Man vs. Bobcat. Or maybe a squirrel.

This weekend I got into a firefight with a gigantic bobcat that tried to eat me in the dark woods at the back of our property.

I don’t actually know if it was a gigantic bobcat, because the night was pitch black. My friend Ryan says it was probably a squirrel. All I know is that it kept coming my way after I shouted out a curse-laden warning that I was getting ready to shoot. Why was I deep in the woods in the middle of the night? Because Wife thought she saw a fire on the back acres as she was driving home. How do I know the noise wasn’t one of my boys? Because they have the good sense not to go slinking off deep into the animal-infested woods in the pitch black night, so far back that the light from your house is just a dim glimmer nearly obscured by tree branches and bobcats. Or maybe those were just bushes. All the same, I aimed high. I figured the noise would frighten away the approaching mountain lion. Or bobcat. Or squirrel.

In this I was wrong. A 9mm round is not nearly so loud outdoors as it is on the shooting range. The leopard (or mountain lion, or bobcat, or squirrel) kept rustling through the tallgrass in my direction. So I did that thing where you sweep the terrain with your flashlight and your handgun, first in front and then behind, while you slowly extract yourself, which looks pretty cool in the movies, but mostly just makes you think about how whichever way you’re looking, the Kodiak bear — or leopard, or mountain lion, or bobcat, or squirrel — is probably directly behind you and licking its lips.

So what did I learn from this? First, that I need a real flashlight. A man flashlight. The kind that could light up an entire football field. Second, I need a real shotgun. A 12-gauge, pump-action widowmaker. Third, if there really is a fire in the woods, we’ll be able to see it in plenty of time, so there’s no need to go looking for it. Fourth, whatever Indian blood I got from my father didn’t take, because I’m about as useful in an outdoor, man. vs. nature situation as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.


  1. TWilson

    Maybe you could combine your needs into a barrel-mounted light, like some SWAT teams have? Or even more manly, some infrared night vision goggles and a laser pointer.

  2. Bitter

    As amusing as this scene is to picture, I will be slightly serious when I suggest a SureFire flashlight. My boyfriend has one that he keeps on his belt (useful in his IT work, as well as the woods) and if he bends over the wrong way and accidentally turns it on while it is still in the case, it has been known to burn a hole through the case.

  3. Donna B.

    Of course, I’d recommend a shotgun. Though we live within the city limits, there is a 400 acre wood behind our house. Deer are abundant, as are coyotes. No bobcats sighted, though that’s not out of the question.

    You can’t out do my hubby with flashlights. He’s got this 1000 candlelight thingy that lights up the whole neighborhood. And annoys the wild animals, which make the domesticated ones bark and whine… but, what the heck? Ya know?

  4. Billy M.

    That is hysterical…thanks Tony, needed the laugh this morning! We had a company called the O’Gara Group come by the office recently for a presentation. They have the coolest night vision goggles….as well as 3-inch bullet proof glass for your car if you’re ever in the market.

  5. nichole

    Thank you for the morning chuckle.

    We have a couple of those large rechargeable hand-held spotlights at our house. They are great for checking out noises in the country at night, e.g. kids partying alongside the gravel road, coyotes in the chickens, etc.

  6. Ken Larson

    Most animals tend to fear man as much as we fear them. That mean, ravenous, snarling squirrel, oops I mean bobcat, was probably paralyzed by the shock of seeing you. You were never in any danger, mighty hunter friend.
    A bigger gun AND flashlight never hurt, though.

  7. Marc V

    Sounds like you need to build a fire-tower lookout! You may even convince the boys to use it as a clubhouse. Maybe. You could have better luck selling the idea to your wife if you include tornado-spotting duties as well.

  8. Whitney

    Perhaps it was a stoat. I actually have never seen a stoat, but I have been fearful of them ever since it was my random word of the day via – small furry animal my patootie!

  9. Steve

    We live in the transitional area between suburb and farmland that has now been given the quaint if not disturbing term exburb outside Philadelphia. We own a small plot of land, 2 acres, which is probably the smallest piece in the neighborhood. There’s a small herd of deer that routinely run through our property, a fox whose taken refuge in our treeline, a groundhog under the front porch and by God the other night there indeed was a bobcat in our trash. Had I had your lady light I might have gone out and confronted him, lacking such a weapon I chose to watch from the porch door and allow him to enjoy the remains of the pizza dinner from the other night.

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