North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Bobcat

Scientific Name: Lynx rufus
Classification: Game Species and Furbearer 
Abundance: Common throughout state

Species Profile (PDF)


Photo: Colleen Olfenbuttel

 

     
 

Additional Bobcat Information

The bobcat gets its name from its short tail (about 5 inches long) that is dark above and white below, coloring that may serve a signaling function. The bobcat’s fur is short, dense and soft and is light brown to reddish brown on the back. The underside and insides of the legs are white with dark spots or bars.

The fur down the middle of the back may be darker, and bobcats may be grayer in the winter than at other times of the year. Adult bobcats are about two times as large as a domestic cat, standing 20 inches to 30 inches at the shoulder. Adult weights range from 10 to 40 pounds, with males being about one third larger than females.

Although bobcats are found in a wide range of habitats in North Carolina, wooded habitats of the Coastal Plain and mountains support the largest numbers.

Bottomland hardwoods, young pine stands, swamps and pocosins provide good bobcat habitation in eastern North Carolina. In the mountains, mature forests with openings or early successional forests nearby are favored. Hollow trees, rock piles, brush piles, root masses of uprooted trees or similar sites are common bobcat dens.

The bobcat is a carnivore that favors early successional prey such as rabbits and mice. Bobcats may also consume birds, cotton rats, white-tailed deer, rodents, gray squirrels, raccoons, opossums and snakes.

Bobcats are active year-round and can be active day or night, but tend to exhibit crepuscular (dawn and dusk) activity.  Bobcats are solitary except during the breeding season, which usually occurs during February or March. 

Learn more about by reading the Bobcat species profile.

Because the bobcat population is abundant, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) authorizes a sustainable hunting and trapping season in all regions of the state. Despite declining fur prices, the pelt of a bobcat is still highly valued since the bobcat is a highly valuable natural resource in North Carolina.

Trapping Surveys and Reports

Hunter Harvest Survey Estimates

2012-2016 Bobcat Hunting and Harvest Estimate Maps (PDF)

 

Trapper Harvest Survey Estimates

The WRC is looking for skulls from harvested bobcats.  The teeth collected from skulls helps us determine the age of animals harvested, which is turn helps us track populations. 

If you are interested in participating, please see the flier for contact information.

 

Furbearer Cooperator Flier (PDF 533 KB)

Furbearer Cooperator Data Sheet (PDF 247 KB)