Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August 18, 2009

Before Lucas was born, I used to golf about 25-30 rounds a year, and was really enjoying the game. My friend Phil and I used to try and take off early from work at least twice a month in the summer and go golfing somewhere around town. One day about eight or nine years ago, we had taken the afternoon off and headed out to Foxwood Golf Course, near St. Agatha, just outside of Waterloo. We were able to golf alone that day without being paired up with other golfers, and had just completed the front nine on the white course. The first hole on the blue course is a par four with a forest/woods along the right side of the fairway, and a pond near the green with a tiny creek in front. We were both in the fairway, and as I stood above my shot ready to hit, I heard Phil exclaim, “What the hell is that!?” I look up and he’s pointing towards the green with his club.

Coming out of the creek about 200 yards away is some sort of animal. It’s big, probably coming up to mid-thigh if you were standing beside it. It’s brown, with what appeared to be a horizontal stripe along its side, thick legs and feet that appear to be very hairy as well, a pointed nose, and a long bushy tail. It starts to move towards the woods, and then begins to run. Well, ‘lumber’ is probably a more appropriate word, because it looked like this thing was moving in slow motion. In short, it essentially looked like a small bear with fox-like features. It clearly wasn’t a bear because of the long tail, but we couldn’t identify what it was. So it heads off into the woods, and Phil says “let’s go after it.” I said, “Are you nuts!? Did you see the size of that thing?” He says it’ll be fine if take a club with us, and I told him that as bad as I wanted to know what it was, there was no way I was going anywhere near those woods looking for it.

So we play our shots and head to the hole, stopping to look at where the animal came out of the creek. There’s a small culvert going under the walkway over the creek, and that’s where it came from. It was too big to be actually inside the culvert, so we guessed it was just taking a drink in the creek, which is why we wouldn’t have seen it until it came up out of the ditch. Not much else to really examine, so we continued on our way playing the back nine, talking the whole time about what it might have been. We have no idea. At the end of the round, I mentioned it to the guy in the pro shop, and ask if there are any large animals that have been seen around the area, and he says that it’s pretty much foxes and raccoons and the occasional deer. It clearly wasn’t any of those things.

As I mentioned, this was 8 or 9 years ago, and it wasn’t yet the norm to just hop on the computer and Google something, so we headed back to work, where we knew we had an encyclopedia of animals that was going out to a library later that week. We searched through the mammals, trying to find out what it was, explaining to our co-workers what had happened. And then we saw the picture, and both agreed “That’s it!”
Yes indeed, folks…that’s a wolverine. Needless to say, we were both a little shocked, but all the features were exactly what we saw, and described. I looked at the map of where they are found, and Southern Ontario was a little out of the range, but not much, so it seemed like something was amiss. Well, to be blunt, if I saw a wolverine in St. Agatha, then something was definitely amiss!

We decided to call the University of Guelph, which has a Veterinary College and a School of Zoology. I spoke to someone about what we saw, and they said if it was a wolverine, it was indeed out of place. They asked me a bunch of questions, including if we were drinking on the course (we weren’t, but I suppose it was a fair question considering what I was telling them.) They said they would send someone out to the golf course to check it out.

Pat, one of our co-workers said that his dad golfs at Foxwood all the time, so he would ask him if he had ever seen anything like that or heard about it. The next day when Pat came in to work, he said to me, “My dad says that there is a family of minks that lives in that culvert.” I said, “Pat, please tell your dad that I’m not retarded, and while I didn’t know yesterday what a wolverine looked like, I’m pretty sure I can tell the difference between a wolverine and a mink.”

We never heard anything back from the University of Guelph, and we never saw it again. Our friends tend to scoff at us (as I’m sure many of you readers will, as well) when we tell the story, but I know what we saw. It was 100% what we saw in that picture.

Beware the roaming wolverine of St. Agatha.


Jenn said...

That was a completely random thought. But I guess that's what your blog is called. And I appreciate both of those things.

Any2crds said...

Hmmmm. First Writting about Tigers on golf courses now Wolverines, someone needs sleep. If it was a Wolverine and Phil thought it would be cool to go take a closer look, that can only end in "when animals attack". It always amazes me that some people honestly belive they can challenge nature. Don't get me wrong, Phils no moron. But I've seen people walk up to Elk in Banff thinking they're in a petting zoo. Are you kidding me?! There is a reason why these animals are in the wild, THEY'RE WILD. Time can heal most mistakes but a mauling from a wild animal may leave scars.