A pair of cell phone photos of a cougar in the city limits of Hemphill has been the talk of the town there after they were published online by DailyNewsAndMore.com
The woman who took the photos, Amanda Perkins, says that she saw the animal next to Highway 83 close to Anderson Air Conditioning & Heating. That location is in southwest Hemphill, only about 2,000 feet from the edge of the Sabine National Forest.
According to Perkins, she walked out of her home at about 6 a.m. Saturday to go to work, and she heard several dogs barking outside. As Perkins left, she says that she discovered that several dogs were surrounding the frightened mountain lion.
According to Perkins, she stopped her vehicle and watched the big cat for several minutes before it and the dogs took off running behind the air conditioning business into a wooded area. In that time and despite the darkness, she managed to get two decent photos of the cougar with her cell phone. One shows the cat with its ears back, which is a sign of agitation, and in the other photo the cat has its ears perked up as the dogs were barking at it.
According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, cougars are located in every county in Texas, but their largest population is in West Texas and also the Hill Country.
Parks & Wildlife offers the following information is you ever encounter a mountain lion:
Pick all children up off the ground immediately.
Do NOT approach the lion
Stay calm. Talk calmly and move slowly.
Face the lion and remain in an upright position.
Do not turn your back on the lion. Back away slowly.
Do NOT run.
Do all you can to enlarge your image. Do NOT crouch down or try to hide
IF the lion is aggressive, throw rocks, sticks, or anything you can get your hands on.
If the lion attacks, fight back. Fighting back can drive off lions.
For more information about cougars, visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife website at https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/mlion/