While taking a break from the spring turkey hunting season in 2007, I watched a bobcat as he turned up the lane and directly into the cabin where I was taking pictures. During the archery deer hunting season this September 2020, my brother Doug saw four bobcats — a female and kittens.
Native to North America from southern Canada, through most of the contiguous United States, to the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, the bobcat is twice the size of a domestic cat. Weighing about 20 pounds, it has distinctive black bars on its foreleg. The top of the tail is black with a white underside. The bobcat has large ears with pointed tufts of hair at the ends, and has an orange-tan pelt with black stripes on the face and spots on the body. Bobcats have a white chest and belly, but the belly is heavily spotted. These spots and the color of their coat helps camouflage the bobcat in the thick underbrush.
The bobcat is often confused with the lynx. The bobcat has irregular dark markings only on the top half of their tail, and they have shorter tufts of hair on their ears. The tracks of the bobcat are just slightly larger than a house cat, while the tracks of the lynx are more than 4 inches across. The bobcat is also known as the red lynx.
The thickly forested areas of northern Wisconsin are home to the bobcat. They like alder thickets and coniferous swamps with black spruce, white cedar, or balsam fir trees especially.
Bobcats are on the move during the twilight hours of sunrise and sunset during the summer, but they often hunt during the day in winter. The bobcat specializes in taking larger, rabbit-sized prey. Like most cats, the bobcat is territorial and largely solitary. It uses several methods to mark its territorial boundaries, including claw marks and deposits of urine or feces. The bobcat breeds from winter into spring and has a gestation period of about two months. (EEK and wikipedia)
This clip was given to me by a friend Rick Webb:
Canadian lynx at Big Run Wolf Ranch in Lockport, Illinois.
Note: One reader wrote to tell me that the Lynx link above doesn’t work for her. If that’s a problem for you, try this one.