here is an account I found on line by googleing on the search: "cougar sightings tennessee"
Reporter: animal enthusiast
City (of sighting): Hwy 96 near Williamson/Rutherford county line, TN
Time of Report: 25-Aug-06
Color of cougar: tan
Description of sighting:
My mother and I were traveling on Hwy 96 coming back from Murfreesboro toward Franklin, and just as we crossed the county line into Williamson County a large, tan, long tailed animal leaped across the rode.(an impressive distance). Immediately I slammed on my brakes as my mother and I said in unisom, "DID YOU SEE THAT!?!?" We were able to see it as it ascended up the hill a little then, it sat down and faced towards the road. It was AMAZING! At first, I didn't want to report it for fear of being thought crazy but now I know my mother and I are not "losing it." I have seen many many cougars, just not in Tennessee,(and not this close to home);therefore I know what we saw to be a cougar...Just makes you wonder why TWRA refuses to acknowledge their existence when instead they should be educating the public on how humans and cougars can safely co-exist.
If you spend about 10 minutes reading here, you might start to believe they could be in our mid tn woods right now.
There is a real credible story by two men who watched a cougar in west tn for about 5-8 minutes together, each with binoculars at about 200 yds. I am going to continue to research this.
I found a site I think called "the cougar project" that has a cougar spotters guide that goes to great lengths describing the tracks how to tell them from dog prints. It is pretty tough, and requires careful analysis. Twolf, I would like for you to look at this, as you said you saw the big tracks.
There is supposed to be a woman in Sewanee that is compiling sightings, and I am going to try to find out about this.