Three young men come face to face with a cougar in Gales Ferry

Two of my sons and a friend were hiking in the woods near Whalehead and Avery Hill Extension in Gales Ferry (Ledyard area) recently and heard a bounding rustling sound behind them. They turned and found themselves within five feet of what was undoubtedly a cougar (mountain lion) in a pouncing stance, ears back, making a strange chirping sound and also hissing. The three young men screamed at it and the creature retreated. They walked slowly to the street and heard it continue to follow them at more of a distance. We have seen cougars before, in a NJ zoo, and could readily identify one. The young men described it as huge, with a long tail, and muscular. The color was tawny. It was in an area within a copse of pine trees, although the woods have mostly beeches. There are some vernal pools in the vicinity. They came across scat just before they saw the animal. I am so glad the guys did not waste time and try to take a photo, and that we had heard of sightings in the area and read up on how to deal with a cougar "just in case." This is a brazen animal, as the encounter happened within a quarter mile of our house, and to a group of three young adults. Posted by: Caterina Mercone Maxwell Date of sighting: Sunday, October 5, 2014, early afternoon

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  1. Normally I wouldn’t call anyone on wildlife….I believe in live and let live. However, I’m wondering why, if this cat was so threatening…you didn’t call someone? What if someone decided to take the trail right after them? What if the cat gets braver as he comes upon more people?
    In most of these posts, the cat is minding their own business. Here he is threatening and maybe someone should of been called (?) Maybe you did call (?)

  2. The ” so glad the guys did not waste time and try to take a photo” comment makes me doubt the whole story.