LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bobcat in the Driveway!

When you choose to live in the mountains you choose to live with wild animals. In most instances, we see only evidence of those animals except for the deer or the occasional 'possom in the garage or flying squirrels. We see scat or prints in the woods and we know there are more dangerous animals living among us but they are rarely seen.

One animal common to the NC mountains is the Bobcat. We know they live in our community although we had never seen one.

Early yesterday morning my husband was going out to the garage and called me in his "you've got to see this" voice. I ran to the door and he pointed out a large cat at the top of our driveway. "It's a Bobcat," he whispered. I immediately slipped back inside and grabbed the camera. From the back of the garage I got a few shots as the Bobcat slowly walked down our driveway. Needless to say, I was standing behind my husband just in case the rascal decided to come on in.



He sauntered several feet down the driveway and abruptly turned and ran toward the woods on the side of the house.


I crept to the driveway and saw him standing near the edge of the woods. I was surprised at how much he looked like a domestic cat, except for his much larger size and his shorter tail.


He was beautiful and I felt privileged to share the world with him if only for a moment. He apparently caught my scent and quickly ran away.

Bobcats are crepuscular, most active at dawn and twilight when they prowl their defined territory for small animals and the occasional deer. The territory can be quite large (4-8 miles), so I'm not terribly concerned about meeting up with this particular cat again. My husband and I will, however, pay much closer attention when walking the dogs early in the morning. As dawn comes later the morning activity of the Bobcat lengthens. In fall and winter, the Bobcat's prey is more active after sunrise.
-----------Bobcats can be legally hunted and trapped in North Carolina from October through February. While I have no problem with hunting game for food, I do detest hunting purely for the sport of killing an animal and most especially for killing an animal for its fur. I'm happy this Bobcat is protected within our community. The Cherokee connected the Bobcat and the Coyote as the twin symbols of wind and fog. We have seen Coyotes here, and now we have seen the wind (Bobcat) as well. I like that.
----------When our two dogs were allowed outside, their sniffers went to extreme alert. They had no idea what had been on the driveway, but they knew it was something different and exotic and they were absolutely fascinated. I think they might have tried to track the Bobcat had they been off-lead. That is, of course, assuming they weren't distracted by a leaf or a mushroom.

36 comments:

Cedar ... said...

WOW,... fantastic shots. How lucky you were to get the camera and get those.

Rae said...

That had to be an awesome encounter. Wonderful photos.

YD, sometimes with Samantha & June said...

Nice photos!

Cicero Sings said...

Nice photos. We have a bobcat in the area too. I caught a glimpse of it a couple of years ago ... stalking a squirrel ... but I scared him up and off like a shot ... so fast I wondered at what I had just seen. Since we have found it's scat here and there ... so I'm ever watchful over Mingus and he is always on lead.

Nature Lovin' Super Mama said...

Wow NC that is amazing...I can't believe how close he let you get. We have bob cats up north here too, but no one ever see them. I learned from a hunter(pro who only hunts for meat) that if you encounter one...most likely they will run away, however with the brave few you just have to scare them off by acting big and making a mean defensive sound. (incase you didn't know)...anyway great pictures you should treasure those forever. Have a great day!

The Thundering Herd said...

Excellent pictures. We saw one last spring, but it was too fleeting for me to get to the camera (he stared right at us from probably 100 yards away - held for maybe 5 seconds - and then ran into the woods).

MMmmm - and I think we have way too much fog, and too little wind around here (coyotes are way too common).

Leedra said...

Thank you for sharing this. Really enjoyed this post. I also would have been standing behind my hubby.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I agree with you on the hunting for food, but not for sport or fur!!
He is spectacular and I am thankful he is protected in your area.

Dog_geek said...

So cool! I still haven't seen one around here, even though I'm sure we must have some.

George said...

You got some great pictures of your visitor. We have bobcats here in the Glade, but we haven't seen any so far.

Rudee said...

Awesome photos! He looks a little skinny. I hope he got what he was after.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Carolyn, I just read in our local newspaper that we have bobcats up here also. (All animals are protected in our area, thank goodness.)

The good news is that they won't hurt humans. They will however hurt other animals --so keep your dogs close to you. They say that IF you hear a loud scream/cry/sound early in the morning or early in the evening, it is probably a bobcat catching a rabbit. They say that rabbits can really scream when caught.

You got some great pictures of your yard guest...

Have a great day.
Hugs,
Betsy

Tina said...

What a great surprise this was!! I would have loved to have this creature visit my driveway!! You did a great job of capturing him..he looks rather young..but what patterns and coloring on his fur.
I am glad he is protected...I just hope he stays within your community!!

Barb said...

Carolyn, You got some photos of a lifetime! I'm surprised the cat came so close with the scents of your dogs around your property. Hiking today, we saw a large coyote - so, now I have the fog - hope I can see wind someday.

jeannette stgermain said...

Great pics! Coyotes have been spotted in our neighborhoods (L.A.!) but no bobcats yet (as far as I know).

robin andrea said...

Yay! Lucky you! What a beautiful creature. Bobcats are one of my favorite animals of the wild. We haven't seen one since March, and I'm longing for another view. This one is a beauty.

scienceguy288 said...

Absolutely beautiful. I have never seen a bobcat, or any other kind of wild cat before, so it would certainly be an amazing experience. I must say that I envy you a little bit right now, but I thank you for allowing us to share in your moment.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Oh, my! You are so fortunate to see such a beautiful creature! I'd be so trhilled.

Bird Girl said...

Absolutely awesome!!! We also have plenty of bobcat AND coyote here in PA but do you think I can see one? NO! What an opportunity and so nice of your hubby to quietly call you out - the pictures are super! I hope to see one someday!

Sam said...

What a cool experience! You guys are so lucky to share your home with so many wonderful creatures.

Jayne said...

THAT is amazing Carolyn! You got such great shots of him too. I think I would have had too much camera shake going on with excitement. :c)

troutbirder said...

This is amazing. I've lived in or near the woods for 45 years, paddled in the North Country and never ever seen a live bobcat! Wow.

Miley said...

Wow, what great pics!!! my mom would have been too chicken!!! I hope I don't run into one of those!!! Thx for sharing!!!

lotsa licks,
Miley

Karen Hargett said...

Great photos! When I lived in rural N. Texas I had the opportunity to see a Bobcat. I was on my way to work and a German Shepherd was running full speed and crossed the road in front of me. I naturally slowed down thinking there were going to be more dogs running - much to my suprise it was a bobcat hot on his trail. Always love your posts - thanks for sharing!

Scattering Lupines said...

I was doing a post this morning on Carl Sandburg's home, which my husband and I visited over the weekend, and I found your blog when I googled "Lillian Sandburg's Goats". I linked back to your post.

Glad to have found you! I'll be back to visit again :)

Ruth said...

The bobcat is much smaller than I expected. What a great sighting and photo opportunity.

Twisted Fencepost said...

What an awesome encounter. And pictures to share too! Yay!!!
Great shots. They are a beautiful critter.
I don't think I've ever seen one in real life, but my Dad swore one ran across the road in front of him way out in the country. It happened so fast it startled him. Wonder what he scented that brought him that close?

tina said...

OMG! You did such an awesome job capturing this cool visitor. I would've kept my distance from him too but it is so great to have these guys around for killing the little rodents that for some reason wish to inhabit our gardens (and eat them). I too have two goldens. Gotta love them! I hope they don't run into the bobcat some morning-if they are like mine they may wish to play and the bobcat may not be so happy.

tina said...

Forgot to say, congrats on your nomination for the Blotanical awards. You are already a winner.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I was using a 300mm lens, so I wasn't so close to the Bobcat as it may have appeared. The driveway shots were taken with me standing in the laundry room shooting through the garage.

We were indeed lucky that he didn't pick us up right away and run. As soon as he sensed my presence, he very quickly ran deep into the woods.

We have lived here for three years and this is our first Bobcat sighting.

wildcatwoodscats said...

Great shot - we see them only at night and they disappear before we can grab a camera! Been having lots of bear encounters tho!

Wendy said...

Wow! Will says he saw one of those while on the school bus one morning. (From the window, the bobcat was not on the bus.)

I haven't seen one, but we did have a black bear in our yard once. Luckily, our dog and the kids were inside at the time.

Kelly said...

Wow!!! How exciting. I would love to share a bit of space with that fellow too. I've only seen a bobcat at the zoo. He really is gorgeous.

dguzman said...

WOW!

KB said...

Those are some great shots! You are privileged to have seen that creature. Every now and then, one of the bobcats in our area becomes bold around people - never threatens them but doesn't run like you'd expect. 'Your' bobcat seemed like he might be kind of bold - letting you take those photos. Or, perhaps he just wanted to be a blog star!

dAwN said...

Wow..what a great sighting!
I am glad that your community protects these beautiful cats!