Mark Ferguson, 49, of Louisville, has been hunting since the age of five. In those more than 40 years hunting, he has seen three live bobcats. Earlier this month, he had an encounter with one that was closer than he, or anyone for that matter, would have liked.
Ferguson was hunting turkey on a piece of property in Meade County near the rock quarry on the banks of the Ohio River. He wasn’t doing any calling, and he hadn’t set up any decoys because the birds generally roost in the area. As he sat up against a tree in his chair, which was approximately three to four inches off the ground, in his 3D camouflage facing the Ohio River with a cornfield to his right, he felt something land on his right shoulder.
“I had my gun in my lap, but I guess my human reaction was to get whatever it was off of me,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson reached up to his shoulder, and his gun went flying approximately three or four feet away. As soon as he hit the cat, the creature jumped off and ran to the cornfield on his right. It stopped about five or 10 feet away in a crouched position. Ferguson says he believes the cat was still trying to figure out exactly what he was due to his camouflage, which he believes is a big reason the cat jumped on him in the first place.
Ferguson couldn’t reach his gun, but he could reach his camera that he had brought along, and so he took a photo of the bobcat. As soon as Ferguson went for his gun, the cat was gone.
Ferguson estimates the bobcat weighed between 35 and 40 pounds.
While the cat hadn’t caused significant damage, Ferguson did have a puncture wound on his left middle finger, which was enough for him to immediately get a rabies shot. Several years ago, Ferguson believed he was bitten by a bat, and so he knew the dangers of rabies.
“It kills you,” said Ferguson. “If you get rabies, you’re dead. There’s no cure for it, and I’d rather be safe than sorry.”
Doctors also gave Ferguson antibiotics.
Ferguson advises hunters to always be aware of their surroundings, and if they are injured, play it safe and get a rabies shot. He also suggests using trail cameras to get an idea of what animals are present in a particular area.
While Ferguson didn’t get any turkeys that day, it’s safe to say he did bag a great story.