What The Average Weight For A 15 Year Old Boy Hunting for Mississippi Bobcats

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Hunting for Mississippi Bobcats

In the forests of Mississippi, large carnivores are rare. We don’t have grizzlies or wolves, and contrary to what your buddy Robbie says, there have been no confirmed panther sightings in decades. What we have is a bobcat.

What is a bobcat?

Bobcats, known scientifically as Lynx rufus, are true Mississippi natives. Plump, about twice the size of large domestic cats, they are easily recognizable by their short tails. Yellow/gray to red, with horizontal black broken stripes and small tufts on the ears, they resemble the bobcats to which they are closely related. Bobcats are muscular, with longer hind legs than front legs, giving them a typical swinging gait.

Life is hard for a feral cat. While some bobcats can live up to 32 years in the safe range of captivity, where conventional and predator food is absent, the average lifespan of these wild tufted cats is about half that, and most don’t even make it to ten years Bobcats are predicted by coyotes, although Michigan State University research has shown that coyotes can coexist in the same area as long as food supplies are plentiful. In addition to coyotes, young kittens also have to worry about hawks, falcons, foxes and raccoons.

They grow quickly, and by their first birthday, if they survive, they can weigh up to 10 pounds. Typically, large adult cats caught by hunters and trappers in Mississippi weigh between 15 and 20 pounds and can be up to a yard long, although they can grow larger. The bad boys grew big in the northern states, and in 2009 an 18-year-old, 52-pound male was arrested in Minnesota.

Bob’s Habitat and Habits

In a 1989-92 MDWFP study of adult bobcats that were captured, radio collared, and released, they found that these bobcats could live in almost any environment, but preferred farmland and Pine tree plantation. Bobcats are the absolute nemesis of hares, voles, cotton rats and squirrels throughout the Mississippi Forest. Your best bet for finding bobcats is to find an overgrown area. Eventually Mr. Bobcat will try to move in and settle down. Once they have done so, they will build a lair and move within a radius from it, marking their area. Although you may smell a strong urine smell or occasionally spot bobcat droppings, be aware that they often wade out to do their business, especially if there is a healthy coyote population in the area. Males are also often noticed to use stream banks as passages for travel and hunting, so you may be able to find footprints in these areas if it’s muddy. Remember that although they have five toes on their front paws, they only have four in their footprints.

Bobcats are nocturnal, which means they are mainly active at dusk. This way, the tracking time is just a few hours before and after sunrise and sunset. However, during the cold winter months with short daylight hours, especially in December and January, bobcats break this normal habit and often seem to wander around during normal daylight hours.

Hunter Tips and Tricks

Most Mississippi sportsmen get their bob good luck by trapping, but there are some who make good sport hunting these guys. It’s not uncommon for hounds to drive these felines out of the house while chasing deer or wild boar, and keep in mind that if it’s an open gun season, bobcats are fair game too. According to MDWFP, due to the predatory nature of these bad boys, there is no daily or possession limit or minimum size for bobcats between November 1st and February 28th each year. Any caliber above 22LR is a good bobcat round, but if you’re looking for a decent mount, a shotgun is probably not a good idea.

You can specifically target these cats and use the mouse call and rabbit call to call them to a stand, but be sure to keep in close contact with your camo as they have almost as good eyesight as a turkey. If your call goes unanswered after an hour or so, quickly head to another area to reset.

Remember, old Mr. Bob, aka Rufus, is a cautious forest cat, but every cat you manage to collect can save a whole herd of rabbits, a few fawns, and make for a fun ride.

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