Missouri turkey hunter attacked by bobcat

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Missouri turkey hunter attacked by bobcat

Associated Press

5/1/03

AGENCY, Mo. -Even with cuts on his scalp and a slightly bruised eye, Zach Prescher still has a hard time convincing people a bobcat attacked him.

But the 18-year-old Prescher said that's just what happened Saturday when he got between the bobcat and a turkey decoy.

Conservation agent Kyle Carroll received a call from Prescher reporting the attack. Until then, he said he had never heard of a bobcat attacking a human.

Bobcats prey primarily on rabbits, and sometimes turkeys.

"He's got a story he should sell to `Outdoor Life,'" Carroll said.

That story started around 7:30 a.m. Saturday while Prescher was sitting with his back to a tree in a flood plain 200 yards east of the Platte River near Agency, where Prescher lives.

He was in full camouflage, trying to lure in three big tom turkeys with a box call.

His decoy sat 30 yards in front of him, and his shotgun rested in his lap.

The group of toms and two hens were coming up on his right about 40 yards away. Suddenly, the gobblers startled and scurried away. Prescher said he began to turn to the sound of a noise behind him when a bobcat jumped on his head and spun him face down.

"I was yelling. I didn't know what was going on," Prescher said. "He'd pulled my face mask over my eyes."

Prescher pushed the bobcat off his head. The cat then swatted him in the face, narrowly missing his left eye. Prescher bolted and the animal disappeared into the thick brush as he squeezed off a shot.

Arleasha Mays, news service coordinator for the Missouri Department of Conservation in Jefferson City, said she could find no record of a bobcat attacking a human - ever.

Prescher guessed the bobcat was going for the decoy and didn't notice him sitting motionless in his camouflage until he moved his head.

Carroll said the theory made sense.

"(The bobcat probably) hit him and as soon as it realized he wasn't a turkey, it took off," Carroll said.

Prescher said even his dad didn't believe the story at first.

"Everybody I've talked to can't believe it happened," he said.

But he said he has a ripped fleece coat with bobcat hair on it to convince nonbelievers.
 


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