I spent countless hours scouting an area in central Idaho where I was seeing four five-points and a big six-point bull elk daily. On opening day, I left my house so I could get to this spot a couple hours before sunlight.
When I arrived in the unit, I couldn’t believe how many hunters I saw. The spot I had been scouting was covered with hunters. At this point, I walked a few miles trying to find solitude, to no avail.
After a long unsuccessful day, I decided the next day I’d start looking for mule deer. On the way out I had noticed a small four-point buck bordering private property. After getting permission from the landowner, I shot the buck and took it down to the main road.
I didn’t want to dress it out right on the main road, so I loaded it in my pickup and found a better location.
I got the deer taken care of and was just picking off small pieces of fat when I saw something out of the corner of my eye, really close to where I was working. My first thought was, “What the heck is a house cat doing out here in the forest.”
A split-second later I noticed it was a bobcat. My first thought was that I needed to get a picture so my friends would believe me. I slowly unzipped my backpack, trying to be quiet. It was then I realized that the bobcat wasn’t scared of me at all; he was hungry!
After a bunch of pictures, I got out my phone and texted some people to see if the season was open for bobcat. In the meantime, I got out my gun and set it on a log next to the deer, still waiting for a definite answer.
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While waiting, it was clear the bobcat wasn’t leaving, so I began to throw it some scraps. It would take the scraps about 20 feet uphill, where it would munch down the scraps and come right back for more. The bobcat continually walked around me – even walked right in front of my .300 – and I decided I couldn’t shoot him regardless.
I continued to take pictures and a video where it was munching on the entrails of my deer. A lot of people couldn’t believe how close I got, worried it
might turn on me and thrash me, but the entire time it was there, it would just innocently wag its tail. I knew it was still a wild animal, though, and by the end of the video, I did think to myself, “Wow, this thing could easily give me a good swipe on my arm with the video in its face,” but it never did.
My new friend hung around for over two hours, continually grabbing scraps. I was out picking up trash around camp with the bobcat still hanging around when another hunter came by on his ATV and the bobcat slowly walked out of sight.
The hunter asked if I had shot it, and I explained I didn’t and that it was still right up the hill there. After he left, the bobcat came back and grabbed the deer hide and dragged it up the hill to its eating spot.
After it was dark, I decided to hop in my truck to eat some food and let my phone charge so I could set my alarm for the next morning. A half hour later, I came back to see if the bobcat was still there. In that time, he had completely covered the gut pile with brush and big sticks to where you couldn’t even notice it from the road a couple feet away.
I’m not the biggest fan of cats, but this was definitely the wildest experience I’ve had with a wild predator; one I’ll never forget.
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