I first heard it on a Tuesday night. I was on the porch around 10pm giving my latest bum lamb, Gracie, her last bottle of the day. Suddenly there was a feline screech just over the back yard fence. The woods come right up to my fence line and the sound seemed to come from just to the right of my old shed.
At first I thought it was a cat fight. But there was only one cry, and I suddenly thought maybe my Siamese became someone's dinner. I jumped to my feet and began calling said cat. Nothing. He usually stays in front around the carport, so I went to the front porch and called. After a few moments, he came creeping out from under the rose bush and dashed past me into the house.
I decided it must have been the stray that had taken up residence in the barn, and thought no more about it until the next night.
Once again, I was feeding Gracie and suddenly there it was – the same yowl in the same place. Beau rushed to the fence barking and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I've heard cougars cry before when I was a child and knew that this was not it. I locked up Gracie in her cage where we keep her on the back porch at night, and went inside.
I knew I had heard that cry before, but couldn't place it. So I did some surfing on U-tube the next day. Definitely a Bobcat.
The next night, I brought out the .22 my Daddy gave me when I was 12 and laid it on the table on the back porch. I wasn't necessarily interested in killing 'Bob', just scaring him so he would go away. I was making the bottle when I heard him. He was early! I dashed out and put a couple of careful shots into ground just inside the woods. “There, I thought, that will send you on your way.”
Just to make sure though, I set the gun out again the following night along with my book. I fed Gracie and waited. Right on time, Bob showed up. This time I was ready for him. I fired at his approximate area. Suddenly the pig started squealing. I knew I had fired nowhere near the pig, so I decided Bob was stupider than I thought and was looking for a pork dinner. I am no dummy. Facing a Bobcat with a .22 is not bright. I ran through the house and woke Greg, who got Daddy's old shot gun.
Together with our guns, we went down to the pig pen. No Bobcat, and the pig was fine. But a Raccoon was shimming up a tree just on the other side of the pen. He probably decided to help himself to pig food and Porky didn't like it. We let the bandit go. Unless he gets in the chicken house or barn, I won't bother him. But Greg did put a shotgun round into a tree nearby, just in case Bob was still in the area. A blast from a .22 may be scary to an animal, but a shotgun blast is down right terrifying.
This evening I again fixed the lamb's bottle and gathered up my gun and book. I sat there for almost an hour and a half. I heard the hoot owl over near the pond. I heard little screech owl deep in the woods answer. The gray fox gave his funny little yelp down in the hollow. And the local skunk ambled across the yard upsetting the rooster. But no Bobcat. I think maybe he's decided to give us a wide birth from now on. And that is just want I wanted. I'm all about protecting my livestock, but if I can scare off the threat instead of killing it, that is my preference. Because the country is chock full of wildlife, and you just learn to live with that. And even to enjoy it.