With two longbeards already tagged, Kevin Walter of Manassas, Va., was having a pretty good spring—but the most exciting moments of the season were yet to come. When the gobbler he was working this morning went tightlipped, Walter, a wildlife biologist at Fort Belvoir, set up in a new area on the side of a hill.
“After sitting for a few minutes I looked downhill and spotted a bobcat making its way toward me,” he said.
As the cat approached within 10 yards behind him, Walter took out his camera phone to record the seldom-seen animal.
“When it got directly behind me, I gave a few squirrel distress calls,” he said. “That stopped it in its tracks, and it peered around a tree to look at me.”
Walter thinks the shape and black color of the phone, and what may have looked like the eyes of a meal to the bobcat (the camera lens and flash windows on the back of the phone) triggered a predatory response. The cat began to stalk the fully-camouflaged hunter, who kept the camera rolling.
“It stopped about 4 yards away with its tail flittering about. Then, just like that, it jumped right at my phone, which was next to my face. I swatted it away, and it bounced off my arm and took off like a bat outta hell through the woods.”
Walter received no injuries. That’s one lucky hunter—and one bewildered bobcat.