Hunter’s story comes to my holiday rescue

W. Curt Vincent GM/editor

One of my favorite ways to battle boredom is perusing the “odd news” offerings on the Internet. It’s there where anyone can find true, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not type of stories — the kind that can easily take the edge off an otherwise blah day.

For example …

On Monday, while I was in my chair at the office watching over the pages of the Bladen Journal being put together, there was a small part of me that was not thrilled with the fact that I was again working on a holiday. So when a lull happened, I went to my only available happy place … odd news.

Here’s what I found …

It’s a story of the hunter becoming the hunted. I like those stories. Since I’m not a hunter, nor do I think hunting is much of a “sport” since the other team hardly has an equal chance, I’ll root for the underdog every time. But this story has a lovely twist.

Jack Vandervoort of Upstate New York spent some time a number of years ago in Florida to do some turkey hunting. As he was searching for a good spot to set up in the woods of Citrus County, he wasn’t expecting anything unusual.

Finally, taking his place on a palmetto stand near a majestic oak tree, Vandervoort hunkered down and began gobbling away on his brand-new turkey caller. That’s when company showed up.

A turkey that seemed to know someone was playing mind games with him sauntered into the area — but remained just out of range for Vandervoort’s buckshot, obviously thinking “I hear something that sounds like the fairer sex, but I’m not sure.”

Vandervoort, getting frustrated and very tired lips, got to his hands and knees and began making clucking sounds on his caller. That’s when a second visitor showed up.

Still on his hands and knees, Vandervoort just happened to turn enough to spot a gray bobcat hurtling through the Florida sun directly at him. The cat hit him just below the shoulder blades and knocked him to the ground.

The bobcat, apparently upset he’d been fooled into thinking he had himself a wonderful turkey sandwich waiting for him, sauntered off in disgust. Vandervoort, who was not injured, sat stunned on the floor of the woods.

“It’s hard to say who was more startled, the 20-pound cat that thought he had a sure turkey dinner or the hunter mistaken for that dinner,” Joe Espin, outdoor writer for the Citrus County Chronicle, said in his story. “Two things are certain: there’s a myopic bobcat out there who’ll be a lot more careful before leaping on turkeys, and a turkey hunter who’s got one for the books.”

There’s also one gobbler who is probably still rolling among the Florida palmettos with glee, laughing up a feathery storm at the sight he saw that day.

Vandervoort was certainly the victim of a stupendous turning of the tables, one that easily equals that of “man bites dog.” At one moment, dressed in his camouflage and armed with his gun and caller, Vandervoort expected nothing more than to trick the turkey into range, blast away and head home for a hot, open-faced turkey sandwich. Instead, he encountered a smarter-than-average turkey and a dumber-than-average bobcat all in the same neck of the woods.

Just the kind of wonderful story that I needed to make my Fourth of July at work worthwhile.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent GM/editor Curt Vincent GM/editor
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