I had to run into Columbus yesterday afternoon to mail a package. I have entered the handspun yarn contest open to members of our state guild - Contemporary Handweavers of Texas. I don't expect to do very well since there are several spinners entering who have much greater technical ability than I do, but it's a fun way to stay engaged at the convention coming up the last weekend in May.
I was cruising down the back roads on my way home from the post office when I saw a deer and a newborn fawn on the side of the road. I assume the fawn was newborn because it was small with bright spots of color and still a little wobbly on its legs. Both the momma and the baby bounded safely back into the woods as I approached. We see quite a few deer on our back roads this time of year so I slowed way down. Thank goodness I saw the deer. If I hadn't, I would have missed seeing the bobcat.
I was driving slowly along the road and paying close attention to the verges. Once you see one deer, the next one is probably nearby. I caught sight of something in the narrow space between the pasture fence and the trees. I didn't exactly slam on the brakes but it was close. The creature was low to the ground and moving fluidly into the trees. It was not moving like a dog or like a deer but like a cat. A very large heavy cat. It turned it's face towards me as I approached - Yup. It had a beautiful almost fluffy cat's face with pointy ears. I couldn't see the long hair on it's ear tips. It was a mottled grey/golden brown and almost invisible with that mottled coloring and the dappled sunlight. And it had a short stubby tail. It was more brown than grey and it was gone in a flash. Wow.
I'm of two minds. It's really cool to see an animal that is so scarce out here. We've lived out here for nearly 12 years and this is my first bobcat. And big cats are so impressive. But they are effective predators. I checked with the Texas Parks & Wildlife website. They say bobcats are found throughout the state and generally eat small to medium sized animals like mice, rabbits and chickens. They can also take down larger animals like deer or an occasional sheep or goat but are generally not a big problem for farmers/ranchers. Bobcats are very stealthy, quiet, patient and strong. They have fabulous eyesight in both the light of day and the dark of night. Their enemies include the much larger mountain lion, coyotes and humans.
If I could convince the bobcat to spend a night in my backyard and take care of the damned armadillo that keeps digging holes and rooting around in my garden, I would invite him in. Lacking that agreement, I think I'd just as soon have him not come and visit me and my goats.