Hunter searches for the 'Beast of Boonah'

The footprints left by the ‘Beast of Boonah’ on Ron Horner’s property.
The footprints left by the ‘Beast of Boonah’ on Ron Horner’s property.


MYSTERY CREATURE: Ron Horner of Fassifern Valley believes a large black cat lives on his property on the west side of Mount French.
MYSTERY CREATURE: Ron Horner of Fassifern Valley believes a large black cat lives on his property on the west side of Mount French. David Nielsen

THE BEAST of Boonah lurks in the wild ranges of the Fassifern Valley.

But what exactly is it?

To answer that question and find out more about a recent sighting of a large black feline creature, The QT paid a visit to former kangaroo, wild pig and feral cat shooter Ron Horner on his property near Boonah.

A few weeks back Ron saw a large black cat near his home. This followed two other telling incidents that pointed to a large cat living in the vicinity.

"Out the front over two or three nights the plovers were going berserk," Ron recalled.

"They are the best guard dogs you will ever have. They just go ballistic.

"The first two nights I didn't worry but the third night I said 'There has got to be something out there'."

Ron went out with his underground mining torch and shone his light around.

"And there was this big black cat," he said. "It turned around and I saw its back haunches and side.

"It was bigger than any feral cat I've ever seen.

"It was big boned and its front shoulders moved the way big cats do. As it went and lay down in the grass we could see its piercing yellowy-orange eyes."

As the giant creature slinked away Ron thought back to Easter last year when he had pegged a couple of pelts on to a sheet of marine ply for tanning. He'd left the pelts on a tank stand late in the afternoon.

"But when I went back the next morning I found that the ply sheet had been dragged on to the ground and the pelts were gone. There were large scratch marks on the ply where the beast had ripped off the skins, and in the process dragged the ply sheet off the tank stand and on to the ground. A feral cat would not have the strength to pull the sheet of ply off."

Then in the middle of last year Ron's partner Susie found very large animal tracks leading from the house along a bulldust track.

She took photos of the paw prints and made plaster casts that suggested an animal with a print similar in size to a cougar or panther.

There have been numerous sightings in the area and around Pine Mountain of a black panther-like creature. NSW's Emmaville panther, thought to have escaped from a travelling circus, is the most famous such creature.

The area around Ron's place is wild, overgrown country where a large cat could easily live undisturbed.

The footprints left by 'The Beast of Boonah' on Ron Horner's property.
The footprints left by 'The Beast of Boonah' on Ron Horner's property. Contributed

"I spoke to a few locals and they said when the American troops were over here in the war some of them had cougar or panther mascots," he said.

"When the war finished they couldn't take them back and they had to let them go. When you isolate the sightings you often find they are where there US forces were based nearby.

"From my research on this issue I have heard from locals in the Boonah area that many years ago, there had been something large in the area which took a horse and goats. The goats were found to have saliva covering their heads as if they had been picked up and taken in the mouth of the beast."

Ron grew up in the bush of western NSW and was a professional kangaroo shooter, pig hunter and dingo eradicator.

"In the late 1970s I was on an eradication program for feral cats and foxes," he said.

"I was fortunate enough to shoot several feral cats and some of them were as big as a fox. So I know how large they grow.

"But at no stage were there any cats of the significant size of the one I saw or that had footprints of the surface area of those plaster casts."

A plaster cast of the giant footprint left by 'The Beast of Boonah'.
A plaster cast of the giant footprint left by 'The Beast of Boonah'. Contributed

Topics:  cougar editors picks panther ron horner

State steps up to tackle Swanbank's big stink

Ipswich City Council has fined Wood Mulching Industries at Swanbank $11,000 for development application breaches.

Odour detecting device to be in place by 2017

SUV passenger attacks pedestrian in city assault

Police Remembrance Day march to Brown's Park in North Ipswich on Thursday.

The assault is alleged to have occurred at about 10am in Ipswich

Local Partners

Workmates honour crash victim with tribute

UPDATE: Tanya Lyell is being remembered as a young mother dedicated to her family and work as the town she called home mourns its loss.

This week's community billboard

Learn woodworking and crafting with the Ipswich Woodcrafts Club.

A daily guide to what's on in Ipswich over the next seven days

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Things to do this week

Dragon play Ipswich Civic Centre on Friday October 28

What's on in Ipswich

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Bindi Irwin named in MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals