Guided "Deer Hunt" & Bobcats. (Click for: New England Map)
Bill Haveran, a utility lineman and neighbor in Glastonbury, invited me to go on a hunting trip with a group of his fellow workers who had a log cabin hunting lodge in Machias Maine. Bill & I drove up at nite - reached the L.L.Bean shop in Freeport after midnite, got our licenses there, and arrived at the cabin in Machias at dawn. Six of Bill's fellow workers were already having breakfast, and ready to start on a guided group hunt. Bill introduced me to his friends, we dumped our gear on two empty bunks, had a quick bite to eat,and were off to the Guides abode.
At the guides house, a tar papered 12'x16'shack, eight characters stumbled out - the guide, his 16yr old son, and six hunters who were staying at his house. No intro's, just OK, follow me - and the caravan of four cars drove about ten minutes to a swamp, the hunt location. The guide spaced our group of 8 out across the swamp, with instructions to wait 20 minutes, then all move up "thataway" thru the swamp, making as much noise as we could - and he took off. The son meanwhile took the other group up further in the swamp, spaced them out across the swamp to wait and watch for all the deer we would scare up their way.
At the appointed time our bunch dutifully crashed up thru the bog, heard a single shot, and came upon the guide, half way thru the swamp with a deer on the ground. He'd set us in position, hustled to a vantage spot in the center, and sure enuff, we moved a deer right to him. None of the other group saw a deer. After one more such fruitless trek, with "driver/watcher" positions reversed, we returned to our lodge. Bill & I napped till suppertime, played a few hands of poker, and called it a day.
Next morning I begged off going on another "Guided Hunt" (hunt for the Guide) and two others also preffered to go out on their own. We three walked out from the cabin on an old logging road. Coming on a small foot-trail off the road, I let the others continue and set off up the trail.
Our routine at home was to move quietly for a short distance, find a vantage spot, and stand backed up to a tree for 10 or 15 minutes, then move on again. Following this routine, after a while I came to an open "slash area" that had been logged with piles of brush left around. I moved about 75 ft off the trail and set up next to a nice big tree. Shortly - there was motion - something coming up the trail - and it was four mean looking Bobcats trotting single file up that path.
Decision time. Do I let them go by? Could they be following me? If I shoot one, what do the rest do? Well - here goes, take that largest one, the second in line, then go after the rest too - in a hurry!
BLAM! - the first shot froze the group and the largest one fell. Quick, onto the next one down the line
BLAM! - and the two "endmen" took off running - lock onto the front runner
BLAM! - and he/she went up in the air, now the tailender is going for a brushpile, snap off a shot there ...
BLAM! - and that one goes under the pile.
Wow! Four quick shots! Think I got three of the ugly, pretty, buggars. Not real sure about #4, hiding in the brush pile. Sit quiet for a bit and can't see any action. Started toward the brush pile and "RRRrrrrr" - from up overhead - scared me half to death. Again, "RRRRrrrrr". Dummy, it's just trees rubbing together! At the pile, sure enuff there's one angry cat, growling out "rrrrrrrrr hisssss" as I peer into the pile. I had a 32cal. automatic pistol with me and it took 3 shots to finish #4 cat.
Now, what to do - a long way from the cabin with four good sized cats. Tied them two at a time by the back legs, and found all four more than I wanted to carry. Hid two under that handy brush pile, and set off for the old logging road -- made LOTS of noise with those two cats slung over my shoulder, just to alert anyone/everyone that I was NOT a Bobcat. At the old road I hung the two cats on a downed treetrunk that stuck out in the road, and went back to get the rest of the pack.
I lugged the four cats back to the cabin, only to find that the other two fellows had just come back also. They had walked past the two cats hung alongside the road without seeing them. Learned then that Maine had a $15 bounty on Bobcats, so we celebrated with a bit of scotch and surprised the Guided tour group on their return - empty handed once again.
Next morn, I drove into town and contacted a Ranger who came out and snipped off the cats short tails, wanted to know all the details, and said "It was the first time anyone had shot four cats at the same time", checked my license, and filled out the paperwork for the bounty.
The group only got one deer for the weeks hunt. Bill and I came home with a Christmas tree on the roof and four cats peering over the windshield. No deer but not a total loss either, had a good time, and the bounty paid for a good bit of the trip. If I remember right, think the P&W company newsleter and one of the Hartford papers picked up on this tale and came out for pictures to put with the story in their papers.
We skinned the cats once we got home to Glastonbury, had the skins tannned (fur on), and the head of the biggest - "Momma Cat" - mounted. Rick was in the "Bobcat Patrol" in Boy Scouts at the time, and Grace sewed one of the cat skins on a piece of black felt for a "Patrol Flag".
.. Above - Allan Walker, Jim, Rick, & Henry McNulty holding the four "CATS" from Long Lake, Northfield Maine - Novenber 1952
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