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Two lynx face off at end of the road near Tofte, photographer calls it a 'sighting of a lifetime'

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By Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

Bill Hansen, who with his wife, Cindy, owns Sawbill Canoe Outfitters at the end of the road north of Tofte, experienced what he called “the sighting of a lifetime” Saturday evening.

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He was headed to town about 7 p.m. when, on a back road near Sawbill Lake, he saw two lynx facing off. The two growled and yowled at each other for about 20 minutes, Hansen said. He made a video with his iPhone showing part of their encounter.

Hansen isn’t sure just what the cats were up to.

“Just from watching domestic cats, I got the hunch it was two males just posturing,” Hansen said. “Once in a while they’d move toward each other, and that would set off another round of yowling. But they never took a swipe at each other.”

Chris Balzer, Department of Natural Resources area wildlife manager at Cloquet, said he isn’t sure what the cats’ behavior means.

“I would assume mating season is well behind us,” Balzer said. “They probably would have kittens already or very soon. It might have been a little territorial dispute? It did appear the smaller of the two lynx retreated and the larger one held its ground. On the other hand, there was no indication of aggressive behavior other than the vocalizations. Maybe things are going well and they just said ‘hi’ to each other.”

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