Monday, March 30, 2009

You know that bobcat story that's been making the rounds ...

... about the wild cat that wandered into a bar in Arizona and mauled a customer? Well, that happened down the road from me in Cottonwood, which is where my wife works, my kid goes to day care and we do most of our shopping. While the story is getting the gee-whiz treatment in the press, animal encounters aren't unusual around here. It's one of the reasons, don't you know, that people in this part of the world tend to carry little gadgets that go "bang" and make wild animals have second thoughts or stop thinking at all.

The bobcat that wandered into the Chapparal Bar turned out to be rabid, which explains why a normally shy animal that keeps to itself would go on a rampage in town, attacking people in three separate incidents.

Of course, one of the guys who got chewed had decided that it was a Kodak moment and put his face near the critter for a snapshot. Or, at least, that's the word around the local hospital.

While we don't usually worry about bobcats, mountain lions are another matter. They frequently wander into Jerome, just up the mountain (and surrounded by forest) or into Verde Villages on the outskirts of Cottonwood (and bordering desert and forest) or into Cottonwood itself (bordering desert and forest) or other parts of the surrounding area. Once among human habitations, they tend to upset folks by snacking on cats and dogs and stalking people.

Occasionally, lions eat a person, though not recently -- around here. There was a non-fatal attack in the southern part of the county last year.

All the settlements around here are really islands of people in a sea of wilderness. We also have black bear living in our wild areas. Lots and lots of coyote, too. There's a coyote pack that comes by my property almost every night, since we're located near the Verde River in prime hunting ground for them. They like to taunt dogs to try to lure them from lighted, protected areas. If the dogs take the bait, you'll likely never see them again.

Coyotes don't often attack people, but when they do, children are the most likely targets (they're tender and bite-size).

This is why, when I take my three-year-old son for a walk, or run my dogs in the desert, I carry a gun. Many people around here do the same. We do it for the same reason we keep water in the car or tote a first-aid kit on hikes: precaution.

Nature is beautiful and we love living in the middle of it. But it keeps trying to eat us.



Blogger BobG said...

"Nature is beautiful and we love living in the middle of it. But it keeps trying to eat us."

Have respect for Mother Nature, for she has none for you.

I usually take a pistol with me when I go out into wilder areas; you never know what is lurking out there with two legs or four.

March 31, 2009 10:25 AM  

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