Michael John Balog | My First Image of a Bobcat in the Wind River Canyon

My First Image of a Bobcat in the Wind River Canyon

February 24, 2018

     An old friend was visiting us here in the Wind River Canyon the last week during some sub-zero temperatures and a blizzard that came howling through.  Last Wednesday morning when he finally got around to starting his late-model truck....it wouldn't.  When you live on the Dark Side of the Moon you must be prepared.  A battery charger would do the trick, and we went back to watching the Olympics.

     Glancing at the clock, I walked over to the door and took a look.  The gauge looked fine and plunked back down into the couch and told him he probably could try starting his truck.  When he finally came back inside he just stood there for a moment; I asked him, "Did it start-up?"  My friend said yes, and that he was going to take his dog for a ride.  I hadn't been out of the cabin in days, except to blow the snow out of the driveway, so I bummed a ride with his black-dog that has no tail!

     Grabbing my favorite lens we headed south, which is up-river in the Wind River Canyon.  It was late-afternoon but portions of the canyon were already in shadow, this being the dead of winter.

     As he drove through the three tunnels and past the camping area, I saw a large mammal with a fuzzy tail on the other side of the Wind River; it was hunting!  I photographed a coyote a few days earlier across the river from the cabin.  My assumption at that particular moment was really, really wrong; it was not a coyote!

     When the lens snapped to focus, I realized just as fast that I had serendipity on my side again; this was a big, male Bobcat!!  He was hunting voles in the deep snow as the sun was threatening to disappear behind the canyon's rim.  Boy, did I ever luck out!  In nearly twenty years living in the canyon I had never seen a Bobcat; less than five minutes and sixty frames later it was all over, way too soon.

     I cannot afford one of those giant, crazy-expensive super-telephoto lenses, and I just hoped my 70-200mm f/4L Canon with the 1.4 extender would be enough to document such an amazing wildcat.  I knew that there was a lot of computer work ahead of me, one way or the other. Bobcat imaged in The Wind River Canyon.Bobcat in The Wind River CanyonBobcat photographed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      A Bobcat (Lynx rufus) is one really big kitty.  The largest wild Bobcat weighed in at an astounding 49 pounds, with unsubstantiated reports of 60 pounds!  They are 4 feet from head to the base of their stubby-tail, and usually hunt during twilight.  This male is just over two feet at the shoulder.  The oldest wild Bobcat lived 16 years, and a zoo-captive lived twice that; which goes to show how difficult living in the wild can be for wildlife.  A Bobcat has large retractable claws and have been known to take down prey as large as a deer!

     As I got back into my friend's truck I told him, "That was stupid lucky to see a Bobcat like that in the canyon!"  He said, "Like hitting the lottery?"  I told him quietly, just over the storm of the engine, "Yea, like that...."


     All wildlife stories and photographs in the Wind River Canyon Blog and my website  HogbatsPhotography.com are produced by Michael John Balog and are protected by copyright laws observed throughout this galaxy!!!

     Thank you for reading my blog about photographing wildlife in the Wind River Canyon in the wilds of the state of Wyoming.