A guy from VA saw this video and wrote me: Hanback you’re from VA, you ever seen or heard about any cougars here?

I’ve never seen one here, but I’ve long heard stories from hunters across the state who swear they saw one in the woods. I’ve heard all the conspiracy theories, like “the state knows they are here but won’t admit it.” Some people have gone so far as to accuse the state of secretly releasing cougars into the VA woods. But you hear stuff like that anytime somebody in any eastern state claims to see one.

While the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries mentions the eastern cougar in its species booklet, it never comes out says we have the big predators. According to the state, there have been 121 possible mountain lion sightings across the state, but none has been officially confirmed.

Regarding cougars in the Tidewater region where the 2009 video was made, a wildlife official said in this article from 2010: “I’d never rule it out… But you’ve got to understand. I’ve been chasing mountain lion reports for nearly 26 years, and I have yet to find any physical evidence that they still exist in the wild in Virginia. No bodies. No fresh kills. No hair. No scat. Nothing.”

The animal in the trail cam picture in the video is most certainly a lion, though you never see its long tail clearly. The guy in the video looks and sounds Tidewater legit, so I’d say we had at least one cougar in the state 4 years ago.

Whether there are any big cats here today remains a mystery, but I’d say it’s possible.