One morning back in 2013, I spotted a bobcat at the very edge of the woods just south of the house. It was moving quickly and heading north through the grasses. This was the year Daisy deer delivered her first babies – a doe and a buck. Alarmed at the close proximity of the bobcat to where I knew Daisy usually bedded down her fawns, I jumped in the buggy to chase off the predator. I never did find the cat, and headed back to the house after driving around the area, hoping I had at least sent it away to the deeper woods. But an hour later, Daisy showed up battered and clawed, exhausted from a battle. Her little buck fawn disappeared that day, and I could only imagine that the bobcat was responsible. I wrote about this in, “What I Imagine to be a Brave Fight“.
As much as I have roamed these woodlands, the old river channel and nearby river, I have never again spotted a bobcat. Due to their elusive nature and nocturnal hunting habits, it’s not likely I may ever spot one again. But in the last year, our game cameras captured photos of one traveling along the west end of the property. The areas along the river and old river channel provide a good water and food source for all sorts of wildlife. And like most predators, bobcat are opportunists and have learned to acclimate to living near humans and finding various food sources in residential areas. The city meter-reader has twice mentioned seeing a bobcat venture into the neighborhood east of here via the alley just south of our home.
The most surprising observation FD and I made while looking over game camera video footage, was a bobcat walking through the fawn “nursery” area of the old river channel, with a lactating doe moving lateral at about the same pace and keeping watch on the bobcat. I was surprised to find a deer anywhere near the bobcat since bobcats are capable of killing a mature deer, though their prey is generally a smaller mammal, bird, or rodent. But I also know does tend to patrol their territorial area and, especially during their fawns first month or two, are likely to try to lead a predator away or, as in Daisy deer’s case, go to battle.
I find myself thankful for today’s game camera technology. For us, the cameras are the eyes of the woodlands, helping us to observe and learn about the habits of wildlife, without disturbing the routine of everyday life. And in the case of the elusive bobcat, we see a critter we might otherwise never know existed so near our home.
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