Florida Cougar Surprises Turkey Hunter

Many turkey hunters have had a coyote, fox or bobcat stalk a turkey decoy. To these predators, the sound of a hen yelping is a dinner bell.

But a few days ago, south Florida hunter Bobby Reichert witnessed something few others have seen in the wild. As the three photos below show, Reichert had a close encounter of the Florida cougar kind.

”I had set up my decoy on top of a levee that these birds frequent in the later parts of the afternoon to dust and rest,” Reichert said. “I probably had been calling there about 30 minutes when I saw something run into a ditch that was on the other side of the levee. Noticing that it was a cat [cougar] from ears just sticking up over the road, I took out my phone to take photos. The cat leaped and pounced on the decoy, and then it appeared confused as to why the bird didn't die. The cat became curious again and pounced on the decoy a second time. The third charge is when the cat really attacked the decoy and knocked it into the dirt. That's when I jumped up and charged the cat while yelling to scare it off. I was about 25-30 yards from my decoy and got to a distance of about 15 feet before it ran. Through the years I’ve spent a lot time hunting in this area and have seen a couple cougars in the distance, but never had a close encounter like this one.”

FYI: You’ve no doubt heard of the NFL team the Carolina Panthers, and perhaps the NHL team the Florida Panthers; so how common are these cats (panther = cougar) to this region? Click here to find out.

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