The Saga of the Lonesome Bobcat of the South Canadian Willow Breaks by Guest Blogger, Ronald T. Noyes.
It all started out as a normal coon hunt one Saturday evening about dusk–we picked a spot a few miles NE of Leedey, OK along the west side of the southern swing of the South Canadian River. Someone had reported seeing some really big coon tracks around the crawdad and frog laden water holes along the channel, just before the river swung to the east.
We parked the trucks, and walked our five dogs (one black and tan, two blue ticks, one red-bone and one mixed breed) down close to the river channel, and turned ‘em loose. It wasn’t over two-and-a-quarter minutes till they set up a clamor and headed north like a runaway freight train. After runnin’ about two-and-a-half miles, they started baying “Treed!”
As soon as we caught up to less than a mile — we could hear all the dogs and what they’d treed real good This was no ordinary Big Boar Coon the VCDs (vicious coon dogs) had treed. Never heard a coon growl and scream like whatever was up that tree. And never heard our five VCDs as excited as they were that night. They sounded like they had hit the Mother Lode of ALL Treeings!! Turned out, they HAD!! We could clearly read the sounds of “bobcat” – Big Bob Cat!
Well — that old bob cat (OBC) was a whomper. You could hear that bugger real clear for more’n three quarters of a mile as we walked rapidly, almost jogging, heading north along the west bank of the river, carryin’ our coal-oil fired lanterns. Our dogs were really ‘talking’ (more like howlin’) up a storm!!
Old Tracy was carrying his powerful 7-cell (well – maybe it was just a 6-cell – it’s hard to remember down over the years – but I remember it was LONG and it was really HEAVY) focus beam, long range, spotlight slung over his shoulder on an improvised home-made carry sling strap made out of soft imported South American goat hide.
As we got within about 200 yards of the ”Scene of the Crying” and bawling, and bayin’ and screechin’ –Tracy slid to a halt — we other four guys almost plowed right over him – we was itching to get to the action.
He switched ON his powerful, long range search light beam — WOW!!! — there, high in the old shag bark hickory snag was the glare of a huge pair of yellow fluorescent eyes. Those glowing eyes cast a spell on us. The dogs even stopped bawlin’ and bayin’ for a few seconds when they saw the powerful light illuminating that monster with his huge glowing eyes that they had up pushed about 45 feet up that old dead tree.
That bugger would probably have weighed in at a good 60-70 lbs. That would be like tacklin a 110 lb badger or a 40 pound wolverine! That ole bobcat was shifting around up there on the big limb, about ready to come down for a fight – till we held him in the big light!
We walked slowly up to within about 40 ft of the tree, which put us at a good angle to study the situation. Hmmmmmm!!!! NOT Good!!
These VCDs had mixed it up and duked it out with some pretty big ole boar and sow coons in the past four or five years, but they had never seen, or smelled, or heard a coon with no goggles, no ring tail, and so much fight! This one was not one of your standard pudgy big fat coons – this critter was long, lean, lanky and powerful looking, with big teeth, and what a VOICE – more like a continual SCREAM. ROWWW EAYOU!!!!
We knew we were looking at major trouble! Our VCDs had unwittingly treed one of the biggest bobcats sighted along the South Canadian River in the past 40-50 years – maybe longer! This was a serious veteran bob cat (VBC)! We were facing DANGER!!
IF/when that critter came down out of that tree, there would be major damage when that Big Cat and our dogs mixed it up — tomorrow, some dogs could be missing ears, and other extremities — some VCDs might not be with us tomorrow.
So, we made a collective command decision – we pulled out our dog leashes, corralled and hooked up the dogs, bade Mr. or Ms. Bobcat have a long life, called it a night and headed back to the road and our trucks.
The VCDs were really PO-ed – they howled and bawled, lunging back toward the river against their leashes — all the way back to the trucks. There was no lack of fight in those VCDs – but sometimes they just didn’t use “good dog sense.”
That was onehelluva coonless coon hunt …
Thanks, Prof. Ron. Some nights you never forget. What about you … ?