Nut Wood, opposite Raywell Hall, is normally a flush with rabbits and other wildlife when darkness falls and is a popular spot for experienced shooters. So, the fact that not one rabbit could be seen in the area one particular evening came as a surprise to Phil Miles and his friend Jordan Green.Phil and Jordan, you see, were keen rabbit hunters.
And so, it seems, was…. *dramatic drumroll*….something ELSE!
The pair first saw the cat, which is believed to be a puma, standing about 30ft in front of them, on a path leading through the wood. Mr Miles, of east Hull, said: "We have been shooting in the woods a number of times and there are usually lots of rabbits in and around the wood but, on this occasion, we didn't see one.
"We began walking towards where we normally shoot from when we heard a snarling noise, like a cat hissing at you. "I shone my light and I could see a pair of eyes looking back at me but I couldn't make out what it was."Out late at night, hissing noise like a cat, hmmm. Could it be….a cat?
Mr Green then used his rifle sight to get a closer look at the animal.Ah. Here we have an opportunity to remember MacHeath’s recent post regarding perspective...
"We were both shocked when we saw the size of the cat," said the 28-year-old. "It was about the size of a domestic dog, like a Labrador or Alsatian.Oh, just a little one, then. Not the size of three Great Danes?
"We didn't know what to do and thought about shooting close to where it stood to try to scare it off but we didn't want to aggravate it. "Luckily, there was a privet hedge and some other bushes between us and the cat, so it couldn't get directly to us."Riiiight. Because it’s a big scary cat but it’ll be baffled by a privet hedge, rather like Daleks are rendered impotent by stairs?
Mr Miles and Mr Green then set off walking down a path towards the edge of the wood to pack their rifles away. As they did, they heard a loud noise that caught their attention once more.
Mr Miles said: "There was a really loud squealing noise, the kind that foxes make when they are shot or injured.
"We both looked over towards a nearby field and saw the same cat running back into the trees with a fox in its mouth."Fantastic! It’s combating the Fox Menace!
If it only develops a taste for Staffordshire Bull Terriers too…
Mr Miles reported the sighting to police on Saturday, shortly before 10pm. A number of calls were made to the police with similar sightings that night and they are now investigating.But with considerably less fanfare than Essex Police, one hopes?
There’s a lengthy (and amusing) comment thread, but this is undoubtedly the pick of the litter:
“If you go into witham on any fri/sat night you will deffo see cougars out hunting!”Well, indeed. Unlikely to be deterred by an imposing weapon, though.