When a Danville man decided to go turkey hunting Saturday morning, he had no idea he’d be coming home with a story to pass down to his grandchildren some day.
Although he’s an avid hunter, 44-year-old Bud Griffith of Webster Road had never been turkey hunting before and figured opening day of the season was a good time to start.
However, once in the woods of his Lincoln County farm, Griffith had a brief and slightly terrifying encounter with a wild animal.
Griffith had set up decoys about 20 or 30 yards from where he chose to sit and wait.
“I was sitting there with my back against the trees and was making the turkey calls,” he recalled, noting that he had his gun in his lap.
And after one small motion with his hand, Griffith said he felt an animal jump up on his left shoulder, reach around his face and smack him in the right eye.
“It scared me so bad I thought it was a coyote,” Griffith said, adding the animal weighed about 30 pounds. “He jumped off me and ran toward the woods.”
It was then Griffith shot the animal and realized it was a bobcat, not a coyote.
“He ran in the perfect direction for a shot,” he said. “Nobody would have believed me if I hadn’t shot him.”
He said the entire event lasted less than a minute but left his heart pounding.
“I felt the blood running down my face, and I thought ‘oh, my gosh, I just got attacked by a bobcat,’” he said.
Griffith believes the bobcat thought he was a turkey. “When he found real quick I wasn’t, he broke out and ran.”
“If I hadn’t had my glasses on, I think he would have took out my eye,” he said.
Griffith called his wife, Cheryl, and she and his daughter soon arrived.
“This is something that our grandkids will be talking about,” he said. “This never happens.”
Griffith wants to have the spotted animal mounted in his home but is experiencing some holdups.
The Lincoln County game warden has approved of Griffith keeping the bobcat, even though the animal is not in season.
But since Griffith went to a clinic to be checked out after the accident, medical officials want the animal to be surrendered for testing.
Griffith said the game warden told him to be patient and he’d be able to keep it.
Griffith already has plans to go turkey hunting again this Saturday.