Thursday, August 6, 2009

Florida Panther Killed in Geogia

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Why am I Pissed and Disgusted?

Dead Florida Panther

They confirmed that a panther killed last year in Georgia was a Florida Panther.
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"On Sunday, November 16, 2008, a sportsman observed a mature panther or cougar while he was hunting deer in the woods of Troup County, Georgia. The hunter observed the cat from his stand and shot it, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR). The hunter who shot the panther reported the incident to the Department of Natural Resources and has not been charged in the case." (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer) Further more,"DNA tests show the cougar a Newnan man shot in Troup County last November was a Florida panther, and apparently not, as authorities initially suspected, an animal that had been held captive."

Alright, correct me if I am wrong. Panthers are near extinct in Florida, non-existent in Georgia. Everyone knows that they are an endangered species here in Florida. Georgia is just north of Florida. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, when you are deer hunting in Georgia, your license says "DEER," not panther, elk, buffalo, or passenger pigeon.

So explain to me why this "sportsman" shot the panther, and why he isn't being charged?

I don't know about you guys, but I was taught never to point a firearm at something I didn't intend to kill, never to kill something unless I had a good reason, and to always know the law. This kind of irresponsibility is exactly why we have to constantly explain why we have a right to hunt. This is what makes activists of all stripes jump up and down and say "SEE we told you so; all they care about is killing something!

The 140-pound, 88-inch cat was shot by David Adams of Newnan while deer hunting on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land near the Georgia-Alabama border on November 16, 2008. When Adams, up in a treestand, got a scared, he decided to shoot the cat... with a muzzleloader.

I can't help myself. I'm pissed that he shot the Florida Panther for no better reason than he claims he was scared. I don't know about you guys, but I might have waited for that panther to pause at the base of my tree and actually threaten me before I decided it was time to kill him. I probably would have growled first and then maybe hollered at the cat. Hell, I've come face to face with oversized bobcats, manhandled seven foot gators, and relocated cottonmouths, rattlers, and turtles.

For the love of Pete, I'm from New York City, not rural Georgia!

Years ago my wife and kids swear that a panther was on our property, sitting at the base of a tree staring right at us. Two things about that: I have seen a panther twice on highway 301 within a couple of miles of the Hacienda, and I can't deny what they claim to have seen. They have far sharper eyes than I, and Bubby in particular seems to have x-ray vision because nothing escapes his bright blue eyes. As they nervously tried to point him out, I took a blocking position and herded them back towards the house, all the time walking backwards and wondering where my good for nothing dogs where.

To this day they still get shivers when they bring it up.

I don't know... I'm disgusted is what I am... I want the Florida Panther to reclaim his territory, I want him to roam the cypress swamps, hickory swales, and oak hammocks again. I want him to ghost around the palmetto stands and through the scrub and tangles of the ranchlands I hike and hunt.

I want to tread the wilds with the certain knowledge that there are still creatures mightier than I. Creatures that can pounce on you and plunge their dagger like canines into you reducing you to nothing more than fresh cuts of red meat. I don't want a sanitized and safe walk through the woods. I want to feel the hairs on my neck raise when that panther's gaze locks with my eyes, where I feel the same emotion my distant relatives felt when confronting that same panther with nothing more than a hickory stick and pointy piece of glassy rock.

Now I know, what you're thinking. "Albert dang it, you weren't there! How do you know if he was threatened or not?"

That is true, I wasn't there. I don't know the exact details, and I probably wouldn't buy the "I feel threatened" defense unless you were damn near disemboweled. But by golly I am entitled to my opinion, and in my opinion being scared isn't a good enough reason to kill a Florida Panther. Either master your fears, or stay out of my woods!

Damn you David Adams, for stealing that from me, my kids, and ultimately yourself.

What do you think?

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


Wild Ed said...

How could a true hunter feel like he was in danger just by seeing a cougar? If the cougar was stalking him or attacking, but if just within his view he should be charged and prosecuted with a crime. Here is Texas we have an excess of cougars but if someone was to shoot a jaguar or ocelot I have a feeling we would throw the book at them.

Rick Kratzke said...

Albert, you are certainly entitled to your opinion and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
I don't claim to know the whole story either but when it comes to hunting I don't shoot any animal unless I intend on eating it.
Sorry to say I think there is a lot of so called hunters out there that will shoot an animal just for the sake of shooting something and that my friend could someday be the down fall of us legally licensed hunters.

SimplyOutdoors said...

Obviously we weren't there, but I still tend to agree with you, Albert. I believe this guy definitely had a knee-jerk reaction to a problem.

If his life was truly in danger, and he had exhausted all other efforts, then by all means shoot the panther.

But it doesn't sound that way to me, and I'm a little surprised that he's getting off too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can get him to tell the tale here. Has anybody offered him that option?

I spearfish and I don't shoot or eat shark for similar reasons.


Anonymous said...

I searched up this article - it appears to have been a captive animal escaped or released.


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Well put.

It's a joke that he's not facing charges, if he cant read the word ENDANGERED then is he really safe to be walking the streets? Anything could happen! Numpty.

Albert A Rasch said...

That's the old article, the data was released this morning on the DNA analysis. It confirms that it was a Florida Panther, and as far as is known, the only ones in captivity are rehabilitated injured ones. This one is now considered a wandering juvenile male looking to establish territory.

One thing, I was pretty hot under the collar when I read about it this morning, but I still stand by what I said, to wit: There was no need to shoot the animal. Unless it was clawing its way up the tree, I do not believe it was justified. A bit of whooping or hollering would have chased him off pretty quick in most cases. If the man was afraid to come down off the stand because of the panther, then he has no business out in the woods.

I guess I'm still pissed...

Best to all of you!

Doug said...

It is disturbing, but in the aftermath the guy did the right thing by reporting it. I like to think that by reporting it, instead of trying to hide a cowardly act, in his opinion (and I wasn't there) he felt justified in shooting the panther.

I like to hope that people are trying to do the right thing even if we disagree with the final outcome.


Albert A Rasch said...

Well said Doug, and completely overlooked by me. You may very well have hit upon something I didn't realize in my pissed off mood.


Robert said...

He may have reported it for publicity. There is nothing to lose in Ga, because lions are completely unprotected there. Aside from his reporting the kill, I am sickened that Mr. Adams would shoot a rare animal, then justify it by saying he was "scared", even if it is legal in Ga. I have not seen one comment regarding this story which indicates any aggressive behavior on the part of the lion. Bears are protected in that part of Ga, would he have illegaly shot a bear for walking by his stand because he got scared knowing their would be consequences?
There is a risk associated with outdoor activities. Anyone who can't accept the risk should probably stick to the sterile fenced in game ranches where he or she can drive to their elevated hunting house and safely shoot domesticated deer over corn feeders. Leave the alligator and snake dodging, swamp wading, tree climbing, and other true outdoorsman activities to the less timid.


Josh said...

He also could have reported it to cover his arse.

I don't buy it, and I completely concur with your comments, Albert.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the scared excuse was used a couple of years ago by a guy who shot a protected black sea bass in the La Jolla Cove preserve area.

It's pretty much the same thing with most sharks. If you swim at them and yell at them underwater they run. They're not accustomed to being treated that way. (Disclaimer: Southern California, may not apply to great whites over 8 foot. Professional fool, your shark experience may vary)


Albert A Rasch said...


"Professional fool, your shark experience may vary..."

That's a definite keeper Norman!


Anonymous said...

Remind's me of the South Park episode.."Look Ned,that rabbit is attacking! Get out the rocket launcher!"

Bobby Nations said...


I have to respectfully disagree with your rant here if for no other reason than you can't know what you are talking about because you don't have all the facts about the incident, which you admitted more than once in the post itself. The article to which you link gives almost no facts about the shooting except that the hunter was in a tree stand. Interestingly enough, it never mentiones his name or whether he was being charged or not charged. What other sources of information did you use? Could you amend this post to include those links as well so that we could get all get on to the same page here?

Now, it seems to me that the authorities in GA made the call not to charge Mr. Adams based upon a greater knowledge of the hunter's situation and mindset at the time he pulled the trigger. I dislike backseat drivers and second-guessers generally, but especially those who would do so of peace officers. IMO, it's incumbent upon us to give them some respect here by extending the benefit of the doubt instead of presuming that they are falling down on the job as you seem to do (or worse, complicit in a crime).

Finally, referring to Mr. Adams as a "sportsman" complete with scare quotes is asinine. You don't know the man and apart from this one incident you have no data to base your conclusion upon. And what difference does the kind of gun he used to shoot the cougar make in whether he did the right thing or the wrong thing? You got something against blackpowder?

Anonymous said...

So is he potentially in trouble only because it was a wild panther? If it had been as escaped pet then it's okay to kill it? If shooting captive animals is accepted, I don't think I want this guy in the woods or in town! What if little Fluffy the house cat looks at him the wrong way...

Albert A Rasch said...

Bobby Nations,

What does "Hacked by isKorpitx" mean?

Anyway, I freely admit that I wasn't there, and I did add that it was my OPINION, and quite frankly I still stand by it.

I've spent more than enough time in the great outdoors to know what's going on.

I love BP by the way. Now if I felt threatened, I would probably wait for muzzle contact before firing. What I could see from the photos was a shot that penetrated from on high and apparently dead center. Looks like deliberate shooting to me. If you have the time to line up like that, then you have time for other tactics.

Now I don't deny the possibility that luck might have had something to do with it, but maybe I've got a lot more nerve than Mr Adams.

Just google it up and you can get everything just like I did. And last but not least, HE made his decision, and HE made it public record. I just tell the news and give my opinion... just like you are doing.

And while I am at it It is a FLORIDA PANTHER: Endangered, hello! I don't make the rules Bobby, I just want them enforced fairly and impartially.

Look for a post!

Bobby Nations said...

What does "Hacked by isKorpitx" mean?

Yikes, it means that my website has been hacked. Excuse me while I go take care of that.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a hunter but I don't intend to use this comment field to rail against hunters. On the contrary. I agree with you, Albert, on all fronts. It's in expressing opinions like yours . . . on this, on the Michael Vick issue, and on other topics you've addressed here . . . that some semblance of alignment between hunters and us non-hunters can exist. I thank you for sticking your neck out for the animals on multiple occasions -- in the face of dubious actions by people. I think it's a courageous stand, given your interest as a hunter.

From my perspective, your type of diligence and compassion -- with attention to legality and ethics -- tends to help people like me reclaim respect for hunters as a whole. I'm someone who has seen a lot of bad crap out here in the wild west. And I fully realize not everyone with a gun shooting animals can rightfully call themselves hunters. You obviously take your responsibility and power as a sportsman very seriously, and I'm in appreciation and admiration of that.

Let me add, I am a wildlife rescuer -- yep, I save them to be patched up after they've been injured, shot, hit by cars, you name it. And I've encountered any number of potentially dangerous animals throughout my life, including mountain lions, rattlesnakes, etc. I don't carry a gun or weapon. And I'm a smallish woman. So you'd think if anyone could cop to the "I was afraid" tactic, it would be someone like me. Even in my most precarious moments, I have never had to harm any animal in self defense (thank goodness). And like you, I would certainly wait until no other option was possible before I acted against the animal. Because of that, I find a guy pleading this particular line, from a blind, at some distance, to be a pretty lame rationalization.

Like you, I don't know the whole story. But it strikes me as misguided at best, and malicious at worst. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Anyway, thanks for taking a stand when I know it isn't easy to make certain commentary about other sportsmen -- or people calling themselves sportsmen, as the case may be here.

btw: I shared your sentiments about Vick until I learned a few days ago that he was doing positive PR for some anti-dog-fighting campaigns. Now my feelings are mixed. I definitely see what you are saying and concur wholeheartedly. I also see the potential power of turning some kids around by way of his celebrity. I guess we'll see . . .

Albert A Rasch said...

Miss Anonymous,
I wouldn't let Vick's alleged "change of heart" change your mind as to who and what he is.

People have gladly, neigh happily, killed for a lot less than what he makes in a single game.

So in my opinion, he's doing it for the money.

By the way, thanks for stopping by, I try to be fair and equal handed. It is well nigh impossible to explain why I can hunt, and kill an animal, and on the same hunt, stop everything I am doing and risk my neck for another.

Best regards,

Anonymous said...

well the other day i had a baby panther stalk me (thought it was cute but i was a lil curious thinking wheres its mom) near my home...i live in north georgia but im awwed struck by being stalked by a baby panther just wondering freely...see theres good when youve handled tigers before at a reservation once...but...thats a diff story...but that dude shouldent of killed him...if a dude brought it to me i would get my gun and shoot him and say "hows it like now ya cougah shootah!!!"

Anonymous said...

Maybe he should have just pulled out his cell phone camera and took a photo instead? Maybe he didnt want to be called nuts if he didn't have the proof to back it up?? Who knows? I do know this after hearing all of your comments I would like each of you tell me honestly and truthfully, you guys just don't like the fact he shot a couger right? What if it was LEGAL and he had a tag would you feel the same?? What if it was in Idaho or Utah and LEGAL? Would you still feel the same? Let me guess most of you are against the delisting of the wolf too right? Now tell the truth here my fellow hunters????? Or don't you believe in hunting predators???

Wild Ed said...

Here in Texas we have lots of cougar, bobcat and coyote. I will take any in season and be proud of the trophy. Predator calling is one of the great thrills of hunting. The taking of an endangered or threatened species is what gets to me. Sportsman must follow management laws if they expect to continue to be able to hunt in the future.

Albert A Rasch said...


Personally, I don't like the fact that he shot a Florida Panther for no good reason. Unless he's an ignoramus and illiterate, he should have known that the only possible creature with that appearance was a Florida Panther. We all know the Florida Panther is endangered. How hard is that to understand?

If you read everything carefully, we are for lawful taking of game. We are against taking an endangered species. We are against people going into the "woods" unprepared and without courage. We are for hunting in all of its myriad forms, including the now legal taking of wolves in selected areas.

Nothing here could possibly be taken as a dig against lawful and legal predator hunting.

Best regards,

PS you don't need to be anonymous if your a fellow hunter. We disagree here all the time in a respectful manner.

Lindsay said...

The man who shot this panther was charged. I would have given him more, but at least he got something.