August 24, 2009
Hello Kitty: Bobcat Takes Down Deer
By Scott Bestul
We’ve discussed whitetail predation in this space before, but much of that talk has focused on the major players; wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, and bears. As the photo below illustrates, bobcats can also play a role in controlling deer numbers.
I live in an area where bobcats are rare. I hear of an occasional reliable sighting, or a trapper I trust will report that he’s seen cat-sign. I recognize that bobcats are secretive and frequently fly under most people’s radar. On the other hand, I spend enough time in the woods that, if they were abundant, I feel confident I’d be on to them.
A few years back I was hunting one of my favorite Kansas haunts and was treated to a deer-stalking display by a large tom. This cat slipped to within 20 yards of a feeding group of whitetails (the cat was 15 yards from my treestand) before a big doe spotted him. She got exceedingly nervous and minced off, but a nearby buck wasn’t a bit scared. When he realized the cat was close, he high-stepped it right over to the feline and ran him off. It was a memorable evening in the deer woods!
So how ‘bout you? Are bobcats abundant in your area? Have you seen a cat harass or kill a whitetail, or found a carcass you felt was a cat-kill? Look forward to your stories!