Jesse Feary is not going possuming alone after shooting what he believes is a baby big cat.
A North Canterbury possum hunter has vowed never to go in the bush alone after encountering what he believes to be Canterbury’s mysterious big cats.
Jesse Feary was out near the Ashley Forest last weekend when he got his first scare.
“I saw something on the other side of the gulley, so I took a high shot to see what it was,’’ he said.
“When it ran off, the speed it moved at … I won’t go up there on my own any more.’’
* Big cat sighting at Burkes Pass revives mystery
* Mid Canterbury’s black panther sighted again
* ‘I know what I saw’: Woman claims ‘large cat’ loose in south Marlborough
On Friday night Feary and a friend went out spotlighting for possums when they saw what they thought was a deer.
“We walked around, got to the gate and shone the torch around when this black streak just ran across the track.’’
After the previous weekend’s experience, Feary wasn’t taking any chances.
“I spotted it, not even 100m away from us,’’ he said.
“It was down as low as it could be, and coming for us.’’
He shot the cat from about 50m and said he was sure it was the baby of the adult cat he witnessed last week.
“I do a lot of possuming, I see wild cats all the time.
“Normally they are quite scrawny but this is monstrous.’’
Feary said the cat weighed in at 11kg, with a 45cm tail and 14mm fangs. Stretched out it was 1.05 metres long.
He estimated the adult he saw the previous weekend would be about twice the size.
An average domestic adult cat weighs between 3 and 6kg, although the larger maine coon breed can exceed 8kg in adult males.
In July, overweight Wellington cat Mog Mog began a weight loss programme after tipping the scales at 10kg – considered double the healthy weight for a cat.
Feral cats can grow larger than domestic cats, although the largest male captured by the Department of Conservation, in the South Island high country, weighed 7kg, still 4kg shy of Feary’s specimen.
There have been reports of big cat sightings for years across the South Island, particularly in Canterbury.
In 1977 Kaiapoi resident Frances Clark reported a close-up sighting of a tiger, but her story was only vindicated once large paw marks and droppings were discovered later at nearby Pines Beach.
In 1996, a large black cat, about the size of a Labrador, was reportedly seen by a woman mountain biking near Twizel.
Two years later something resembling a mountain lion was observed near Cromwell, and residents of Mataura described seeing what looked like a bobcat.
In 1999 a black panther was spotted in the Mackenzie Country then Banks Peninsula, followed by beasts including the Moeraki mountain lion, the Lindis lion, and the Ashford black cat.
Crdit: Source link