I had the rare and exciting experience of spotting a wild cougar in Yellowwood Forest, Brown County, Indiana yesterday, March 17, St. Patrick's Day, around 7 p.m. in the evening while taking my daily walk in the woods. I was not too far behind my property, down near the creek, finishing up my two mile circuit, when I spotted a large creature climbing up the hillside maybe 100-200 feet in front of me. I remembered spotting it as I scanned the hills and then my eyes stopped and came back to it thinking, "What the heck is that?" I could tell whatever it was, it was large, buff colored, with a round head, round ears, sleek fur, muscular, and with a long, slender, "rope like" tail. The tail was the dead give away. No way could it be a coyote. Eureka! My God! It's a cougar! Also known as a Mountain Lion!
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources website says that the possibility of spotting one is "almost non-existent" and "remote". Seems the DNR consistently denies any cougars in Indiana despite sightings. A neighbor about 1/4 mile to the west of my property, spotted one about 15 years ago crossing their back field so the possibility has always been on my radar. I just never dreamed I would be so lucky as to see one in the wild in my own back woods where I paint and hike daily.
I looked up "cougar" in a book called Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews which talks about the significance of an animal totem or an animal that appears in your life. The Keynote term is "Coming into Your Own Power" with a year round "Cycle of Power". The deer, being the favorite prey of the cougar, is another animal to study. The deer is one of my totems so I found that relationship interesting.
Seeing a Mountain Lion in the wild will always stay with me as a very special encounter before he slipped back deeper into the forest and disappeared. Now when I walk the woods, I scan the steep hills for the chance to spot another one.