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December 18, 2012

Outdoors: Rare sightings of the Canadian Lynx

He just appeared.

I was setting quietly in my deer stand about 14 feet above the forest floor trying to imitate being a tree trunk, when I became aware there was an animal to my right. I never heard him coming as the soft pads on the bottom of his feet cushioned his every step. The wet leaves on the ground hardly gave way as he poked along. As his gaze swept back and forth taking in everything in front of him, he eased over the ground with halting footfall.

In front of me was the extremely rare Canadian Lynx. He was not a large one. I would have guessed his weight at around 25 pounds, but he was a fit one. His skin snugly hugged his athletic body, loose enough for action but tight enough to indicate good health.

I slowly raised my camera and waited. I was not to be disappointed. He halted as if studying something. Then he raised his head and the very tips of the edge of his nose quivered a bit as he vacuumed in the scent that flowed on the gentle river of wind coming up the slope. He knew something was about, but couldn’t quite figure it out. Slowly he turned his head in my direction, staring ahead and below me. Studying the downslope of the ridge we were on, his quiescent body didn’t move for at least two minutes. Then, as slowly as you can imagine, he turned his liquid yellow eyes up and stared at me.

I saw him through the camera lens. He just looked right through me, not scared, curious. He cocked his head a bit to the side as if to get a better angle at this lump on the side of the spruce. It was then I realized I was holding my breath. Slowly exhaling, I gently pressed the shutter. The resulting “click” sounded like a shot to me, but he only kept staring in my direction. Then he licked his lips! I couldn’t believe my luck and kept pulling the trigger.

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