|Ozarks of Arkansas|
Now let me be clear from the start that this mysterious animal or beast or monster or whatever it is has been the focus of an incredibly large number of hoaxes and false reports. One hoaxer even admitted to a researcher that he spread as many false stories as he could to poke fun at the Chupacabra craze that swept through Texas a decade or so ago.
|Small Waterfall in the Ozarks|
I first heard reasonable eyewitnesses talk about the Arkansas Howler in 2004 when I was living in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Several people that I talked to who had seen or heard it or found its prints did not believe it to be a real "monster," but instead thought that a mountain lion or cougar was loose in the Boston Mountains that stretch between Fort Smith and Van Buren on the south and the booming Northwest Arkansas corridor.
Wildlife authorities maintained at that time that there were no native cougars left in Arkansas. Nevertheless, residents who lived in and along the fringes of the Boston Mountains, which are part of the Ozarks, were serious in their claims that a large animal was roaming their neighborhoods.
|Cougar as seen in a USDA Photo|
Be that as it may, they do agree that there could be cougars or other large cats roaming the wild areas of the Ozarks, just believe that if they are there, they were someone's pets that either escaped or were released by their owners when they got too big and dangerous.
|The Ozarks from White Rock Mountain|
Whatever it is, and a recent investigation in Newton County, Arkansas, obtained plaster casts of what a biologist identified as possible Puma tracks (Puma is another name for a big cat like a cougar), the Ozark Howler is very much part of the modern folklore and tradition of the Ozarks.
To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ozarkhowler.