What A Time For A Bath

Three weeks before, we, Tommy Walker, Norman Shelter and I, had returned from the Lake Guerro area, in Mexico, where we had enjoyed a truly fabulous white wing dove hunt! With their twenty gauge, Browning Superposed, shotguns, Tommy and Norman had shot over two thousand birds and since their shoulders had sufficiently healed, we were now after some south Texas mourning doves. Then I was using a twenty gauge, 870.

Before sun up, ten miles northwest of Hondo, Texas, we had just pulled up and parked our Suburban in the shade of a big oak tree, next to a cut, milo field. Soon, within fifteen minutes, the doves would come piling into the field and the three of us would be in ambush positions behind a fence row.

Right on time, here came the mourners, hundreds of them, and choosing our shots, we limited out in less than thirty minutes! Fast action, hot shooting and when it is that good, it always seems to end too soon.

To clean the birds, we moved into the shade next to the truck and as we were breasting them, Tommy looked out over the field and exclaimed, “I’ll be durn, look at that cat in the middle of the field. It’s a wonder that with all of our shooting we didn’t rain some shot down on it.” We guessed the light beige, cat was about three hundred yards away and sitting on its haunches, but it was too far away for us to tell anything else about it.

Jumping up from my cleaning chores, I hurried to the truck and fumbling through my “possibles bag” came up with a small pair of binoculars. Zeroing in on the cat, to my surprise, this was not a house cat but a cougar! Just like a house cat, the cougar was bathing itself, apparently oblivious to our presence. The country around us was a mixture of cultivation and real thick stuff, but we were surprised by the cougars presence and wisely made no move toward it.

We re-estimated the distance from the cougar to us and figured that it was up to four hundred yards away. We finished cleaning the birds, drove off and the cougar was still sitting in the middle of the field, bathing itself.

Two weeks later, Tommy, who had a ranch in Devine, twenty-one miles from Hondo, heard from the Game Warden that a cougar had been trapped, tranquilized and moved to a less “people intensive” area, meaning the Big Bend country, or, other points west!