Bobcat Found Hanged Before Football Game
Home of the Wildcats slams 'despicable' prank
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2014 3:43 AM CDT
Updated Oct 31, 2014 5:00 AM CDT
Killing the bobcat out of season would be a misdemeanor, state officials say.   (AP Photo/Press-Register, Ron Colquitt)

(Newser) – There is a long history of rivalry between Coffee County Central and Tullahoma High School in central Tennessee—pranks in years past have included a toilet placed in the middle of a football field—but authorities say things have gone way too far. A dead bobcat was found hanged from a goal post at a Tullahoma football field Tuesday morning, just days before the school's Wildcats were to play in their 89th annual "Coffee Pot" game against Coffee County's Red Raiders, the Manchester Times reports. Tullahoma school officials say police are investigating the "despicable act," which they say doesn't represent the "leadership, citizenry, or the vast majority of students" at both high schools, WSMV reports.

"We are friends, neighbors, relatives, and at [times] fierce competitors, but that fierce competition leaves no room for cruelty to animals," say officials at Tullahoma, where the game will go ahead tonight. It's not clear how the animal was killed, but the state's bobcat-hunting season doesn't start until late November, and a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency spokesman tells the Times that killing the animal out of season could result in fines and the loss of the culprit's hunting license. "That is not a good way to treat a critter for a prank, that's for sure," he says. (A dark football story is developing in New Jersey, too.)