The Elk Panther and Mountain Lions
Contributed by Jim Burke
Located about one mile from the intersection of Gardner Hill AND Byrendale Roads as you proceed northwest on the Gardner Hill Road, there is a stone carving of a panther. This carving was done by Andy Shutters in 1991.
When the early pioneers came to the Bennett’s Valley to settle, the local wildlife habitat was much different than it is today. Panthers, Catamounts, and Mountain Lions along with wolves, native Pennsylvania Elk and deer, and some buffalo roamed the country side.
In March of 1853, Erasmus Morey and Peter Smith killed six full grown panthers in the Medix Run area. The largest one measuring thirteen feet from the tip of the panther’s nose to the end of its tail. A panther’s tail averages about three feet long. This same year Jack Long and his father Bill killed five panthers in this same area making a total of eleven panthers killed. In addition, according to early Clearfield County records Morey killed a number of wolves for which he was paid a $12.00 for each wolf.
Panthers, Catamounts and Mountain Lions are very similar animals. According to various experts, they can be distinguished by the length of their tail. The tails average for Panthers about three feet, for Mountian Lion about two feet and for Catamounts somewhere in between which may lead one to the conclusion that they are a cross between between a Panther and Mountain Lion.
There have been reported sightings of Panthers over the past several year, but as of this writing there has not been any official documentation of these sightings.