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Wildlife Encounters


bkuehn1952

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One of the many reasons I enjoy golf is that it is an outdoor game.  One has the opportunity to view nature up close, especially when one’s golf game is as erratic as mine.  Too often I have opportunities to view both woodland and aquatic habitats while attempting to play golf.

Over the past 50 years I have had numerous encounters with our local wildlife.  While I have had to escape a swarm of bees when I inadvertently disturbed their nest with my follow through and watched a golf buddy get chased 50 yards by an angry goose, fortunately most of the encounters have been less confrontational.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Thief! – Years ago my wife and I played Pebble Beach.  For those of you unfamiliar with Pebble, the course routing does not take one back to the clubhouse after the first nine holes.  The day we were playing, they had a hotdog stand located between #9 green and #10 tee.  Every time I tell this tale the hotdogs get more expensive.  If I recall correctly, this being Pebble Beach, the hotdogs cost $10 each.  As we were handed our expensive snack, the young woman warned us, “be careful with the seagulls!  If you set your hotdog down, they will steal it.”  So, heeding the advice, when my wife walked over to the right rough to hit her 2nd shot, she carefully wrapped the hotdog in a towel and stashed the towel in the golf cart’s “glove box” storage area.  After hitting her shot she turned to walk back and saw a seagull perched on the steering wheel.  As she got closer the bird hopped onto the passenger seat, stuck his head into the storage area and removed the rolled towel.  Now my wife was sprinting to the cart yelling, “Leave that alone you *$#@! bird!”  The gull looked at her, grabbed the towel, shook his head, unrolled the towel, paused to look at her once more and, if a seagull can smile, he probably smiled.  Then he flew off with the $10 hotdog firmly in his beak.

Course Vandal - In the late autumn I often play our town’s executive golf course (par 67).  I teed off on #16 and as I got closer to the green, I noted someone had vandalized the green.  There was dirt on the green surrounding the flagstick.  When I got to the hole it was a cone shaped excavation about 10 inches in diameter at the top.  I was pretty upset that someone would damage a green so thoughtlessly. Then I noted something in the hole.  Trapped under the grid-shaped hole liner bottom was a large acorn.  It was easy to put 2 and 2 together; a ravenous squirrel had decided he wanted that acorn, even if it involved significant excavation.  I made my birdie, how could I miss, thanks to Mr. Squirrel, and reported the problem to the clubhouse.

The Odd Couple – Early one golf season I was playing a local goat track solo.  As I approached the 14th tee, a long par 3, I noted another single golfer up near the green.  He seemed to be aimlessly walking back and forth around the green.  I started to get a bit irritated at the wait.  Eventually, the guy on the green noticed me and waved me up.  After hitting up I approached the other golfer who was standing on the side of the green.  He said he was sorry to hold me up but the large goose standing on the other side of the green would not allow him near his golf bag.  Sure enough, every attempt was rebuffed with much honking, hissing and wing-waving.  There was no nest, eggs, babies or other birds in the area, just this guy’s golf bag.  We decided the goose was lonely and had fallen in love with the golf bag.  Eventually, one of us distracted the amorous goose and the other snatched his new found love.  We undoubtedly did the goose a favor.  The relationship would never have worked.

 

 

So what memorable encounters have the rest of TST had?  Share your stories.

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Great stories! I too take in the natural world while playing, most often in the guise of bird encounters (we are all birders in my family, children too).

- There is a very large extended family of crows on our bayside course. It is well known that crow families develop local vocal dialects. I don't know how this came about, but this family's most frequent call sounds exactly like "Nuh-uh" (as in, nope). And, of course, it seems they are always doing it while you are putting. So, as you line up a slippery 5 footer, all you hear all around you is, "Nuh-uh", "Nuh-uh". 

- This same family is also very skilled at food theft. I was playing with my step daughter, and two crows pulled an unopened candy bar from an open pocket of her bag, tore open the wrapper, and took off. She ran over and picked up the empty wrapper in disbelief..

- Some great sightings at my courses includes bald eagles, peregrine falcons, coopers/sharp shinned hawks, harriers, red-headed woodpeckers, and turkeys with a sh!tload of chicks.

- My wife and I were paired with another couple, and after teeing off on #9 we all started walking, and just in front of the women's tee there was a big beautiful black rat snake. My wife was excited and wanted to pick it up (we used to own a pet black rat snake), but I said 'you're just going to scare it and it's going to pee all over you', so she just stood near it and admired it. It must have appreciated the thought, and because it moved forward very leisurely right across the tops of her shoes, and then off into the grass. I looked back at the other couple to say 'wasn't that cool?' and I saw the woman had her hand over her mouth and eyes wide in horror. She looked like she was going to cry.

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I've encountered coyotes and bobcats on the courses here in Dallas.  Once saw a hawk kill a squirrel, that was something.  In some of the farther flung areas of Dallas I've seen deer.  

In Houston about 2 years ago there was a green with about 15 deer on it.  We were a hundred or so out and tried to get em to move but couldn't so 3 of us hit our approaches.  All on the green and not one deer got hit.  They scattered as we approached.  That was pretty cool.  

Yes, wildlife interaction is a benefit of playing golf, I enjoy those encounters.

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My friend and I had a black bear run down the middle of the fairway at us on the 16th during an early morning round. At first we thought it was a dog since it ran so fast. It kept coming and coming. as we sat in the cart... finally about 75 yards from us it turned right and ran into the woods.

 

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2 hours ago, Dan42nepa said:

My friend and I had a black bear run down the middle of the fairway at us on the 16th during an early morning round. At first we thought it was a dog since it ran so fast. It kept coming and coming. as we sat in the cart... finally about 75 yards from us it turned right and ran into the woods.

 

Very cool, a bear playing chicken. Although, it's good he turned first - bears that aren't afraid of humans can be very dangerous.

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Well we had no choice. If you picture a dog running full speed and how fast that is.. and the speed of the golf cart there was no place to go. I actually thought of getting a club but in the reality of the moment imagined that having no affect on the bear. He was close enough we could see his face and eyes and he was looking at us. He seemed to be running out of fear like something spooked him near the green? We were the first ones on the course that day.

 

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On 1/22/2016 at 7:42 PM, dak4n6 said:

There is a very large extended family of crows on our bayside course. It is well known that crow families develop local vocal dialects. I don't know how this came about, but this family's most frequent call sounds exactly like "Nuh-uh" (as in, nope). And, of course, it seems they are always doing it while you are putting. So, as you line up a slippery 5 footer, all you hear all around you is, "Nuh-uh", "Nuh-uh". 

Cool stories.  That reminds me that in Florida at my parent's course, there was a tree we called the "parrot tree".  Lots of pet parrots escaped or were turned loose locally and they all seemed to congregate in this one tree off the 3rd fairway.  Noisy little buggers.

22 hours ago, Dan42nepa said:

My friend and I had a black bear run down the middle of the fairway at us on the 16th during an early morning round. At first we thought it was a dog since it ran so fast. It kept coming and coming. as we sat in the cart... finally about 75 yards from us it turned right and ran into the woods.

 

Yikes!  Lions, tigers AND BEARS!!  I was playing one day in late autumn.  I noted a group of dogs coming up the fairway.  Turned out to be turkeys.  Time to get new glasses.  Good thing for me they weren't bears.

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Couple of year back I was having a round in the small town of Wellington NSW Australia. On one of the par 5's I noticed a large male grey kangaroo feeding in the middle of the fairway about 100 yds away. Expecting to clear the roo I instead hit a low worm burner which missed his head by not a lot. He didn't flinch or run away, just turned to face me at full height as if to say "Wanna try that again?" I took a detour down the left of the fairway and hugged the trees, there was no way I was going to face down this fella - they are very muscular and quite capable of doing a lot of damage. He watched me all the way to my ball and then continued feeding. His females were under the trees near the tee probably having a good chuckle.

 

G3.jpg

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6 hours ago, dak4n6 said:

Great story telling. Funny stuff. I have heard that dominant male 'roos don't back down from anyone.

No they don't and I always give them a wide berth. Other wildlife I have respect for on a lot of the courses here in Australia are large monitor lizards (Goanna) which look like a smaller version of the Komodo Dragon, and various deadly snakes - there are some courses I play where a ball in the rough stays in the rough. I carry a snake-bite kit in my bag as a matter of course. But these hazards pale by comparison with a bear galloping down the fairway - that would really scare the bejazus out of me !

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It was a black bear and we are sort of used to them in PA. It was unnerving. After the round we went into the bar and told the bartender.. She was like "yeah he is starting to be a nuisance"  LOL

Australia is crazy.. So many weird dangerous animals.. The snakes would scare the crap out me.. We have an australian cattle dog.. He is crazy.. I think they are part Dingo..

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On 1/22/2016 at 7:42 PM, dak4n6 said:

- My wife and I were paired with another couple, and after teeing off on #9 we all started walking, and just in front of the women's tee there was a big beautiful black rat snake. My wife was excited and wanted to pick it up (we used to own a pet black rat snake), but I said 'you're just going to scare it and it's going to pee all over you', so she just stood near it and admired it. It must have appreciated the thought, and because it moved forward very leisurely right across the tops of her shoes, and then off into the grass. I looked back at the other couple to say 'wasn't that cool?' and I saw the woman had her hand over her mouth and eyes wide in horror. She looked like she was going to cry.

Just wanted to follow this up (slow night). After calming his wife down, the guy looked at me and said, 'how do you know that snake wasn't poisonous?'. I said 'all you have to do is spend about 30 min on wikipedia or the herpatology section of any university's website or any of a dozen other snake identification websites, or get a Peterson's field guide, and it's pretty easy. Here in S Jersey there are only two large black colubrids, the black rat and the black racer.' However, he stuck to his guns and said, 'you don't know, it could have been a copper head'. Sigh. I was going to reply again, but I deferred and said 'OK'. Instead of spending a small amount of effort educating themselves, some people choose to live perpetually in darkness, fear, and ignorance. Then, from their position of ignorance, they will insist that you don't know what you're doing. 

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On 25/1/2016 at 9:29 AM, Dan42nepa said:

It was a black bear and we are sort of used to them in PA. It was unnerving. After the round we went into the bar and told the bartender.. She was like "yeah he is starting to be a nuisance"  LOL

Australia is crazy.. So many weird dangerous animals.. The snakes would scare the crap out me.. We have an australian cattle dog.. He is crazy.. I think they are part Dingo..

Crazy is normal for a Kelpie, they're not short on brains either. Have a look at the movie "Red Dog"

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Last fall we were playing Metropolitan GC in Oakland CA.  It's right next to the Bay, and surrounded by marshland at the southern end of the course.  This fox saunters onto the tee right in front of us, and then stands there staring us down from about 15 feet away.  Truthfully, it was unnerving.  What we didn't realize is he was just the distraction.  The rest of the pack was stealing our food from the cart!  This being Oakland we realized they weren't a pack, but a rather sophisticated criminal organization: a gang, if you will! 

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On 1/27/2016 at 4:43 PM, LeftRightLeft said:

Last fall we were playing Metropolitan GC in Oakland CA.  It's right next to the Bay, and surrounded by marshland at the southern end of the course.  This fox saunters onto the tee right in front of us, and then stands there staring us down from about 15 feet away.  Truthfully, it was unnerving.  What we didn't realize is he was just the distraction.  The rest of the pack was stealing our food from the cart!  This being Oakland we realized they weren't a pack, but a rather sophisticated criminal organization: a gang, if you will! 

Awesome. A "Fox Network". See what I did there? 

I lived the the E Bay for 5 years (San Ramon). Loved playing Met, and the Marina, although having the wheels of incoming planes tickling the hairs on the top of your head at the Marina was a bit distracting. 

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