I drove back a craggy rutted lane that follows a mostly-dry creek bed into a
pasture dotted with big overgrown cedars. The creek bed winds around through
the pasture like a long slithering snake and is lined the whole way with thick
prickly locust trees and bent-over willows, making for a rather unfriendly pasture
but excellent bobcat habitat. The pasture borders an alfalfa field on one side, and
the fence separating the two forms and “L” shape, and the lane where I was
driving turns and follows that fence around the front of the pasture. At the corner
where the fence and lane turn, a nice big male bobcat awaited me in a cage trap
In trapping, nothing is more important than placing traps at just the right
locations where you know from tracks, etc. that critters are traveling. I knew from
experience that the lane along the creek was a favorite travel route of bobcats. I
catch one at that same place most years, so a trap there stood a good chance of
connecting. But when trapping bobcats, there are also some other things you can
do to turn the odds in your favor.
Bobcats are nothing more than oversized, wild housecats and behave much the
same. If needing to describe bobcats in one word, that word would be finicky.
What grabs and holds their attention today might not garner a second glance
from them tomorrow, so the more different looks and smells you can give them
the better. I use a variety of smells at each trap. A dab of sweet smelling lure
placed just above the trap, a different skunky smelling lure high on a post or tree
limb where it will be picked up and carried by the wind, and a spray of bobcat
urine nearby are some ways I do that.
Cats’ are known to hunt with their eyes a little more than coyotes, so the more
intriguing things you can give them to look at the better. If using a foothold trap, I
will dig a big obnoxious looking hole then put a piece of fur, a rabbit carcass or a
tuft of feathers down deep in the hole to make them wonder what’s there. When
using a cage trap, I’ll wire a rabbit, duck or goose carcass in the very front of the
cage as though they were hiding there. Above, out-of-reach on a tree limb or bush
I’ll hang a goose wing from a piece of fishing line so it will twirl and flap in the
breeze. I’ve heard of trappers hanging all sorts of things to get their attention,
including CD’s which will flash in the sunlight or moonlight as they spin. I collect
down stuffing from old feather pillows and as a finishing touch I’ll toss a handful
of it into a nearby cedar tree or bush. To any critter passing near, that sticks out
like wearing white socks with black pants, or like white tape on the broken nose
piece of your glasses.
When I first started trapping in Kansas, catching a bobcat seemed as impossible as
catching a marlin from Kannapolis Lake. With a little advice from other
experienced trappers, lots of time spent in the woods and a few of the above
tricks I now catch a few each season….Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors!
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]