Podcast: Kentucky Turkey Hunter Attacked by Bobcat

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Jack Canady was working a group of gobblers in close when a bobcat pounced on him, breaking his neck in two places

I first met my friend Jack Canady in the early 2000s, back when I was in college and he was working the gun counter part-time at a local sporting goods store. He’s always an easy guy to talk to, eager to share fishing tips or intel on a gobbling turkey with a young outdoorsman from out of town. 

I didn’t know it back then, but Jack had already been working for years at just the type of career I was aspiring to find. He’d worked for Knight & Hale Game Calls back in the early days, and traveled across the country chasing turkeys, his true passion. During much of the year, though, he worked as a full-time fishing guide on Kentucky Lake (from which he recently retired). Later in my own career, I interviewed him for a crappie fishing story in Field & Stream. He got several bookings off that, and called one evening to tell me to take my wife out to dinner at the local steakhouse, because he’d already taken care of the bill for us both. 

I hadn’t heard from him in a while, and so was surprised to see that I’d missed his call late one evening back in April. It was three days into turkey season and I’d been in the woods all day, with an alarm set for 3:30 the following morning, too. When the daybreak hunt didn’t work out, I finally returned Jack’s call at around 9 a.m. I could tell right away that things weren’t good. He was on his way to the hospital that morning for neck pain because the previous morning, while turkey hunting himself, he’d been attacked by a bobcat. 

In addition to leaving scratches on his face, the cat broke two of the vertebrae in Jack’s neck — something he wouldn’t learn until later that day. We’ve stayed in touch since then, and though he’s recovering, he is still in a neck brace and pretty sore. Jack is 71 years old and says that in all his years and travels chasing wild turkeys, he’s never had anything even remotely like this happen, and he doesn’t think it ever will again. He’s looking forward to getting back out there next spring, after he’s healed up, but in the meantime, he agreed to share his story with me for Realtree’s Outpost Podcast. It’s a pretty incredible tale that might have you looking over your shoulder a little more often, next time you’re set up on a gobbler. 

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