From the moment Trevor called me up on the office mobile phone, I knew it was going to be an interesting evening.

What with numerous sightings, grisly reports of dead rabbits, missing deer and pet cats, Trevor and his assistant Sharon Rixon certainly have their work cut out.

I arranged to meet the pair opposite the 16th hole at Wycombe Heights Golf Course, Rayners Avenue, just after 6.30pm on Saturday.

I sat in my car, relaxed and admired one golfer's impressive swing possibly in an attempt to keep unsettling thoughts of being eaten alive at bay.

It wasn't long before Trevor's blue Ford Escort van hurtled around the corner and screeched to a halt.

Out came Trevor, mobile phone in-hand, bellowing: "What do you mean you've caught it? Have you got it? It's bitten you?! What?!".

Trevor, who lives in Totteridge, High Wycombe, was dressed in a combat jacket, black jeans and a baseball cap displaying the logo of his company Animal World, which, among other things trains animals for television.

The burly tracker stayed on the phone for five minutes, pacing around and getting annoyed - all 6ft of him.

"I hope this bloke's not a nutter", he announced, while unloading an intriguing lasso-style grabber from the back of his van. 'I hope he's not either', I thought, 'Maybe this bloke has tussled the beast to the ground - I can almost see the headline now..."

Rather predictably, the man on the other end of Trevor's phone turned out to be a joker. He claimed to be wrestling with the elusive Beast of Bucks at the 16th hole. When we told him we were staring directly at the16th he claimed it was the 18th, the 20th and so on.

So, after all the initial excitement it looked as if my time to meet the beast had not yet come my nice clean trousers had been saved.

Trevor, on the other hand, is no joker. A former keeper at Windsor Safari Park, he knows what he's doing. He told me he has not long been back from Thailand catching crocodiles. He's got the scars to prove it. He showed me.

He said: "People think I'm brave working with dangerous animals but it's just what I do. I can deal with pain, I have to in my job."

Trevor sent Sharon to carry out a quick check of the course keeping contact with her via a walkie-talkie. She reported it was all quiet; no sign of any mountain lions, no fresh paw prints and definitely no screaming golfers.

At this point I wandered off to ask a couple of middle-aged putters what they'd do if they were confronted with the cat. They both shrugged. One of them, who did not want to be named for fear of ridicule, quipped that they'd smack it with a golf club. But it's funny that when I told him there really was a puma on the loose, and the police were involved, his face took on an almost fearful expression. I'm sure they finished their game a little too quickly.

Severed squirrels' tails and the discovery of a ravenously mauled dead domestic cat at the course certainly suggest a killer is on the prowl. More recently staff at The Papermill, London Road, reported the shock-find of several half-eaten rabbits in nearby fields.

But standing with Trevor and Sharon, notebook and camera at the ready, I confess I felt more threatened by the way passers-by were looking at us than by any big toothy animal.

After a brief and final scan of the course Trevor slammed his binoculas on the bonnet of my car.

"The problem is you have to be very, very careful of the nutters", he warned. "There have been reports all around this area but there are lots of people who don't believe them. The trouble is a lot of genuine sightings go unreported because people think they are seeing things or they'll get the mickey taken out of them."

Since last Monday Trevor has put all other work on hold, going up to the course every day and night in an attempt to track down and trap the Cougar and deliver it safely to a zoo.

Really, it is no laughing matter. There have been countless reported sightings of big cats in Bucks for as long as many can remember. Until last week a sighting was never confirmed.

Trevor believes there could be a number of wild animals living in enclosed areas of the county, which occasionally stray out to public areas to feed on rabbits and small mammals.

He told me that he recently caught a small leopard in Surrey but went on to say that catching up with wild cats is always a tough job.

"It's like looking for a needle in a haystack. They could be anywhere. The first thing we have to find is where it's living. It won't be lying in a different bush every night. It will be settled somewhere comfortable and familiar."

Graham Lowe, manager at Wycombe Heights, said the puma was spotted by a farming couple as well as the golfer who first reported it to the police.

I shared this information with Trevor and the three of us headed up to the farm to find out more. All we got for our efforts were polite looks and a close encounter with three particularly vicious looking geese.

As it approached about 7.45pm I began to realise that my chances of seeing the legendary Beast of Bucks were fading faster than the daylight.

Trevor decided it was pointless to continue until he got another positive and reliable sighting. Slightly disappointed, I had to agree.

As I drove back to spend the rest of the evening in front of the telly, Trevor's last words echoed around my head: "All I can do is wait really. What concerns me more than anything is that members of the public are spotting this cat and not reporting it because they think people won't believe them. But it is out there...and I'll catch it..."