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.