FL: Hunter says he was attacked by Florida panther
April 9, 2014
Lake Wales hunter Byron Maharrey says he was attacked by a
Florida panther while he was calling turkeys near Lake Kissimmee in
Central Florida. If true, it would be the first recorded panther
attack on a human since the 1800s.
March 17 was a cool
morning, so Maharrey, 77, was wearing several layers under his
camouflage suit. He said that's what probably spared him from
Maharrey believes a big predator mistook him
for a turkey.
"I was sitting back in some broom sedge, and
he heard me calling turkeys," Maharrey said. "Then he saw me
move and decided he saw something good to eat."
animal hit him, Maharrey said, he toppled out of his camp stool and
fell on his gun. Just that fast, whatever had jumped on him decided
this was no turkey and took off through the underbrush.
changed his mind before he bit me," Maharrey said. The hunter said
he caught sight of tawny fur and a long tail before it disappeared,
leaving him with a couple of puncture marks on his thigh and a cut
on his arm, apparently from the critter's claws.
hunter hidden nearby didn't see or hear any of it, he said. Maharrey
said he waited so long to report the attack to state officials
"because I figured nobody would believe me."
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