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Predator Profile: Bobcat

Name: Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Weight: 14 to 40 lbs

Height: 49 inches

Legal status: Non game. Cannot be trapped or hunted


Bobcats can be found across all sorts of habitats in California. Although they are territorial they will also expand their range in search of food and water. They can be found across most elevations so long as prey, water, and some cover are present.


Bobcats mostly feed on rodents and rabbits although will take fawns and smaller deer. They will actively hunt birds although there is little evidence for fish. Although not at risk for larger livestock such as cows, bobcats can and will take goats and sheep as well as chicken and rabbits.

Non-lethal Management:

Bobcats, like most cats, respond well to lights that emulate human presence as well as noise. Fox lights will usually keep them on their toes however that strongly depends on how close they are to urban presence. Since bobcats usually will only take lambs or kits (and that's in rare occasions), the best course of action is to establish pens until the livestock reaches a size where bobcats will lose interest. Infrared lights do not phase them so that's worth noting. Your best bet is to either use actual human presence or put out a radio with voices to deter them from getting too close.

Using scent may work however they are not phased by coyote, cougar or wolf urine. I am currently investigating hot sauce and other spicy peppers as a way to deter bobcats with a good number of successes.

Lethal Management:

It is illegal to shoot, hunt or trap a bobcat in the state of California. As such if you desire lethal management the USDA wildlife service must be called or you may obtain a depredation permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife after livestock is taken.

Pros and Cons of bobcats on site:

There are little cons to keeping bobcats on site. Unless if you have free roaming chickens or rabbits, bobcats will probably leave lamb, kits or calves alone especially if ample prey is present.

As for pros, having bobcats present essentially means you have a mouser or a barn cat present. Their presence however doesn't deter other predators from using the landscape.

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