Golfer who fought off rabid bobcat recounts terrifying attack

Posted at 3:01 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 15:01:50-04

BALTIC, Conn. - The golfer who had to fight off a rabid bobcat last week at the Mohegan Sun Country Club is sharing what happened in the moments before and during the attack.

Michael Popkowski says he doesn’t remember everything, but he showed off the scars from the attack.

“I got lacerations on my scalp… I’ve got bite mark puncture wounds from mid-left arm up to my shoulder.” Popkowski told WTIC the entire incident lasted just 2 to 3 minutes.

He was golfing with friends at the Mohegan Sun Country Club last Thursday when the animal attacked. Popkowski said, “What the f*** is this! And my language didn’t get much better during the whole thing, as I recall.... You know, I didn’t know what to think.”

Related: Bobcat attacks golfer, horse on Connecticut course

He says he was warned by a friend moments before the attack. He says he was able to turn his back to the bobcat as it pounced, but wasn’t able to fully dodge the animal.

"Honestly I didn’t feel pain during the attack... I think, I don’t know I’m not a scientist, but I think your adrenaline or whatever takes over, I honestly didn’t feel anything," he said.

Popkwoski wasn’t the only victim. A few moments earlier, the bobcat attacked a horse named Bella nearby.

The Connecticut Wildlife Division says it’s tracking about 50 bobcats to see where groups are gathering, noting there is an increase in the population size.

Experts say attacks like the one on Popkowski are rare.

Geoff Krukar, a wildlife biologist, said, “Bobcats in general are not known for being aggressive towards humans... Unless they have rabies, they're not going to attack people. They aren’t looking at humans as a food source.”

Krukar says the best way to defend yourself in case of an attack is to cover your face and neck.

“You want to try and keep tabs on the animal because you’re probably going to want an animal control officer or a conservation expert come out and have it tested for rabies.”

Popkowski says he wants to finish the treatments for exposure to rabies, so he can put this behind him.

“I do wonder if it’s a 100% guarantee that it’s going to work, that I am not going to turn into a werewolf, you know, in a full moon, but you know it is a big concern. I have to be confident the protocol works.”

Popkowski has two more shots to complete before he is done with his treatments.

He says this will not deter him from golfing but says he will think twice about going to get a ball in the woods.

WTIC reached out the Mohegan Sun Country Club for comment, but they declined an interview.