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The bobcat, wildcat, puma, or whatever it was, returned in 1958

Part 2 of our mystery beast series from the 1950s

Remember the Bluffton mystery animal from 1956 that we wrote about last week? (Click here for that story.)

Well, it returned in 1958 – or perhaps a close relative showed up, instead. Several Bluffton residents reported large animal sighting in the fall of 1958. Those sightings continued well into 1959, reported in the Bluffton News.

Here’s accounts from the Bluffton News about the 1958 bobcat, wildcat, puma, or whatever it was.

First read this story from 1925 –

But, as a preamble, check out this news item from the Feb. 5, 1925, Bluffton News: A 75-pound timber wolf was killed by a posse of Hardin County farmers near Ada last week.

The killing of the wolf is believed to solve the mystery of the loss of large numbers of livestock whose half devoured carcasses have been found on the edge of the marsh curing the past two years. A.D. Eply fired the shot which crippled the wolf before it was clubbed to death by the farmers.

Back to the 1950 mystery beast series

From the Nov. 15, 1958, Bluffton News – Adding to the interest of the opening of upland game season on Saturday, is the word to be on the lookout for a wildcat reported in the southeastern edge of Bluffton. Click to read part 1 of this series

Spurred by a $10 bounty offered for the cat by Charlie’s and Demp’s Tavern, Sportsmen’s club members are even talking of organizing a wildcat hunt as soon as the first snow flies.

An animal identified as a bobcat was seen by two men last week – Albert Flinn and Luther Elling – near their homes on South Mound Street. The cat was first seen when it pounced out of the stubble in Albert Badertscher’s field and attacked the Elling dog. The dog escaped with a few scratches.

This is not the first time a big cat has been seen in the same vicinity. About two years ago, Duluth Strunk, who lives at the south end of Mount Street, killed a large animal which was identified as a lynx. The animal attached Strunk while he was in the yard. Strunk killed the big cat with a shot gun.

Strunk’s son, James, said that the animal was as big as a good sized dog and stook a foot and a half high. The cat had tufted ears and was black in color. Teeth were long and curved under.

The animal at that time was reported to have killed a number of house cats.

The Strunks stated the animal had a mate, which they could hear screaming at intervals for several days after they had killed and buried the first one.

John Kolter, who lived in the same neighborhood, said a friend of his saw large tracks along the creek bottom last summer, which were identified as made by a member of the cat family.

It is believed that the cat seen by Elling and Flinn may have been the mate of the one killed by Strunk.

James Strunk said there is very little game in the creek bottom and woods adjacent to the Strunk home. His two dogs were unable to flush a single bird on a trial hunt the past week.

The fact that the Sportsmen’s club raises pheasants in a flyout pen in the area near Eaton’s woods may be an attraction for predatory animals. The past year the club raised 900 pheasants in the pen, and the year before 600 were reared there. The birds were live trapped this year and Click here to read part 1 of this series

dispersed throughout the hunting area around Bluffton.

From the January 1959, Bluffton News – Friends have been chiding Geraldine Strunk about the new purse and hat she is wearing, which appear to be fashioned of a wildcat hide. It was in the Strunk neighborhood in the vicinity of Mound Street that a large wildcat was reported to be at large a month or two ago,.

From the May 7, 1959, Bluffton News - That mysterious wild animal, which periodically appears in the area has been spotted again by residents who vow to have been perfectly sober.

This time two different persons have described the large catlike animal to be black, approximately two feet in length with a long tail of approximately 20 inches.

“It looked very much like pictures I have seen of pumas,” said Delmar Ernst, who had a good view of the animal down the scope sight of his rifle from a distance of 70 rods.

Mr. Ernst and his wife saw the animal appearing to be searching for mice along a hedgerow on their farm seven miles southeast of Bluffton on Route 2. When he fired with his 30.06 caliber rifle, the big animal appeared to have leaped five or six feet into the air, but if he was hit, was not killed on the spot.

The Ernsts could not find him when they went to look.

Several weeks later Ronnie Wolfrum reported seeing what appeared to be the same animal near the Truman Bixel farm. Ronnie said that in the early evening he was able to get a good look at the black form. The eyes of the large head seemed to be five or six inches apart, he said.

Lester Niswander, who has become interested in stories about the animal said that he checked with the game warden in Findlay , who said that the animal could possibly be a puma. If it is not disturbed too much, it may remain in the area for some time to come, he said.

Note: We checked issues of the Bluffton News for the rest of 1959 and there were no follow-up reports of mysterious cats.



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