Brambles: Bobcat | Lifestyles | eagletimes.com

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A magnificent creature came last week. A bobcat wandered up the little hill in front of the house and sat under one of the Christmas trees I have on the lawn. I spotted him as I walked through the living room, heading to grab my jacket and head for the farmhouse at the base of the hill. I didn’t have my “fancy” camera ready for the view, but I had recently gotten a new “smartphone” with an amazing camera, so I took some great photos.

I was amazed at the boldness and fearlessness of the big cat. And it was big. He was much bigger than a house cat – easily four or five times bigger than the cat sitting at the window watching his every move. He really wasn’t much smaller than the dog that was at another window, barking like the hound of the Baskervilles, alerting us to the intruder. Bobcats can be up to 40 inches long and weigh up to 30 pounds, and this guy was maxed out.

The ruckus in the house with me fumbling for a shot and the dog doing bananas didn’t phase the big cat at all. I had to open the window and yell at him to go away so the dog wouldn’t tear up the walls while I was away chasing him to the forest at the edge of the lawn. Didn’t see the cat again, but the neighbors to the north and south had cat tracks in their driveways and on their patios where he came for a snack I guess.

There is a huge population of squirrels around the farm, so I imagine the cat eats well in those parts. Their diet is mostly made up of squirrels, mice, rabbits, birds and other small prey, although they can kill animals much larger than themselves and have been known to dart out trees and occasionally kill deer. The cats are solitary and usually nocturnal, so it was lucky for me to see the beautiful cat.

New Hampshire was toying with creating a hunting season for cats. They have a large and healthy population here in North America, I believe, but I’m not in favor of a predator hunting season. As a farmer, and if you have a garden in your backyard, I like to have a healthy predator population. Keeping squirrels, rabbits, deer, opossums, chipmunks, and even skunks and porcupines that invade the garden under control is a good thing if you want to harvest your crops or reduce the population of tick-bearing mice. I’m also not thrilled when I hear of people hunting coyotes/coy-dogs in the area. I love to hear them howl in the area when they hunt and know that they are hunting or thinning out the huge population of deer or other veggie munching creatures around the farm. The hunting season was scrapped after many people spoke out against the plan.

It’s exciting to spy on one of the elusive wildcats living in our woods. It is a gentle reminder of the natural order and delicate balance needed in our environment to sustain us all, and the need to support conservation efforts to keep our forests full of trees, streams and nature. wild and our undeveloped lands in their natural state in order to keep us comfortably and safely in this natural order.

We need to stay aware and involved in our development plans in our cities and towns to keep these predatory animals safe and be their voice at the table when needed. I’m not saying we should limit hunting to different species because their populations can grow too large to handle when they start to feel comfortable in our towns and backyards, but we need to be aware of our impacts on the environment and habitats when we build and develop and try to mitigate the negative consequences of our development and daily activities.

It would be a shame if bobcats, bears and coyotes were to disappear and their prey species populations spiral out of control. Every action has a reaction, and unintended consequences are often to be expected.

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