The beginning of archery season gets most deer hunters excited. That was certainly the case for Wendell Van Beek a couple years ago. One Iowa hunter got some unexpected visitors when three baby bobcats made a playground out of his treestand. As he was sitting in his stand in November 2016, a bobcat family came into view along with a few deer. It was a short few minutes later that he had not one, not two, but three baby bobcats playing around in his treestand with him. Van Beek is a bowhunter from Sioux Center, Iowa. Hunting in the Northwest corner of the state, bobcats aren't exactly rare. What is rare, however, is when they climb into your stand and hang out.
— Iowa DNR (@iowadnr) November 21, 2016
Often the target of bowhunters, these baby bobcats instead were shot with a camera phone by the quick-thinking Van Beek. According to KMEG14 News, he said the bobcat kittens were behaving like most other kittens. They were rubbing up on his legs and playing around. The mother stayed on the ground below the stand, voicing her frustration with her mischievous kittens.
"I had an old wooden ladder that was going up to the blind and they were swinging on there just like they were monkey bars and just playing around and watching me. It was quite an experience."
While it's probably quite an experience to have baby bobcats get this close to you, this bowhunter was certainly fortunate that they weren't fully grown, and probably even more fortunate that the mother didn't come intervene.
Note: This post was originally published in November, 2016.