Bobcat hit by car, rescued by passing motorists

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PHOTO GALLERY | Bobcat rescue

CHESTERFIELD, N.H. — A passing motorist and a volunteer fire captain pitched in to get a wounded bobcat to an animal hospital on Monday afternoon.

At just before 1 p.m., Chesterfield Police Chief Duane Chickering responded to Route 9 to a report that a bobcat had been struck on Route 9 just east of the bridge across the Connecticut River to Brattleboro.

Upon arrival, Chickering learned that the driver who had hit the bobcat had not stopped, but another passing motorist was able to coax the animal out of the road and into the shade of a retaining wall on the south side of Route 9.

"They had a blanket and they were able to corral her off the road," said Chickering.

Kathy Kingston, a passing motorist from Vermont was there when the other motorist was able to get the bobcat out of the road.

"She was in the center lane," said Kingston. "She was lying in the road. I thought she was dead, but then I saw it was breathing."

Ted Walski, a wildlife biologist for Region 4 of the N.H. Fish and Game Department arrived shortly thereafter, but had responded as soon as he received notification and all he had with him at the time was a short-handled net. In response, Chesterfield Fire Captain Steve Chickering delivered a dog crate to the scene.

The first attempt to get the bobcat into the dog crate failed when it ran past the crate and towards the river. It was obviously injured, limping on a back leg, slipping on ice a number of times before rounding the corner of the retaining wall. It ran into the woods on the side of the road and it appeared it had escaped but it was winded and had paused in the shade.

"My first go-around with a bobcat," said Duane Chickering, who said bobcats are often spotted around the Chesterfield area.

Steve Chickering was able to get above the bobcat on a steep slope and a number of passersby were able to keep the bobcat from running away by their presence in a loose circle. Steve Chickering was able to net the bobcat and Duane Chickering threw a blanket over it to keep it calm to some degree.

Walski brought the dog crate around and they were able to slide the bobcat into the crate and disentangle it from the net.

Walski said he planned to bring the bobcat to an animal hospital in Keene and said he should know in the next day or two its status.

"It's got to live first," he said.

Walski said Fish and Game has been collaring bobcats in the region, some of which have weighed 35 to 40 pounds. This bobcat appeared small, in the 15 to 20 pound range.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow him on Twitter @audette.reformer.


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