At first, it seemed like a woman screaming in pain. Then we realized it was an animal, and thought maybe it was getting eaten by a larger animal. But the noise kept going and going. Then we thought maybe the animal had gotten hurt and was in pain. I grabbed a flashlight and went out on the deck in my PJs to check things out. I heard animals scatter in the woods. The noise went further away for a moment, but then it came back.
We have a lot of deer that run through our yard, so I figured it was the deer. We also have foxes, too, and other woodland creatures like raccoons, possums, chipmunks, squirrels and more. I could tell it was an animal of substantial size because of the scattering sounds I heard when I shined the light out into the woods, plus the sound itself was quite loud. Eventually I went back inside, and it stopped not too much later.
When we heard the sound again a couple nights later just before we were planning to go to sleep, I decided to record it on my phone so I could share it with you, with friends and family on Facebook, and with people at work, so that hopefully somebody could tell us what it is. (That was the recording I shared last time.) The other nice thing about hearing it a second time (other than the annoyance of not being able to go to sleep until it stopped) is that I was certain the animal was not in pain, because surely it would not have happened two times within three days.
I also did an online search for deer sounds, but none of them fit the bill. I did get a hint from a family member that it could be a fox, so I did a search for fox sounds and found a match!
So glad the mystery is solved, and I'm hoping my little fox friend respects our sleep patterns and keeps his nighttime noises to himself!