By Grace Moore
Resident James Farnsworth called the Moorcroft Police Department on Tuesday evening to report an unusually large cat lazing in the yard south of the Catholic Church along Belle Fourche Avenue. Police Chief Doug “Red” Lundborg took the call.
The “cat” weighed in at around 20-25 pounds, not bad for a healthy yearling bobcat. “Good looking little cat,” Lundborg says.
The bobcat moved on from that location before any official action could be taken, but, instead of leaving town, the social youngster was seen again the next morning by Jeff Holberg, showing some interest in the pigeon coop Holberg maintains on his property. The animal eventually wandered away, back toward Belle Fourche, and subsequently ended up sunning comfortably next to the wagon wheel in front of the West Texas Trail Museum on Tuesday, explains the chief.
Local game warden John D. Davis attempted “shooing” the comfortable kitty away from the area to no avail. On Thursday morning, Holberg came out to check his pigeons and found something amiss; when he looked inside the coop, he found the young bobcat relaxing with a full stomach among more than a score of dead birds.
The chief explains how breakfast was served: Holberg employs a “separator” inside the coop, creating two spaces for the birds with a door that, apparently due to the machinations of the cat, had dropped closed.
“All the pigeons on this side had been killed and the rest of them [on the other side] flew out of the coop and were sitting up on the high wire; they did not want to be in there,” he says.
Holberg called Davis, but the game warden was in Buffalo. Lundborg did not want to use the police tranquilizer and neither did he want to kill the young cat.
So a game warden from Gillette was contacted and he drove to Moorcroft to handle the animal. The warden used a “catch pole” to capture the young miscreant. The long hollow pole with the loop at the end used by animal control to catch domestic dogs and cats worked well on the bobcat as the youngster was “very docile”.
The cat was first put into a large crate, but was small enough to get through the wire siding, so it was transferred to a common cat carrier, much to the apparent disgust of the kitty.
The fearless and well fed little bobcat was finally loaded into the warden’s pickup to be delivered to a new area along Bishop Road, farther away from any urban settings.