Pussy Hunters Are Us! … 2007 – 2014

Stories & Tales Directory Art JPEG

Big Cat Sightings …. 2020

Panther SPOTTED? Terrified residents in hiding over ‘big cat’ seen roaming neighbourhood

Pussy Hunters Are Us! … 2007 – 2014

BIG CAT ALERT – Part 1

BIG CAT ALERT – Part 2

BIG CAT ALERT – Part 3

BIG CAT ALERT – Part 4

BIG CAT ALERT – Part 5

Between 1997 – 2007 – so a good ten years, Sally and l were always talking ‘big cat sightings’. Lincolnshire during this period was rife with fresh reports from all over the county. It wasn’t just this county either – many counties throughout Britain have strange mysterious tales and stories about big cats. During those ten years, l suppose together and independently between us we saw maybe a dozen cats.

Some large like oversized labradors, others slightly bigger, some double domestic cat size and some lynx size. Colours ranged between dark brown to mottled brown, off black to soft beige, some were more orange in colour whilst others still were almost black.

During those years, l first hand was called alongside Sally by farmers to look at agricultural livestock like calfs and sheep and goats, but equally deer and occasionally foxes and badgers that had been ravaged by something. Skinned to the bone, classic kill bites and the usual trademarks one finds when large cats have been on and in your grounds. Pawprints some saucer size others dinner plate size?

More distubingly you would hear of cats going missing and dogs not returning from some walks in the woods after chasing something deep in the shrubbery. Owners at that point were never to see their dogs again – ever! Many a time and l guess in Market Deeping between 2002 – 2006 dog walkers took to NOT letting their companions off lead and certain areas were just not walked through anymore on account of carcasses being found or livestock going missing or even more sinister … noises were heard that were more like growls than just a rustling of the wind in the leaves!

Like the article attached makes reference to, the nay sayers were all for saying that if there were large cats about from the ’70’s releases’ they would have died off by now due to inability to breed and to feed.

But this was and still is poppycock … there is plenty for skilled feline hunters to find to survive off in the British countryside from rats and rabbits to deer and badgers, foxes, wildfowl and of course exotic livestocks – such as wild hog or boar, prairedogs, wallabies – we have them loose in the UK …. but also,  like many wild foxes are not uncommon sights in villages these days, wild cats could come into the residential areas to skirmish and smooch around for easier game such as domestic livestocks like previously mentioned ….. pets!  I know this to be true personally …. as this post, the last in the series will explain.

How would they survive all this time? Well, large cats have big territories in the wild, it would be no different here so their predatory cover would be extensive and so hunting would be easy … but the other aspect of survival is ‘breeding’ – if they can’t breed they as a species can’t survive can they? Yet, species interbreed and cross breed and hybridise all the time – what we would have now is simply a case of  hybridised feline species. Whilst the image below is a cartoon and not a real species … the facts are that wild cats can easily breed with each other and the offspring would now be in the countryside and the current generations of wild hybrid feral cat species.

Felid hybrid

cat-162079_960_720

This is the final episode of the series and it deals with two incidences only  – one in 2007 and another in 2014.

2014

I have started with this incident first because it is mostly just a brief entry – a reminder that despite what the opposers say – there are large cats roaming the countryside up and down the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.

The Bourne Woods Hairy Creature 2013 and other accounts from Bourne

In July 2014, Suze, Scrappy and myself were walking in Bourne Woods which is just outside Bourne, a market town in Lincolnshire – not far from where l used to live in Whaplode Drove just outside Spalding . It was the first time Scrappy had ever been there, and it was the first time that really as a family of three that we had been anywhere in the car together. Dora the Explorer had sadly died in March the same year and neither of the two girls could travel anywhere together .

It was a fabulous afternoon out for us all, and Scrappy and Suze were having a wonderful time walking and bonding whilst l was behind the pair of them – back then l was a heavy smoker and pretty unfit really, l had bad lungs and was out of breath very quickly so was always a good fifty feet behind the others!

On that particular Sunday, we were deep in the woods in the ‘out of bounds’ area – truth is we were lost and we were looking for the way out when we came across a series of strange furrows in the soil caused by a logging machine’s caterpillar tracks. Upon closer inspection what l saw just confirmed things for me further – l wish l had my camera with me, but that is simply the way – you go looking for something you don’t find it’, but the moment you are not looking you find stuff!

What l found were three cracking pawprints in the loose soil in the furrows perhaps cup saucer size – it proved to me that YES large cats did so inhabit Bourne Woods and the additional reason this story is first is because of the main story that happened in 2007.

2007

In May 2007, l was going through a divorce from my wife. I was at that time living with my four dogs [Scrappy, Dora, Lucy and Misty] and three cats [Jazzy, Milly and Molly] in a village called Dunsby in an old farming property – it was huge in fact, it had originally been the old butcher shop and slaughter house for the village. Then it was just an old building that had seen better days, but it was situated very close to the farm which was behind and close to a lot of typical Fenland type countryside, dykes, woods and overgrown areas.

Dunsby is about five miles out from Bourne woods, it is just under 12 miles from where Sally ran her refuge – the reason l am saying this is because many cat sightings in Lincolnshire came originally from the areas in and around Dunsby! It was at the centre of many cat sightings between the years of 1985 – 2020 – that’s a long time and a lot of cat! One of the most notorious of ‘well known large cats ‘ if you wish is of course the Lindsey Leopard.

Eyes.

Anyway ……

As was my way, l would walk the dogs late at night – l was running my exotic livestock business in 2007 and so l was working from usually 5.30am till around 10.30pm seven days a week – l didn’t have any television just my business, my computers and my pets. So dog walking would be much much later than conventional dog walking times. It wasn’t unusual for me and the dogs to be out anywhere between 11pm to 3am some days.

Where l lived in Dunsby was really quiet. I was on Dunsby Drive which was a long stretch of road – four miles long that ended down by the River Welland dyke system. I never walked my dogs off lead, l have never walked any of my dogs off lead and l am thankful that night that l didn’t practice that method of dog walking.

It was later than planned when l took Dora and Lucy out for their evening walk that night, it was just before midnight. They were on a double harness and they were best friends and so walked really well … Lucy was always a little timid but Dora, well she was built like a lioness – she was a Gun Headed Labrador crossed with a Wolfhound so as said she was big stocky dog – gentle as a giant, fiercely loyal to her companions and highly protective.

Just prior to going out for the walk, there had been a hell of kerfuffle out the back of the house – all my cats were inside and although that was the case, they were edge about something. The two dogs that lived in the outbuilding – notably Scrappy and Misty were kicking off in a real frenzied fashion.

Dora and Lucy inside were also very worried about something … l just figured it was fox or something. Next door had chickens and they were squawking away. The cows behind us in the sheds on the farm were restless – so again l figured maybe it was a fox making the evening rounds and everything just kicked off at the same time.

By the time l had the two girls harnessed up, the evening was quiet again. So l grabbed my torch and off we went. We would turn left out of the gate and would walk each evening for about 25 – 35 minutes down the lane. It didn’t take long for me to realise that something wasn’t right with the girls.

Lucy didn’t want to walk, but Dora being on the harness was hyped up about something and was pulling and almost running down to the turning for the farm yard itself. Although the farms buildings were behind us, the turning into the premise was about 100 metres down the lane and at that point Dora was practically galloping towards it. She was hard work to keep restrained  and Lucy had no option but to run alongside her friend and l too had to run along in an attempt to slow her down!

Suddenly Dora just stopped, we were l guess literally only five maybe six feet from the turn off to the left, she just stopped dead and so abruptly that l nearly went over her, instead l just crumpled to my left knee and dropped the torch which skidded along the ground in front of me, there were street lights in the lane, but not many, the torch was a precaution – but it wasn’t completely essential for the walking until further down into the lane.

Cursing her as l got up, and it was as l was doing that, l became aware of how still the night had become. I could feel Lucy shaking beside me and l could sense Dora’s hackles rising – something was wrong. Seriously wrong! When Dora growled it was menacing  – she didn’t often do it, on account of her being so gentle – but that night she growled, low and deep and l could sense she was getting ready to pounce on something. I quickly got up and with all my strength pulled her back and kept the strain up.

Literally perhaps three seconds later a shape emerged in front of us from the left, having walked l am guessing down the lane from the farm – l could see it clearly it was maybe a mere five feet away from the front of the dogs themselves. Lucy, bless her was l think frozen in fear and Dora … well l am glad l was able to hold her, she had turned into a frothing beast.

But this cat, because that is what it was  – had a rabbit in its mouth and as it passed us, it stopped and looked at us as if it really was completely oblivious to us being there? I think l stopped breathing at that point, Lucy was just staring and even Dora had stopped her struggles and all three of us just looked at this beautiful and magnificent beast.

It was dark brown in colour with no visible spotting, built to the same size maybe slightly smaller than Dora, but much bigger than Lucy and it stood height wise to l would say just above my knee – mid thigh. It was stocky, and if it was to swipe , it would hurt, it’s pads were big. It wasn’t lean looking but looked well fed … but it was beautiful and powerful and l could see just looking at its eyes that it could be potentially deadly..

This exchange of looks felt like it lasted forever, but l would say it was no more than ten maybe fifteen seconds. It was cocky too, it wasn’t afraid of us, it l think tolerated us or it was just plain dumb! I don’t think the latter … l think it knew it had the upper hand and if it had dropped that rabbit and had a go at us, l am pretty sure l would not be writing this tale today. But it didn’t, it just continued to walk off into the open field beside us and then it vanished into the night.

I had to pull Dora away and back home, Lucy didn’t need any further encouragement and was only too eager to get away from that spot.

I lived in Dunsby from 2007 – 2009, l saw that cat face to face once, but in the two years of time spent there l saw that cat out of the corner of my eye, just over my shoulder or just on the horizon perhaps a half dozen times more and then of course when l left Dunsby – l never saw it again.

If l wasn’t seeing it, late at night l heard it in the distance.

Quite possibly with all the large cats l have ever worked with that mysterious cat that night in May 2007 in the rural Lincolshire village of Dunsby was one of the best frighteningly exciting experiences l have ever had in my life.

So there we go folks  – mini – series at the end, just wanted to say thanks for reading.

Rory

A Guy Called Bloke Feature Stories and Tales Directory JPEG

Stories & Tales Directory

 

9 thoughts on “Pussy Hunters Are Us! … 2007 – 2014

  1. Very cool! Older daughter and I were hiking in the back country once when we were camping. Stayed out later than planned, took a wrong trail. There are Mountain Lions in our back country. We didn’t see any, but my adrenaline was pumping.

    1. Yes that can be frightening stuff anyhoo without the threat of mountain lions. Even here at night in some of the deeper woods it can be troublesome without thinking of giant furry creatures waiting to pounce 🙂

  2. What an interesting adventure. You’re brave to hold still. I don’t know what I would have done. Fainted or screamed perhaps. Out maybe ran home.

    1. I don’t know if l would consider it brave, possibly fascinated – l guess had my business not been involved iwht exotic animals the story may have been different – but l was if anything more scared for the safety of my dogs.

Comments are closed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: