Post by Skeeter & Marolyn Lasuzzo,
Photography by Skeeter Lasuzzo
The bobcat is a very elusive animal. If you get a fleeting glimpse of one as it crosses a road or moves through the woods, consider yourself lucky. Most wild animals don't like people, they fear us. When that fear is coupled with a mother with babies, the mature animal becomes very protective, taking her young quickly out of harm's way. Marolyn and I have been fortunate to have spent time with and photographed single bobcats and bobcat families on more than one occasion, but this last encounter was the best yet.
On this rare occasion, I went out to photograph alone. It was early one August morning and as I pulled down one of the many remote dirt roads in Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, I caught just a glimpse of a bobcat in the brush. Instead of moving in quickly, I stopped and waited for another sighting. After a few minutes, I saw the cat again. I moved my car slowly to not seem "attacking" to the cat. It took me nearly 20 minutes to get into position, at a safe distance, to photograph the bobcat. It turned out to be a mother bobcat and two kittens - I think it is the same family of cats Marolyn and I came across last June. At that time, we captured images of a little kitten coming out of the tall grass. While these kittens are much bigger now, they are still kittens, relying on their mom for food and protection.
What followed was nothing short of amazing. I spent nearly two hours with the bobcat family and captured over 250 images. I watched and photographed the mother playing with the kittens, leaving and returning with food on two occasions, and mom just sitting and watching her kittens play. I watched and photographed the kittens playing, play fighting, and being very curious of the world around them. The highlight was when the kittens moved toward me as the mother looked on. They came close enough for me to capture portraits of the two kittens, a very rare photo from wild bobcats. I think the bobcats sensed that no harm would come to them from me - they could relax knowing there was nothing to fear.
Marolyn and I have seen and photographed a number of bobcats since this August encounter, but nothing has come close to the true connection I felt with this bobcat family.