Find the best places to hunt Bobcat in Canada and discover the Bobcat's Physical Description, Range, Habitat, Food Source, Breeding Habits, and Status.

Provinces with Bobcat Hunting

Province / Territory

Species

Season

Nunavut

Not Present

 

Northwest Territories

Not Present

 

Yukon

Not Present

 

British Columbia

Present

Season Available 

Alberta

Present

Resident

Saskatchewan

Present

 

Manitoba

Present

 

Ontario

Present

 

Quebec

Present

 

New Brunswick

Present

 

Nova Scotia

Present

 

Prince Edward Island

Present

 

Newfoundland

Not Present

 

Provinces with Bobcat Hunting

British Columbia Resident and Non Resident


Selecting a Calibre for Bobcats

Bobcat Vital Shot Placement

Vital Shot Placement for BobcatOriginal Photo by: Linda Tanner - Flickr

Modified by: Canada-Hunts.ca

Pellet damage is the key factor when choosing a round for this cat. So any caliber like the .223 or 22-250 will work fine. You could even choose a .17 on the low end and up to a .243 on the high end. Careplacingyour round and bullet choice with your preferred firearm of choosing is the key.  What you want here is a single hole in and no exit wound. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bobcat Track

Bobcat tracks show four toes without claw marks, due to their retractable claws

Bobcat prints 'directly registers', meaning its hind prints usually fall exactly on top of its fore prints

Bobcat Track Front Paw:
  • 1.625 - 2.5 inches (4.1 - 6.4 cm) long
  • 1.475 - 2.625 inches (3.5 -6.7 cm) wide

Rear Paw:

  • 1.5625 - 2.5 inches (4 - 6.4 cm) long
  • 1.1875 - 2.625 inches (3 - 6.7 cm) wide

Trail Width:

  • 5.0 - 9.5 (12.7 - 24.1 cm) wide
     

Photo By: Joe Decruyenaere (771_7181  Uploaded by pixeltoo) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Bobcat Scat

Bobcat ScatPhoto By: Kenneth Cole Schenider - Flickr

 

 Range - Distribution and Habitat of Bobcats in Canada

Bobcat Range Map of Canada

 

Bobcat Range Map of CanadaOriginal map of canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Modified By: Canada-Hunts.ca

 

The bobcat is most active at the following time periods starting three hours before sunset till about 12:00 at night and again from dawn till 3 hours after the sun comes up. Each night, it will travel 2 to 7 mi (3.2 to 11.3 km) along its habitual hunting route. This routine will vary seasonally, as bobcats become more active in the daytime during fall and winter. These seasonal changes are a natural reaction to changes in their preys’ habits that become more active during daylight hours in the winter time. Because of their hunting habits and the time at which they hunt, they are not often seen nor detected by humans.

Bobcats is very adaptable and can live in a number of different habitats including deciduous forests, coniferous bush, mixed woodlands, swamps, mountainous areas and urban fringes. The Bobcat has a large range and they are most common in the Southern portions of Canada, the Midwest United States, and the Northwest United States. Its northern range is primarily limited by snow fall conditions, in that it is not as able to travel on the snow as well as its cousin the Lynx.

Its spotted coat serves as camouflage and the population and territory of the bobcat will depend primarily on the population of its food source. 

The bobcat is solitary and territorial and confines itself to a well-defined territory. Territorial marking for this mammal is made up of covered feces on trails, as many as 6 urine scent posts per mile, and claw marks on stumps and trees. The size of its territory will vary in size depending on the gender and the distribution of available prey in the area. Females never share territory with other females but male territories, however, tend to overlap. Territory size is generally 25-30 square miles for males and about five square miles for females.

In it territory, a Bobcat may utilize a stump, hollow log, rock ledge, or brush pile as a shelter den or main den.

Main den:

The Main den is usually a cave or rock shelter, but it could be a hollow log, fallen tree, or some other protected place. (Also referred to as the natal den)

Auxiliary Dens: 

Auxiliary dens are also called a shelter den, these dens are located in the fringe areas of the cat's home range and could be a brush pile, rock ledge, hollow log, fallen tree, or tree stump.

Bobcats can be adaptable to urbanization development and may exist in areas of industrial and residential developments. (I know of a singular case where a kid picked up what he thought to be a stray kitten in a housing development and it actually was a Bobcat.)

 

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Bobcat

Males Females
Life Span 7 years 7 years
Shoulder Height 51 to 61 cm (20 to 24 in)
Overall Length 71 to 100 cm (28 to 39 in)
Weight 7.3 to 14 kilograms (16 to 31 lb) 9.1 kilograms (20 lb)
Weight at Birth

0.6 to 0.75 lb (270 to 340 g

Tail Length 9 to 20 cm (3.5 to 7.9 in)
Hearing Good Hearing 
Eyes

Excellent 

Dental Formula I 3/3, C 1/1, Pm 2/2, M 1/1 X 2 = 28
Body Temperature 101.5 degrees F
Track Paw - normally 4 toes show.
Can Travel 40-48 KM/hour (25 - 30 Miles per Hour)
Diet Carnivour
Sexual Maturity  9 months
Breeding Time Late winter, but throughout the year is possible.
Gestation N/A 60 days
Birthing N/A  
# in Litter N/A 1-6 Kittens
Weaning 12 Weaks
Communication flehmen response, cheek rubbing, body rubbing, claw marking, and vocalizations

 

 Lynx - Bobcat Comparison

Original Lynx Photo From: Pixabay                                     Original Bobcat Photo by: Linda Tanner - Flickr

Modified by: Canada-Hunts.ca

 

The Bobcat is a North American wild cat that can easily be mistaken for a Lynx. It has 12 recognized subspecies in North America and 4 of those are in Canada. The bobcat is common throughout the Southern portions of Canada and northern cats tend to be larger than southern bobcats. 

Canadian Subspecies

L. r. gigas (Bangs)

  • Northern New York to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

L. r. superiorensis (Peterson & Downing)

  • Western Great Lakes area, including Upper Michigan, Wisconsin, Southern Ontario, and most of Minnesota

L. r. fasciatus (Rafinesque)

  • Oregon, Washington west of the Cascade Range, northwestern California, and southwestern British Columbia

L. r. pallescens (Merriam)

  • Northwestern United States and Southern British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan

 

Bobcats obtained their name from their black tipped tail that appears to be cut. The body can most any color from a light grey, yellowish-brown, brown, buff-brown, or brownish red. In all cases, it will have a white underbelly, white on its lips, chin, black bars on its tail, black bars on its forelegs, and spots on the body.

The bobcat has pointed tufts of black fur up from the ear that can give the ear the illusion of being pointed but the ear is actually rounded. There are horizontal ruffs of fur that extend from its face below the ears to give its face a wide look.

Its nose is like that of a house cat, pinkish red in color, and its eyes are yellow or amber in color with a vertical oval pupil and is equipped for night time vision.

The Bobcat rarely lives longer than 10 years and averages 7 years of age. In the wild, there is a record of 16 years and one for 32 years of age for in captivity.

Males will weigh in at 7.3 to 14 kilograms (16 to 31 lb) and females at 9.1 kilograms (20 lb). They will have an overall length of 71 to 100centimetres(28 to 39 in) and stand at the shoulders 51 to 61centimetres(20 to 24 in). 

Additional attributes for this cat are a good sense of smell, but it relies more on it senses of sight and sound for hunting and avoiding detection. It is proficient at climbing and is able to swim long distances. 

Diet and Foraging Strategy of Bobcat

Bobcat with Dinner

 Bobcat with dinnerPhoto By: Linda Tanner - originally posted to Flickr as Bobcat With Bunny For Breakfast - Explore 7/24/10 #159, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12181536

Bobcats are strict, but generalist carnivores. What this means is that their diet is made up prey that they have caught but there is no preference nor specialty of prey in their foraging. Bobcats mostly catch and prey on small mammals like birds, reptiles, gophers, ground squirrels, rabbits and hares, foxes, minks, skunks, small dogs, domesticated cats, mice, rats and even fish. This cat should not be sold short because Bobcats have been known to hunt deer, and will opportunistically feed on a freshly killed deer.

Deer kills are largely dependent and more prevalent when the availability of smaller prey is low or when deer populations are high. A large majority of kills are fawns, but prey up to eight times the bobcat's weight can successfully be taken. When it stalks the deer it prefers to do it when the deer is bedding down. Then once in attack range, it will attack, grab the deer by the neck, and bit down on its throat at the base of the victims’ head. When a bobcat obtains a larger kill, it will gorge on the carcass, then bury it under snow, leaves, and brush to return to the kill site and reefed at a later date. Like the cougar and Lynx the Bobcat does not waste meat and will consume most of the kill.

Bobcats can be a nuisance to farmers in that they will prey on farmers’ livestock. Sheep, goats, calves, and chickens are only a few of the targets of this cat. For naturalists concerned with saving the endangered Whooping Crane the bobcat is considered the major threat to this species.  

Bobcats are exceptional hunters by using their stealth and the fact that they have retractable claws. These two attributes prevent many species (with the exception of humans) from hunting them although many bobcats do fall victim to coyotes. The bobcat has the ability to hunt animals that are larger than themselves, but they typically prey on smaller ones such as rabbits, rats, fish, foxes, and minks.

The bobcat is able to survive for long periods without food and will eat gorge heavily when prey is abundant. The bobcat does have a preference for the size of its prey and likes mammals that weight about 1.5 to 12.5 lb (0.68 to 5.67 kg). Its main prey will vary by the mammals present in its territory. Where the eastern cottontail is plentiful that is its target. In the north where the snowshoe hare is more plentiful, it will capitalize on the hare. When both of these prey species exist together, you guessed it, they are both the primary food source for the bobcat. Birds up to the size of a swan may be taken, along with their fledglings and eggs. It is safe to say that the bobcat is an opportunistic predator in that it will readily vary prey selection by availability.

Reproduction and Breeding of Bobcats

Bobcat Kittens

Bobcat kittensPhoto By: Summer M. Tribble (daughter of David R. Tribble) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Bobcats mate relatively early in their life cycle. The male begins to develop its sperm in September and October and will be fertile right into the next summer. Young males will begin breeding by their second summer and females may start as early as their first year.

Mating generally occurs from winter until early spring, most mating takes place during February and March, but in reality, it can occur at any time of the year. 

A dominant male will travel with a female and mate with her several times, and it is not uncommon for both males and females to have multiple partners/mates. During this time, the pair undertakes mating rituals that are made up of chasing each other and jumping on each other. They may also let out loud screams, hisses, or other sounds during this courtship period. Copulation can occur as much as 16 times in a day and this will take place for 1 to 10 days.

Once the male recognizes that a female is receptive, he will grasp her in a felid neck grip and mates with her. Estrus for the female lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 days, and she will have an estrous cycle of 44 days, gestation once breed is 60- 70 days and bobcats will remain sexually reproductive throughout their lives.

Kittens are usually born in litter sizes of 1-6 (2-4 is the norm) around April or May and sometimes a second litter is born as late as September. The female will give birth in the natal den and will raise the young alone. The cubs are born blind and open their eyes in nine or ten days. Cubs will begin to investigate their surroundings at four weeks old and are weaned at about two months. The kittens begin eating solid food at around two months and at three to five months, they begin to travel with their mother and start to learn to hunt for themselves at 5 months. They will be hunting by themselves by fall of their first year, and when they are between 8 and 11 months, the kittens are evicted from their mother's territory.

Status of Bobcats in Canada

Bobcat

bobcat_1

Photo By: Bill W Ca at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17927312

Under the IUCN red list of threatened species, the bobcat is listed as of least concern (2016)

The bobcat is hunted for sport in British Columbia and trapped for its fur in seven of the provinces. Despite these activities current populations in Canada appear to be firmly fixed, they are abundant, and in good health.

Habitat loss is probably a larger problem than the risks to the species through over hunting and trapping. Industrialization and urban development removes Bobcat habitat but this mammal still survives at lower population densities.

Rabies, distemper, mange, and leptospirosis are a few of the diseases that can affect this cat. It should be noted here that Leptospirosis can be contracted by not only this cat but humans as well. Without proper treatment, this disease can cause kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.

Some of the common parasites for the bobcat include fleas, ticks, lice, roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes. Studies are showing that the risk of contracting a disease or parasite increases as the cat moves closer to urban developments.

A natural predator of the Bobcat appears to be the coyote and it has been noted that population densities of Bobcat are lower in areas where coyotes persist.

References

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobcat
  • http://kaycock.wikispaces.com/bobcat
  • http://lynxrufus.wikispaces.com/Population
  • http://lynxrufus.wikispaces.com/Ecology
  • http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/bobcat/
  • https://wildlife.ucsc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Allen-et-al.-Bobcat-Scent-Marking-2015.pdf
  • http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Lynx+rufus
  • http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=AMAJH03020
  • http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/bobcats.html
  • http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2723&q=325974&deepNav_GID=1655
  • http://www.nationaltrappers.com/bobcat.html
  • https://wildcatconservation.org/wild-cats/north-america/bobcat/
  • http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/12521/0
  • http://www.furmanagers.com/bobcat
  • https://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis/

Photo Credits - Backdrop

Pixabay

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