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Bobcats


LittleM
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I am not sure if this is the correct forum for this, so please move it, if its not.

 

bobcat2-25-2014_zpsac714f26.jpg

 

Caught another one for ENSP.   This one was large enough to collar (25 pound male).  I have been trapping since early January.  This is only the second one I have managed to catch, the first was about a month ago and was very small, so I just released that one.  I was trapping a  "hot spot" (based on previous data) and it took me over 1.5 months to catch two cats.   I did see tracks, but it is likely that some of those were made by the two I caught.

 

Given the above, it might be that bobcats are A)  not as plentiful as some folks think, especially given their large home-range; and they are limited to very small landscape patches/corridors limited by development and transportation infrastructure so much so that they may never establish themselves to sustainable trapping populations (factoring in road and other incidental kills). 

 

I really busted my ass this year trapping for ENSP, given the snowfall.  In addition to ensuring the traps were maintained in working order, it was a real PIA getting around.  I think this year may have been my last for this most amazing projects.  I think its time for me to move on to other projects.  Thanks for looking.

Edited by LittleM
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Very cool.

 

There are some people that say we have a bunch. Until your post, I honestly thought we did too. I've seen them a couple times while deer hunting. Also, while predator hunting, myself and others have called in several. I personally know one trapper that also caught one this year and reported it to NJDFW. (no not gobblergetter, I've never met him)

 

However, I know next to nothing about their home range, breeding, etc. So seeing a few of these elusive animals is all I can go off of. 

 

Good luck on future projects.

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I just checked my field book.  I have trapped bobcats for ENSP since 2005.  Nine full seasons.  Over that time, I have also done a substantial amount of telemetry work, tracking the cats that I helped to collar.  Understand that there are likely small pockets of exceptional habitat that are used to capacity by bobcats, hence some folks common occurrences with them, but it may be that they are restricted to these and areas immediately adjacent to them.  In any case, in my opinion (and I am not a mammal biologist, but can only correlate based on my experience), they do not seem to be prolific breeders, and as such, their populations will never "explode" like the bear, for instance.  Given this and my reasoning above, I hope they remain a non-game animal into the foreseeable future.  While I am most definitely not against trapping in any way, I would hope that the powers that be consider their population status very carefully before removing their protected status.  They are one of NJ's magnificent animals.

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  While I am most definitely not against trapping in any way, I would hope that the powers that be consider their population status very carefully before removing their protected status.  They are one of NJ's magnificent animals.

 

With all the time that I spend hiking and hunting Sparta Mountain I have only seen them a handful of times.  

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I just checked my field book.  I have trapped bobcats for ENSP since 2005.  Nine full seasons.  Over that time, I have also done a substantial amount of telemetry work, tracking the cats that I helped to collar.  Understand that there are likely small pockets of exceptional habitat that are used to capacity by bobcats, hence some folks common occurrences with them, but it may be that they are restricted to these and areas immediately adjacent to them.  In any case, in my opinion (and I am not a mammal biologist, but can only correlate based on my experience), they do not seem to be prolific breeders, and as such, their populations will never "explode" like the bear, for instance.  Given this and my reasoning above, I hope they remain a non-game animal into the foreseeable future.  While I am most definitely not against trapping in any way, I would hope that the powers that be consider their population status very carefully before removing their protected status.  They are one of NJ's magnificent animals.

 

In talking to the threatened and non-game biologists, I know they also don't want this animal to easily come off state endangered soon.  Their main concern seems to be the lack of genetic diversity.  The current DNA of those sampled were all traced back to the original reintroduction cats from Maine (think it was ME).  The biologists want to see some interbreed with other populations from NY and PA to broaden their genetics and lessen risk of disease and inbreeding.  

 

Thanks for sharing and this is right where that post belongs.       

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With all the time that I spend hiking and hunting Sparta Mountain I have only seen them a handful of times.  

 

I still have yet to see one in person up there myself, but have on trail camera and know one of our hunters that chases predators at night has called them in more than a few times and watched them head off after a bit.  I did see a set of tracks in early January before the snows got too deep in Sparta on our property this winter.  I have seen them in other states including our hunting camp in PA.  Beautiful animals.  

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