Hey guys I wanted to share an experience that didn't dawn on me until yesterday and it happened about two weeks ago. Back on Thursday the 21st of April I was out turkey hunting in one area and then decided, after the hunt was over, to go up to my wife's family's farmland and look for those blasted armadillos I had seen there one day. I was armed with my .380acp in my pocket and my Mossberg 702 .22LR rifle.
I walked around the land for a while scouting around and whatnot and eventually made my way back to a spot behind an old house on the edge of a small field area. As it went east it ramped up into a hill with trees and a fence behind it. I went around some trees and started to go toward the hill/ridgeline and noticed a tree down on top of the hill in front of the fence (many trees were down because of the strong storms that had gone through). As I looked at the trunk of the tree, which was around 60 yards from me, I noticed this black shape jutting perpendicular to it. I just stood there and stared at it and it did not move one micron. I kept wondering what it could have been. It was so dark in color it looked like a silhouette and it just didn't move at all. I couldn't figure it out. I just thought maybe it was a tree limb sticking up from behind the fallen tree or something. I wasn't thinking "black panther" or something because you just don't expect to see anything like that. Half jokingly I'm like "yeah, what's that, a demon?". Just a black outline without any features you know. But now that I look back I though I had a feeling that whatever it was was something of significance and was possibly watching me - looking at me - but since I wasn't thinking about it I just dismissed it and started to make my way up the hill and would be going up it and curving to my left toward the fallen tree to investigate the site. I didn't watch that spot while I hiked toward it but I now wish I had. When I got up there all I found was a tree and a trunk with nothing black on it at all. I looked all around for something that would have looked like that and had been that dark in color but I found NOTHING. I even walked back a little and squatted down, trying to simulate the angle I would have seen this thing at and there was NOTHING that would have been right there, at ANY other angle. It was quite puzzling. I even looked off on the other side of the fence and didn't see anything around that would have looked that dark.
After that I walked around for a while more and found the remains of a deer skeleton. Everything was gone but the part of the pelvis that attaches to the spinal column, some ribs, and the skull minus the lower jaw. It had been there a while because the bones were dried out and sun-bleached.
In afterthoughts I realize that cats like to sit and hang out in high spots and that was up on a fallen tree up a hill with a really good view of the long, narrow field below.
I now wish I had had a camcorder or at least a digital camera so I could have at least tried to get a video or a shot of it. Heck even binoculars would have helped me see the blasted thing. Next time I'm down there I'm going to bring the .357 Magnum (maybe sometime a long gun of mine in the .30cal range) with me again and also try to find any possible sign from it too. I even looked into cougar sightings in Missouri and there HAS indeed been a number of reports of people claiming to have seen a black panther in this region. I may be right after all...