- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Shortly after news surfaced about a bobcat that jumped through the open window of a vehicle occupied by three Virginia hunters (August issue of Outdoor Life), Pennsylvania Game Commission veterinarian Walter Cottrell confirmed a bobcat killed recently by an off-duty police officer had rabies when it attacked and bit a bicyclist on a well-known trail near Williamsburg, Pa.

The Virginia hunters had an awful time with their bobcat. It jumped from one hunter to the next and was thrown out of the window but quickly jumped back in to resume its assault. Eventually, one of the men shot the bobcat with a handgun. All three eventually had to undergo a series of rabies shots, which are no small thing. The shots no doubt were more painful than the cleaning bills of the guys’ hunting pants, if you know what I mean.

The Pennsylvania bobcat’s carcass was transported to Penn State’s Animal Diagnostics Lab, where Cottrell conducted a necropsy and removed the animal’s brain for testing.

The bicyclist had been riding in a place known as the Lower Trail, about four miles from Williamsburg. He stopped to rest on a park bench along the trail when he heard rustling in the weeds and spotted the bobcat. The bobcat sprang at the cyclist, who brought up his arms to fend off the animal but received scratches and a bite in the right arm. Somehow the man was able to pedal to Williamsburg, where he found the off-duty cop who returned to the area, found the cat and subsequently shot it.

Cottrell pointed out rabies is rare in larger carnivores and only eight bobcats have been confirmed to have rabies since 1987.

Pending world records — The International Game Fish Association, the only world-wide record-keeping body, highlights documented fish catches from across the globe. Here are the latest world record applicants:

Mackenzie Hickox, 11, of Daytona Beach, Fla., landed a 153/4-pound largemouth bass in Spruce Creek. The girl used a Strobe spinner, and her catch should be good enough to replace the current junior female bass record of 12 pounds, 10 ounces. Then comes fly-fisherman Paolo Pacchiarini of Milan, who fished Lago Annone and landed a 32-pound northern pike on a hand-tied fly and 20-pound tippet.

Michigan’s Curtis Olmstead hooked a 271/2-pound muskellunge while fly-fishing in the Delta River in Michigan using a clouser minnow on a 16-pound tippet. The current record for a muskie on that tippet is 21 pounds. Next is Mark Bachmann of Welches, Ore., who is going for a record with a 31-pound California yellowtail that he landed while fly-fishing with 20-pound tippet in Loreto, Mexico. Meanwhile, Victor Sommers of Balboa Island, Calif., caught a white seabass on 6-pound line that weighed 45-pounds, 9-ounces while fishing near Laguna Beach.

German angler Guenther Schwierzy was fishing in the Mincio River in Italy when he caught a wels (a catfish relative) that weighed 228-pounds, 6-ounces. He used a whole eel as bait. It might break the all-tackle world record of 202 pounds. Luis Mago Corrochano of Valencia, Venezuela, caught a 26-pound speckled peacock bass while fishing the Rio Pasiba in Venezuela. It could be a 20-pound line-class record.

Boater education courses — Flotilla 7-10 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering boater education courses for the fall. All courses will be given at Gaithersburg Middle School from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Registration is at 7 p.m. on the first night of the chosen class, and there will be a fee.

Phone Meredith Horan at 301/926-1054 or e-mail [email protected]

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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