Bobcat Overview

Wildlife Damage Management February 14, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF

Bobcats | Bobcat Overview | Bobcat Damage Assessment | Bobcat Damage Management | Bobcat Resources | Bobcat Acknowledgments | ICWDM | Wildlife Species Information


Bobcats and Lynx

Bobcat, Lynx rufus
Bobcat, Lynx rufus

These related species occasionally prey on sheep, goats, deer, and pronghorns; however, they more commonly kill smaller animals such as porcupines, poultry, rabbits, rodents, birds, and house cats. Bobcats characteristically kill adult deer by leaping on their back or shoulders, usually when the victim is lying down, and biting them on the trachea. The jugular vein may be punctured, but the victims usually die of suffocation and shock. Bowns (1976) reported that a lamb killed by a bobcat had hemorrhages produced by claws on both sides of the carcass, indicating that the bobcat had held the lamb with its claws while biting the neck. Small fawns, lambs, and other small prey are often killed by a bite through the top of the neck or head (Young 1958). The hindquarters of deer or sheep are usually preferred by bobcats, although the shoulder and neck region or the flank are sometimes eaten first. The rumen is often untouched. Poultry are usually killed by biting the head and neck (Young 1958); the heads are usually eaten. Also, both species reportedly prey on bird eggs.

Bobcat and lynx droppings are similar; in areas inhabited by both species, the tracks will help determine the responsible animal. The lynx has larger feet with much more hair and the toes tend to spread more than they do on the more compact bobcat tracks.

Feline predators usually attempt to cover their kills with litter (Cook et al. 1971). Bobcats reach out 12 to 14 inches (30 to 35 cm) in scratching litter, compared to a 35-inch (90-cm) reach of a mountain lion (Young 1958). The distance between the canine teeth marks will also help distinguish a lion kill from that of a bobcat—1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) for a lion versus 3/4 to 1 inch (1.9 to 2.5 cm) for a bobcat (Wade and Bowns 1982).

Summary of Damage Prevention and Control Methods


Fence poultry and other small livestock located near human residence. Cultural Methods Clear brush and timber in and around farmsteads and between large expanses of bobcat habitat and farmsteads.


Place flashing white lights, loud music, or dogs with livestock


None are registered.


None are registered.


None are registered.


Fur trappers may be willing to trap and remove bobcats year-round in problem situations in exchange for trapping rights when pelts are prime. Steel leg hold traps (No. 2, preferably No. 3 offset or No. 4 offset or padded).

Cage traps, 15 x 15 x 40 inches (38 x 38 x 100 cm) up to 24 x 24 x 48 inches (60 x 60 x 120 cm).

Large body-gripping traps (Victor® No. 330 Conibear®) in “cubby” sets.

Kill snares (1/16- or 5/64-inch steel [0.15-or 0.2-cm] cable, 6 to 8 feet [1.9 to 2.5 m] long).

Live snares (3/32-inch [0.25-cm] steel cable, 6 to 8 feet [1.9 to 2.6 m] long) with protective clothing and equipment.


Predator calls, experienced trail hounds, and center fire rifles.

Bobcats | Bobcat Overview | Bobcat Damage Assessment | Bobcat Damage Management | Bobcat Resources | Bobcat Acknowledgments | ICWDM | Wildlife Species Information


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