This animal is one of the most wide-spread species of the Cat tribe, being found not only in America, but throughout nearly the whole of Europe as well as in Northern Asia. In many parts of the United States, where the bobcat once flourished, it has become exterminated, owing to civilization and the destruction of forest lands.
Many naturalists are of the opinion that the bobcat is the original progenitor of our domestic cat, but there is much difference of opinion in regard to the subject. Although they bear great resemblance to each other, there are several points of distinction between the two; one of the most decided differences being in the comparative length of the tails. The tail of the bobcat is little more than half the length of that of the domestic cat, and much more bushy.
The color of the wild animal is much more uniform than in the great raft of "domestic" mongrel specimens which make night hideous with their discordant yowls, although we sometimes see a high bred individual which, if his tail was cut off at half its length, might easily pass as an example of the wild variety.
The ground tint of the fur in the bobcat is yellowish grey, diversified with dark streaks over the body and limbs, much after the appearance of the so-called "tiger cat." A row of dark streaks and spots extends along the spine, and the tail is thick, short and bushy, tipped with black and encircled with a number of rings of a dark hue. In some individuals the markings are less distinct, and they are sometimes altogether wanting, but in the typical bobcat they are quite prominent. The fur is rather long and thick, particularly so during the winter season, and always in the colder northern regions.
The amount of havoc which these creatures can create is surprising, and their nocturnal inroads, in poultry yards and sheep folds render them most hated pests to farmers in the countries where these animals abound. They seem to have a special appetite for the heads of fowls, and will often decapitate a half dozen in a single night, leaving the bodies in otherwise good condition to tell the story of their midnight murders. Bobcat trapping is essential in helping to stop this. The home of the bobcat is made in some cleft of rock, or in the hollow of some aged tree, from which the creature issues in the dark hours and starts upon its marauding excursions. Its family numbers from three to six and the female parent is smaller than the male, the total length of the latter being three feet. Inhabiting the most lonely and inaccessible ranges of rock and mountain, the bobcat is seldom seen during the daytime. At night, like its domestic relative, he prowls far and wide, walking with the same stealthy step and hunting his game in the same tiger-like manner. He is by no means a difficult animal to trap, being easily deceived and taking bait without any hesitation. The bobcat haunts the shores of lakes and rivers, and it is here that the trap may be set for them. Having caught and killed one of the colony, the rest of them can be easily taken if the body of the dead victim be left near their hunting ground and surrounded with the traps carefully set and concealed beneath leaves moss or the like. Every bobcat that is in the neighborhood will be certain to visit the body, and if the traps are rightly arranged many will be caught. The steel trap No. 3 is generally used in bobcat trapping. We would caution the young trapper in his approach to an entrapped bobcat, as the strength and ferocity of
this animal under such circumstances, or when otherwise "hard pressed," is perfectly amazing. When caught in a trap they spring with terrible fury at anyone who approaches them, not waiting to be assailed, and when cornered by a hunter they will often turn upon their pursuer, and springing at his face will attack him with most consummate fury, often inflicting serious and sometimes fatal wounds. When hunted and attacked by dogs, the bobcat is a most desperate and untiring fighter, and extremely difficult to kill, for which reason it has been truthfully said that "if a tame cat has nine lives, a bobcat must have a dozen."
The twitch-up trap , erected on a large scale, has been utilized to a considerable extent in England for Bobcat trapping ; and these, together with steel traps and dead-falls, are about the only machines used for their capture. We would suggest the garrote or bow trap also as being very effective. The bait may consist of the head of a fowl or a piece of rabbit or fowl flesh: or, indeed, flesh of almost any kind will answer, particularly of the bird kind.