A couple weeks before deer season this year I made one of my regular checks of the three game cameras I have on my farm. When I loaded the pictures from the cams to my laptop back at the house, one photo caught my eye, even though it was still in icon form.
Oh my gosh, I thought. Did I finally get a picture of one? I looked through the photos, deleting those that didn’t capture anything except trees and weeds and me, keeping those of deer…until I got to image WGI_0007.
There it was.
So, what did I get a photo of? Was it Momo the Monster – Missouri’s version of Bigfoot? Nope, although it is almost as elusive, this critter is 100% real.
It was a bobcat.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the bobcat is:
“A yellowish- to reddish-brown cat streaked and spotted with black, with long hind legs, a short, broad face and a short (“bobbed”) tail. The backs of the prominent, pointed ears are black with a central light-colored spot; ear tufts, when present, are black. Both sexes look alike. The pupils of the eyes are elliptical in bright light but nearly round in dim light. Bobcats and their dens have a very strong odor.”
Bobcats can be 18-50 inches long and can weigh 8-49 pounds. The tail they take their name from is 3-8 inches long. Their winter fur is beautiful and luxuriant.
They are native to much of the United States. The MDC says they live primarily south of the Missouri River in our state but have been expanding their territory in recent years.
House cat size and smaller mammals and birds make up much of their diet but they won’t hesitate to take a turkey and sometimes feed on deer as well.
Although the photos I have gotten are not clear, the size and shape lead me to believe the ‘cat I caught on my game camera is female.
I welcome the wild cat on our farm and don’t foresee any problems. We have plenty of dogs to keep her from getting too close to the yard. The one domestic cat we still have doesn’t stray far from the barn so, even though bobcats will take one if they can, chances are Mistletoe will be OK.
Hopefully the bobcat will primarily restrict her hunting to mice and rats but, if she takes a deer now and then, it can only help our crops. If she has cubs, I’d love to get a glimpse of those little fuzzballs too.
A few years ago I saw a flash crossing the road ahead of me as I drove down our road one night. My brain skimmed the possibilities and I concluded, “That looked like a bobcat.” But the sighting was so fleeting that I couldn’t be positive.
Earlier this year I got a photo on the same camera of a blur. Judging from the size and the pattern on the one semi-sharp patch of skin I could make out, I called Patrick over.
“Does that look like a bobcat to you?”
He agreed that it might be, but he wasn’t sure either.
Now, three weeks in a row, I’ve gotten photos that are clear enough that I can say, with conviction, “I DID! I DID taw a puddy tat!”
C’mon, you knew I had to say that.
Bobcats are truly beautiful animals.