Bobcat Trapping Tips

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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

placed there.

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]

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