Greenbrier County officials are scouring the woods near Cold Knob after receiving multiple reports that a lion—an African lion, not the mountain variety—is on the loose.
“We’re treating this pretty seriously,” said Robert McClung, the county’s senior animal-control officer. “Right now, we’re trying to confirm the initial report. Once we do that, we’ll figure out what we’re going to do about it.”
A local hunter, 72-year-old Jim Shortridge of Frankfort, was bowhunting for deer Oct. 17 when the lion reportedly approached him.
“I watched it for more than 40 minutes,” said Shortridge, who owns the parcel of land he was hunting on. “I watched it from my vehicle and from my hunting blind.”
Shortridge first saw the creature as he carried a cooler and his lunch from a vehicle to the 6-by-8 foot wooden blind.
“When I first saw [the lion], I thought it was a deer,” Shortridge said. “Then it growled at me.”
The cat ran away after Shortridge yelled at it. Convinced that the potential threat had disappeared, the slightly shaken hunter returned to his vehicle and retrieved his bow. Shortly after he began hunting, the creature came back.
“It paced back and forth, in front of the blind, about 10 yards away,” Shortridge recalled. “I sat and watched him. I kept shining my light into his eyes. The more I put the light on him, the louder he growled.”
Shortridge remains convinced that the animal was a male African lion. He estimated its weight at 250 to 350 pounds.
“It had a mane, so I could tell it was a male. And I’m sure it wasn’t a bear. Bears are all over Cold Knob. I see six to eight of them every time I go hunting, and I can tell the difference. Bears don’t shake me up at all. This lion made me pretty nervous,” he said.
Rightwing Prof guest-authoring at Maggie’s Farm has a tribute to West Virginia including discussion of the structure of Appalachian clans, ancestors (he had a really sound great grandmother),
I remember my grandfather saying that the one time she had to be hospitalized, he had to arrange the insurance behind her back because she believed insurance was government aid and she didn’t believe in it. She threw away every Social Security check she got in the mail, which even my very conservative, very Republican grandfather though was crazy.
his youth, and snake-handling preachers.
I grew up in the mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and for more than a decade my wife and I have had a second home in Central Pennsylvania, another hot bed of Scots Irish culture. The locals hurry out to restaurants on September 29th to eat goose. The Michaelmas goose tradition survives there. Just about any statement is commonly appended with a secondary affirmative phrase, “so it is.”
These days, we’re living atop the Blue Ridge, which is so narrow that the combined county and state line meanders in a serpentine line along the ridge top, defined simply by the vagaries of the watershed line. Our house is in Loudoun County, Virginia, but our back yard (and pool) is in Jefferson County, West Virginia.
So exploring West Virginia, which I’ve otherwise only seen briefly in the vicinity of Wheeling on Interstate 70, is definitely on our personal agenda. There must be brook trout in those mountains somewhere. Rightwing Prof’s native soil seems to be just about as far west in West Virginia as you can get.