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Are you interested in hunting bobcats? Do you want to learn how to hunt bobcats? Bobcats are smart, wily, reclusive, and very elusive. It moves alone and is very good at avoiding detection. In this article, we discuss how to hunt bobcats.
How To Hunt Bobcats
To hunt bobcats, you have to find the areas where they live. That is easier said than done. They are reclusive, natural stalkers and like a dense forest. When scouting for bobcats, look for bobcat tracks in the snow, mud, and sand along creeks and pond banks. Be on the lookout for their tracks and droppings.
Bobcat tracks are can be from one and a half to two inches long and up to two inches wide. You won’t see their claws in the tracks as they remain retracted until they are needed. Its droppings are two to three inches long and not segmented as it is held together by the hair of the prey it ate.
Look for brush piles, rocky outcroppings, thick drainages, dense low-lying vegetation, or a water source. Look for areas that are the habitats of small game animals like rabbits, squirrels, birds, and mice. Fisher, coyotes, porcupines, and fawns are also prey for bobcats. Additionally, signs of a fresh kill can also be an indication that bobcats are in an area.
Talk to the local wildlife biologist, local farmers, and ranchers if bobcats are in an area and, if they are there, where they are often spotted. Old, deserted barns are also good areas to scout as they often house rabbits, birds, mice, and other rodents that bobcats feed on.
Drive the back roads, especially after a snowfall, to look for bobcat tracks. Look for habitats that could be those of rabbits and other small game animals on the back roads. Bobcats will be there if small game animals reside in those areas.
2. Predator Calls
One of the best ways to lure bobcats is by using calls from distressed animals. Use short and intermittent calls to get the attention of bobcats. Calls of distressed rabbits have proven to be effective to get the attention of bobcats as they are always looking for an easy meal. You can also use calls of cottontails, jackrabbits, snowshoe hares, and other birds.
After making the call, remain quiet, sit still, just move your eyes to scan the area, and avoid making any movements. Quietly scan the area using binoculars or spotting scopes for any sign of movement. Just know that the bobcat is stalking you when it decides to respond to your call as it usually stalks its prey. It will avoid detection as it creeps toward the call to spot the animal making the call.
You can start calling lightly and gradually increase the intensity. You have to be very patient and disciplined after the call because a bobcat will approach the sound quietly and take its own time to survey the area. Just sit still and watch because when it seems like nothing is happening after 10 or 20 minutes, then all of a sudden a bobcat will appear.
A mature bobcat will not rush to a distressed call and won’t reveal itself until it feels completely safe. The moaning of a female bobcat in heat will increase the chances of a male bobcat showing up quickly. You can read a review of the best predator calls from this link.
3. Hunting Partner
A hunting partner can make it easier to hunt bobcats although it increases the risk of one or two of you being seen by the bobcat. Most of the time, the bobcat will see you before you see it and it will be gone. However, a hunting partner allows one person to make the predator calls while the other remains still and poised to take the shot.
You can use a decoy with a distress call to get the attention of a bobcat. A distressed rabbit call and a rabbit decoy can be very enticing for a bobcat. However, a mature bobcat will still be very careful as it stalks the decoy and remains undetected until it is within reach of the decoy. The decoy helps to keep you unseen as the bobcat will focus on the decoy.
4. Trail Cameras
If you see signs of a bobcat like tracks, scat, and signs of a fresh kill, you can set up trail cameras to track its movements. You can gather a lot of information from the trail cameras that will help you pattern the bobcats. You can learn, their travel routes, which areas they go into regularly, and when they go into those areas. What are they targeting? With this information, you can know when to call and zero in on your hunting strategies for bobcats. If you are interested in trail cameras, we review the best trail cameras on the market today.
5. Stand Set Up
Where you set up your stand for hunting bobcats is very important for success. You want to set up your stand in an area that has some cover to conceal you but also should be close to the open area for you to clearly see the bobcat when it eventually shows up. Bobcats are very good at avoiding detection and will not cover a lot of open ground.
Therefore, you want to set up close to the thick cover so they are comfortable coming to your call. If possible, sit with your back to the sun. Additionally, you should set up more than one stand about half a mile apart when hunting bobcats. You will have a greater chance of success with more stands.
6. Camouflaged Clothing
Bobcats are very wily, smart, and cautious. They will often see you before you see them. To improve your chances of hunting bobcats, you have to be well-camouflaged in the surrounding area. If you can match the bobcat’s ability by 50% to camouflage and attune itself to the environment, your chances of success will be greatly enhanced.
7. Wind Direction
When hunting bobcats, like any other hunt, be mindful of the wind direction. Bobcats have a well-developed sense of smell despite what many hunters think. Always hunt downwind of bobcats to avoid the wind taking your scent to them. If bobcats pick up your scent, they will leave the area. Additionally, you may also come across coyotes and other animals that you can hunt when in search of bobcats. Therefore, always hunt with the wind in your face.
Bobcat Hunting Tips
1. Look for bobcats in areas with dense vegetation, rocky outcroppings, brush piles, and thick drainages.
2. Areas that are the habitats of small game animals like rabbits, squirrels, porcupines, mice, and birds will have bobcats.
3. Old, unused barns are prime habitats for mice, rabbits, squirrels, and other small game animals. Bobcats will be there hunting down prey.
4. After a snowfall, look for bobcat tracks. Drive the back roads and be on the lookout for bobcat tracks.
5. When calling bobcats, sit still and only move your eyes to scan for bobcats. Avoid any body movements and never open your mouth.
6. A moving decoy can be used to lure bobcats as you make the calls. The moving decoy will get the attention of the bobcat and it will not be focused on you.
7. Be prepared to shoot at all times as a bobcat will slip up on you no matter how well you scan the area.
8. A bobcat will freeze momentarily when it is discovered. Be prepared to shoot the moment you begin calling.
9. Remember a bobcat will be stalking you as you are calling. It will move quietly and avoid detection as it inches closer to the prey that is making the calls.
10. The call of a moaning female bobcat in heat will get a male bobcat to quickly respond to the call as it doesn’t want another male bobcat to mate with the female.
11. Hunting bobcats will test your patience like you never imagined. Bobcats sometimes take a very long time to respond to calls.
12. Always remember chances are the bobcat will see you before you see it and it will disappear.
13. Stop the bobcat when it is within range by doing a lip squeak. This sound instantly halts a bobcat in its tracks and it turns its head and eyes in your direction.
14. Ask local farmers, rural mail carriers, and wildlife biologists where bobcats reside and where they have spotted them.
15. Use distressed calls of small game animals like squirrels, rabbits, porcupines, snowshoe hares, cottontails, and jackrabbits.
16. Set up trail cameras to collect information on bobcats’ travel routes and other behaviors.
17. The early morning hours and dusk are the most active times for bobcats.
18. Find a good spot to set up your tree stands. Set them about half a mile apart.
19. A hunting partner can help with hunting bobcats. One person makes the calls while the other is the shooter. However, it increases the chances of the bobcat spotting one or both of you.
20. When you are ready to leave, move very slowly, and look carefully beneath you and a few yards from your location. Scan the area for any movement. it’s highly possible that a bobcat could be right near your stand the whole time.
The Bottom Line
Bobcats are very challenging to hunt as they are smart, cautious, elusive, reclusive, and difficult to spot. They blend well with the environment and are well-camouflaged. To be successful in hunting bobcats, you have to perform thorough scouting, choose good locations for your stands and develop very good cleaning skills. In this article, we discussed how to hunt bobcats to help you be a better hunter of bobcats.