Turkey hunter survives bout with bobcat in Illinois

spectr17

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Turkey hunter survives bout with bobcat

By JOE MCFARLAND, The Springfield, IL  State Journal-Register

6/10/02

Southern Illinois wild turkey hunter was lucky to escape with a few scratches on his neck after a bobcat pounced on his head April 10.

Dan Woolard says he never realized - until it was too late - a bobcat was creeping closer to the tree where he was calling turkeys with his son at Fort Massac State Park.

"The leaves were dry and you could hear everything in the woods," Woolard reports of the conditions before the attack. "But I never heard a thing."

Although cases of bobcats attacking humans are extremely rare (state furbearer biologist Bob Bluett says he’s never heard of a single case), the Fort Massac cat appears to have been fooled by Woolard’s camouflage and good turkey calling.

Woolard notes he probably didn’t look like a human as he lay beside a tree while using a diaphragm call. His 11-year-old son, Ben, hunched nearby, waiting to take aim at a turkey.

Instead, a creature dropped out of the sky, Woolard says.

"I thought a raccoon had fallen out of the tree," the surprised hunter recalls. "I felt fur and feet and then I looked behind me and saw a bobcat trotting away."

Woolard suffered scratches on his neck where the bobcat’s rear claws dug in. Otherwise, he was merely left in disbelief.

"I don’t know what he thought he was jumping on when he jumped on my head," the Union County hunter says. "But I’m glad I was wearing a heavy head net because his claws could have really caused some damage otherwise."

Bobcats typically feed on voles, squirrels or rabbits, which is a diet suited for their 15-20 pound average weight.

Yet bobcats also are willing to pounce on something as large as a turkey or even a newborn deer fawn.

Joe McFarland can be reached through the outdoors desk at 788-1528.
 

Arrowhead

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That happened to a guy here in NC last year too. Thats gotta rate pretty high on the pucker factor scale.

Voles = meadow mice,field mice
 

Welby

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Thanks Arrowhead.  I'll have to remember that and add it to my vocabulary.
 

MBullism

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Not many bobcats round here, but this spring I called in a yote.... Only 10-12 feet away alternately eyeing my decoys and myself...stayed a couple of minutes, got bored and he left.  I waited a half hour, started calling again and he came back.  I figured the spot was a bust that morning, scared him off and I went to breakfast...  He did come in quiet though...
 

spectr17

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Welby,

Haven't you ever heard of the famous saying:

"Are you a man or a vole?"  :smile-big-blue:
 

TommyCaller

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One time I was hunting and "bigfoot" jumped on me.  Knocked the wind outta me and all then he ran off.  I had no clue he was in the tree above me.  I got several shots off at him which were to no avail because he bent my barrel when he pounced on me.  You can bet everytime I sit down under a tree now, I definately look up!  After he was gone, I realized why he flogged me.  All my dang jerky was missin!:eat-burger:  TommyCaller
 

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