While You Were Sleeping

I have a story for you now. This is something that happened while you were sleeping. Well, maybe not, but it is something you can’t see unless you are in the woods. I went hunting this morning; walking along my raked trail with my 100 year old heirloom rifle, looking for a Waverly whitetail with massive headgear. Well, my trophidus cervidae never materialized but I saw something that made my pre-dawn excursion through the pines and hardwoods worth getting out of bed for at 4:00 AM. I was standing on the trail alongside a tulip poplar  scanning the woods for any sign of movement; the twitch of an ear, the flick of a tail, or the blatant swagger and bravado of a rutting buck on the prowl. As I looked to my left I saw something that I thought for a split second was a fawn (my brain was fully engaged in “expecting to see a deer any moment now” mode). Almost immediately though I realized it was not. My next thought was coyote, but it only took a second to dismiss that as well. What I was looking at was the ghost of the woods – a bobcat. This is only the third one I have ever seen live before, and I have never been so close to one for as long as I was today. I watched it as it trotted along, angling towards me as it came closer… closer… closer. I stood perfectly still as it trotted up, less than 10 yards away from me, totally oblivious that I was standing there. Suddenly, just before it was about to walk straight into me I caught its eye. It froze, its eyes locked on mine. I could almost hear its heart rate triple as it crouched down, leaning back on its haunches the way a domestic cat does when it spots a dog at close range. We stood there looking at each other for a good 30 seconds in very close proximity to one-another. It was the most beautiful animal I have ever seen in the wild. He looked like he was trying his best to be invisible while thinking “how did I get myself into this situation, and how do I get myself out.” Finally I think it convinced itself that I could not see it, and since I was neither walking away nor moving toward it, it began walking backwards, s-l-o-w-l-y easing away from me, keeping its eyes locked on me and crouching as close to the ground as it could get. After it had backed up several yards, it started to very slowly turn around so that its back was to me and began to trot away, still slinking as low as he could go. When it got about 25 yards away it began to canter faster and finally disappeared over the hilltop.

This was one of the coolest in-the-woods experiences I have ever had. I cannot imagine the odds of being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to have such an encounter with such an elusive creature. I didn’t come away with a buck in the truck, but I definitely had a smile on my face. God is good.

Anybody else have a close encounter with a bobcat, or any wild critter for that matter?

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Posted on January 19, 2013, in Hunting and Wild Game Recipe Blog Entries and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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