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Huntress, looking for big buck, bags a bobcat

Staff writer

Shawna Johnson couldn’t fight the urges any longer — she had to go out to the blind.

Studying nursing at Wichita State, she initially wanted to wait until her finals ended in December to go hunting, but the anticipation proved too much.

She went by herself to some land near her parents’ property south of Marion and holed up in a blind. It was the first time she had hunted in two years, she said.

After about 90 minutes of waiting and seeing no deer, Johnson saw something else — a bobcat.

“I’d seen them trapped before, but I had never seen one out in the wild by myself,” Johnson said.

Adrenaline coursing her veins, Johnson knew she had legal grounds to shoot it. She has a fur harvester’s license and bobcat season started Nov. 12. She raised her gun. The bobcat heard a commotion and stopped.

“I froze,” she said. “Then he looked away and started walking again.

“He was coming toward me, I don’t think he knew I was there, but he was walking down a fence line. He looked up and saw me and started walking right in front of me, probably 20 yards out.”

Johnson pulled the trigger, and the bobcat, struck in the left shoulder, “just dropped.”

“I waited for a little bit,” Johnson said. “I definitely didn’t just run out and grab it because you always have that worry that they could still be alive. He was a big tomcat.”

Johnson said she was shocked and excited to make such an unusual catch. She called her dad, Eldon Hett, and then her husband, Albert, to break the news.

She found out her mother, Rhonda Hett, had hunted a bobcat 12 years ago.

“She has seen one since then, but hasn’t had an opportunity to shoot one,” Johnson said.

Biologist and Big Game Program Director for the state wildlife department Lloyd Fox said that among counties in the state, Marion is probably in the middle for bobcat population.

“If a person is in a blind and stationary, bobcats will walk up to those people and they don’t see them,” Fox said.

Hunting them is nearly impossible when tracking them on foot, however.

“They’re much more attuned to us than we are to them,” Fox said. “If you’re trying to walk up, your chances are slim, they detect you and they hide. They can truly just disappear with their camouflage and everything, they just lay down behind something, and people watching them suddenly realize they can’t find them anymore.”

Last modified Dec. 11, 2014

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