Licola 1974 sighting report

I came across your website and the subject evoked memories of my teenage years hunting small game between Glenmaggie and Licola in Gippsland, Victoria, with my buddies. My friend and I were hunting rabbit with .22 rifles and were moving quietly through some green bracken one late spring morning in 1974, when we were both startled to see a large black animal about 200 mtrs uphill from us that was obviously stalking a small mob of grey roos higher up the hill near the tree line. We were concealed well in low scrub at the bottom of the hill, yet had a reasonably good view of the animal as it moved from cover to cover, making it's way diagonally across the hill towards the kangaroos. We were perplexed as to what sort of animal would be stalking game as big as a grey roo, and as we watched it we became convinced that it wasn't canine. At first we couldn't put our finger on what gave us that impression. The animal was slinking fluidly between the tufts of grass in a manner that didn't gel with the way a dog crept up on prey, but as we watched, we realised that the animals tail was twitching and curling like a cats. The kangaroos spooked and bolted into the bush before this "catlike" predator could strike. I'm of the opinion that a dog would have chased the roos immediately, but this creature seemed to just resign itself to the fact they were gone and lay down in the fern whilst checking its options. After a few moments it moved off in the opposite direction to that of it's escaped prey and, keeping a very low profile, it "slunk" off into scrub and out of our view. What we saw was a large, black animal about 1.5 metres long (including tail). It didn't stand up straight while we were watching it due to it stalking prey at the time, but I'd estimate it's height to be about 60cms at the hips if it did. It had a short, "pug" like face, short ears and persistently moved in a stealthy, catlike manner. The creature made no sound at all during the 6 or 7 minutes the episode lasted for and both my friend and I were positive that it was much too large to have been a feral cat, yet it's movement was much too fluid to be a large dog. We never told anyone about it as we were sure we'd be scoffed at... but if it'll help your stats as to sightings of "big cats" in Oz at all ... Then I'm bloody sure I've seen one ! Cheers .......... Rick

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