At the brink of being wiped out in Iowa just a few decades ago, the bobcat has staged a major comeback in the state. Even with more bobcats around – mostly in southern counties – it’s still not common to see one, as they are very good at avoiding human contact. I’ve been fortunate enough to have observed them in the wild a half dozen times, often from a tree stand. More often they show up on the trail cameras I have set out.
A study of bobcats in southern Iowa by DNR and Iowa State University that began in 2003 revealed that the genetics of southern Iowa's bobcats matched those of bobcats from Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
The study, which ended in 2011, also revealed that the population had become sustainable enough to allow for hunting and trapping.
Further studies done in Iowa on bobcats showed their diet consisted of 95 percent rabbits, mice, voles and squirrels, especially during the fall and winter months, with little to no evidence of game birds found in their diet. However, it’s likely that like any cat, a bobcat would eat a game bird if given the chance. Still, that doesn’t mean they have a significant impact in lowering gamebird populations – that’s related to loss of habitat and harsh weather.
To see the second image in this series, 'Portraits in Gray – Bull Moose,'click here.
To see the second image in this series, 'Portraits in Gray – American Buffalo,'click here.