Hunting the Ozark Howler
A view of America's most elusive quarry from an Arkansas huntsman
Maintained by Frank Wall
With assistance from Lisa Leigh
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The Quarry: The Ozark Howler, a cat-like creature known well to hunters in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Missouri.
The hunter:

Frank Wall Experienced hunter of stag and fowl
certified hunting guide for waterfowl
25 years field hunting experience - from the time I was "yay high"!
Missouri native, born and bred
Amateur history buff, helps with Cole, Missouri historical archives
proud father to two boys and husband for 10 years

I first got interested in the Ozark Howler from listening to the guys my dad went together to process his deer with. They'd always tell stories, a lot from people they knew and a couple incidents of their own! Well, I've been a full grown huntsman for a good number of years now, and I've set my sights on this most elusive of quarries: the black cat of the Ozarks!

I've learned quite a bit of what I know about Ozark Howler from Lisa Leigh, local journalist who's taken a professional interest in the development of the Ozark Howler story. You can read a good number of her articles in local papers, and she's been successful even in getting coverage of some Ozark Howler sightings on local TV news! If you want a true authority on the Ozark Howler, talk to Lisa.

I decided I wanted to understand the Ozark Howler from another perspective: that of the hunter. Hunters are some of the best biologists there are, we know our quarry, it's habits and where it lives.

There's some sort of academic debate about what the Ozark Howler is and what it isn't. Well, all I know is that it exists. There are just to many people who have seen the thing to ignore it any more and say that it isn't an "important question".

Folks I know mostly agree that it's a pretty big cat, much bigger than the bobcat or lynx that professors who haven't even seen the thing say it probably is, explaining away the important differences, like the long, stocky body, the dark thick fur, the consistent reddish cast to the eyes, and the appearance of both horn-like and beard like appendages on the head. It's easily close to three feet tall at the shoulder, and I'd like to know what bobcat gets to be that size! I'm a hunter, so don't try to kid me!
The Ozark Howler:
The problem with trying to find out more about the Ozark Howler is that, like most cats, it's nocturnel. That means that it mostly moves around at night, and I can tell you from experience tracking cats that if it don't want to be found during the day, it won't be. I have a friend who kind of takes up a hobby of nature photography, and she tells me that there's just not much chance of ever getting up close to a wild predator during the daytime, at least close enough to get a detailed sort of description.

The upshot is that most sightings of the Ozark Howler have taken place at night. See, it gets confusing because almost everyone insists that the Ozark Howler has black fur. Now, it could be dark brown or even very dark red, but you just can't tell that in the dark or even dusk-like conditions.

The Question:

People who spend their time researching animals like the Ozark howler are finally admitting that it almost certainly exists, but then they say that it's not as important as the beast of bodwin moor, which is clear complete across the Atlantic. Can someone explain this to me? Why hasn't good research on the Ozark Howler caught up with all of the sightings?
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