Fox News reported that Brett Hereford had been fishing at Flathead Lake on Oct. 6, along with his father, Bob Hereford, and his mother when they caught something that they had never expected to catch—a bobcat. According to the Dodo, the Herefords had spotted something in the water, and decided to get closer to see what it was, and that was how they managed to locate the struggling bobcat. Fox News reported that the animal had been thrashing around in the water, trying to stay afloat when Hereford found the animal.
The Dodo reported that instead of allowing the bobcat to struggle its way to dry land, Brett Hereford reached down with a fishing net and scooped up the struggling animal with it, in order to save the animal from drowning.
According to the video, Bob Hereford was heard saying that the bobcat did not look happy, and likely the animal wanted to be on the boat, but Bob Hereford could be heard also saying that they were not going to let the bobcat on the boat.
“It was quite the experience for those guys,” Cindy Benson, the manager of Mack Days, said, according to the Missoulian. “They were just anglers that were fishing for Mack Days during the event. [The bobcat] was quite a ways out [from shore] and they went over and looked at it. They believed that if they didn’t net it, it was going to drown. It looked really tired.”
The Missoulian reported that according to Hereford, the bobcat shivered for some time after it was fished out of the water, and Fox News reported that the family had to pet the animal for a while to warm the animal up.
By the time the Hereford family had made it to the shore, they were able to set the bobcat free, according to the Facebook post.
“It was acting like it wanted loose, so they did take it in to shore and turned it loose. Other anglers went over and watched the whole process. They saw it a while later on the other side of Finley Point walking along the shore,” according to Benson, the Missoulian reported.
Although there was no indication as to how the bobcat got into the water, and although bobcats have the ability to swim, bobcats normally do avoid water, Fox News reported.
Benson speculated that the bobcat might have been trying to reach an island, or perhaps the bobcat got into the water when it was dropped by an eagle, according to the Missoulian. According to Benson, things like this do happen, and that there was no way to know for sure what caused the bobcat to enter the water.