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Bobcat Kill Site

1-21-13 bobcat kill3 IMG_1888Tracking has its rewards, and when you’re following a predator, one of them is to come upon a site where the predator captured prey. After snowshoeing up and down forested Vermont hills following fresh bobcat tracks, I decided that bobcats don’t always mark their territory as often as I had thought, for this bobcat had not paused, nor stopped to spray urine or defecate the entire time I followed it. Eventually, however, on top of a knoll, it sat down behind a tree. There were marks in the snow that indicated that it had gotten up and then leaped down the slope, sliding several feet when it landed and then pounced on a red squirrel. All that was left of this woodland high drama, in addition to bobcat tracks and blood, was a piece of the squirrel’s tail, some squirrel scat and part of the squirrel’s stomach. If you look carefully, you can see where the bobcat sat (bottom of photo) while it enjoyed its meal.

17 responses

  1. This is the most striking image I’ve seen in quite awhile. It seems kismet, too, as I only just learned of the prevalent bobcat population in my old home in central Mass. Thanks for sharing!

    January 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    • Did you live anywhere near Belchertown?

      January 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      • I was in Rutland, but the bobcats I’ve learned of are closer to Belchertown, in West Brookfield. I know a woman there who raises sheep that the bobcats seem to be a bit interested in.

        January 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm

  2. What a great find, Mary. It’s nice to have a real investigative treat every now and then. Fuels the next several outings. You never know what you’ll find! Thanks for sharing-

    January 21, 2013 at 2:18 pm

  3. Judy Ross

    Hi Mary! We also had a fresh kill in our Hartland yard this week that we think might have been by a bobcat. The prey was a wild turkey and the only thing taken from the carcass was the head. Could this be a bobcat? It was a pretty dramatic story in the snow!

    January 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    • More likely a mink, perhaps — but I’d have to see tracks, etc. to be sure! Lucky you!

      January 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    • We lost two of our domestic ducks in the same fashion last winter, inside our barn where we keep our poultry overnight. We called a humane trapper, who thought it was a mink, but what he eventually caught was a weasel!

      January 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm

  4. Mary looks like you were not very far behind this cat based on how fresh everything appears in the photograph! What time of day was this…look like maybe early to late afternoon?

    Dale

    January 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    • Hi Dale,
      Yes, it was early afternoon — I usually follow tracks backwards, so as not to stress the animal if I should be right on its tail, but I decided to go in the direction of the tracks this particular day, as they were easier to read. I think I couldn’t have been too far behind the bobcat, especially as the blood was bright and not even spread out into the snow yet.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm

  5. Cordelia Merritt

    Hi Mary – What a fabulous photo and description. YOU WRITE SO WELL! I look forward every day to your posts. They’re never dull – and of super variety. Thank you so much. Cordie

    January 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    • Thank you so much, Cordie. I think you are a tad biased, but your words mean a lot to me.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm

  6. Beautiful photo.

    January 21, 2013 at 6:54 pm

  7. Kathy

    We (my hiking partner, Al, and I) found a kill site last week, where a red fox had gotten a gray squirrel. We found the skull, a complete set of one leg’s bones and remnants of another leg, as well as lots of squirrel fur. We had been tracking a bobcat that day, but lost that track, and started following the fox tracks, finding the squirrel kill soon after. It was a banner day!

    January 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    • Bobcat tracks and a fox kill –I’ll say it was a banner day! Whereabouts do you live?

      January 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm

  8. Thank you, Tom. Finding it was a real highlight for me.

    January 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm

  9. linda shelvey

    wonderful picture and story! what an adventure!

    January 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm

  10. Sara DeMont

    Great find Mary. What a hike!

    January 21, 2013 at 11:37 pm

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