Lynx. If you’re going to meet one in a dark alley, choose the Lynx.

  5. crystal says:

    I’d like your dogs, a shot gun, and this lady with me just to be safe.

  6. Brandy says:

    I’m surprised they deny their exsistance. Vermont has the climate and landscape that I would assume there were wildcats if no one told me different. If an area is the perfect habitat for an animal wouldn’t one assume that said animal would migrate towards it? I don’t know maybe being from Canada and having run ins with animals where they are not “suppose” to be makes me assume too much.

    Do you just bring the dogs along if your in the woods or do you have a back up in case of a run in?

    Side question about the cottage you are building. Perhaps I missed it but what is going to be the main use of the cottage? Is it going to be your main house? If that is the case what will become of the main house now?

  7. Teri says:

    I’ve seen a lynx from a distance. I was driving up the Gorge late at night and saw it run across the highway.

    As for the cougars in our area, we had two go through last year. Tourists were filming a baby fawn not far down the road when a cougar came out and grabbed it. Our neighbors also saw it. We think they came through one morning and snatched a couple of our chickens. At least out here (SW Washington state), we don’t pretend that cougars don’t exist.

  8. Holly Jeffries says:

    This is Holly. My cousin wrote with these thoughts on cougars:

    We had a cougar on the 7000 acres I lived on in the Blueridge Mts near
    Boone, NC.
    From the tracks it seemed it lived under a tumbled down old cabin and
    it was seen from time to time by hikers once dragging a deer carcass.
    The only one I saw live was in captivity at the Grandfather Mountain
    park. That is one serious looking cat.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I KNOW I saw a cougar/Catamount on my travels near my home in VT (south-central, near Ottauquechee River). This cat came up over the embankment from a heavily-wooded hollow, crossed in front of my car, its shoulders making a “rolling” cat-type movement as it slinked very fast across the road, hunkered down low to the road, not wanting to be seen. It was a very dark color, had a long tail that it held downward (curled up at the tip), and the cat was very long bodied. If my spouse had not been in the car’s passenger seat and seen it simultaneously, he wouldn’t have ever believed me. He has hunted for 40 years in Vermont and never seen one of these cats before that day, approximately 2 years ago. The cat disappeared in an instant, blending in with the surrounding woods. Probably has good “eats” nearby and hundreds of federally protected acres to hunt on. It was definitely not what we call a “fisher cat”. Seen those many times; their shoulders don’t “roll” in their sockets like this cougar’s did.

  10. Good to mention the Fisher Cats which we have seen quite often and are definitely not confused with Cougar or Lynx. My understanding from talking with a local trapper is that the Fisher Cats were introduced in Vermont by the government to reduce the Porcupine population which damage valuable trees and make a mess of dogs faces. Porcupines and mosquitoes I can do without, although I hear the former are good eating. The only good excuse for the latter is they feed dragonflies which are one of my favorite insects.

  11. Brandy, the cottage will become our house. Initially it will be tiny, just the 252 sq-ft, but later we’ll expand it and that is built into the design. Details to follow.

    The current farm house is for sale but the catch is it must be moved. It’s a 200 year old cape farm house. Take a tour of it here. The price is highly negotiable if the buyer can work with us on timing and it is available as parts. That is to say there is the main house, the kitchen el and the horse shed. I wouldn’t mind if the horse shed, a more recent addition got left here for me to use as storage. We also have the old granite foundation stones that will be available too – they were mined just up hill of the tiny cottage and slid down the hill.

  12. Nonsequitur says:

    My own sister & grandmother who live up in northwest VT (Milton) have spotted a catamount during late-night driving. There have been way too many sightings for this to be just a hoax.
    BTW… lovely, interesting blog and nice farm as well!

  13. douglas says:

    It’s frustrating how long it takes to convince the “authorities” of the obvious. Humans are just silly. These animals know how to survive better than we think. We had a home in Wilmington, VT for years and my mom saw a big catamount (cougar) sunning itself on a large rock by the dirt road in to our house. This was in the 1960s and absolutely no one would believe her but she knew what she saw and she described it to a “T.” Cougar.

  14. Teri Lamphere says:

    Hi Walter,
    You emailed me a few years ago after my cougar sighting story was in ‘Livin’ VT Magazine. I am still interested in getting the word out about the cougar situation in New England – the one ‘that doesn’t exist’ because hundreds of people are ‘seeing things’.
    Would you be interested in hosting a seminar on cougars? I have an experienced and knowledgeable contact that has been doing very interesting and informative talks on these amazing animals throughout RI, CT, MA, NH, etc. He would like to speak in VT and Canada starting this Fall.
    Sponsors can be an individual, school, library, town, club, etc. This opportunity can also utilize fundraisers.
    If you or anyone reading this would be interested, then please contact me at and I will relay the contact information to you. I am anxious to hear his presentation and hope to get a few sponsors throughout our great state of Vermont! Thank you, Teri Lamphere

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