Don’t be fooled by a kitty appearance


Don’t be fooled by its cute appearance.

The bobcat is quite ferocious and is equipped to kill animals as large as deer.

Jeremy Woods, 42of cool ridge has taken its share of tawny creatures over the past few years. He harvested a big 24-pounder with his 20-gauge shotgun while hunting grouse few years ago in the zone.

I was really hunting grouse and coyote, Woods remembers the hunt. But I also had my eyes open for bobcats.

Woods had seen a bobcat the day before while driving along Blue Jay Road near Cool Ridge.

It was not the same cat, he says. It was much smaller. But I had seen some of their tracks in the snow while hunting earlier in the season. I packed a few extra seashells just in case I encountered predators while hunting grouse.

Woods spends much of his time in the woods during the winter season. He likes to hunt grouse along old strip mining roads and rugged mountainous terrain.

Sometimes I go out early in the morning and again in the afternoon, he says of his dedication to the sport. I’m here for the long haul.

It was during one such grouse hunt last year that Woods ran across huge cat tracks near brushy thickets and rocky terrain. near Cool Ridge.

I was looking for antlers on the ground at the time,he says, and that’s how I came to see the paw prints. The tracks led straight up a rocky cliff. I felt something watching me. I turned around just in time to see the bobcat crouched between the rocks about 30 yards away.

When he saw me, he went straight for the ridge. In a few leaps he would have been out of sight, but I raised my shotgun and fired at him in the flank. It kept climbing until I fired a second shot. I hit him as he leapt into the air, descending towards me. When he hit the ground, I had to shoot him again.

Ironically, Woods was using the #6 bird shot in his 20 caliber when he encountered the feline predator. If I had only used #4 shells, I probably could have taken him down in one shot.

Woods brings up his trophy for his game room. Despite the bobcat’s elusiveness, he says, many people are intrigued by the predator.

Bobcats are animals of unique beauty, explains the hunter. Few people see a bobcat in the wild. Seeing one is a huge thrill.

bobcat-too known as lynx or wild cat-is the only feline predator in the state, according to the DNR.

Animals are efficient and wary creatures with keen senses of sight, smell, and especially hearing. They have four large canine fangs to pierce deep and hold their prey; behind the canines are sharp teeth. Five retractable, hooked claws on each front foot and four on the back add to the armament.

Although a fierce fighter, a bobcat is not a big animal. An adult cat averages 36 inches in length, including a stubby six-inch tail. This severed tail gives the bobcat its name. West Virginia bobcats weigh around 15 to 20 pounds, with large individuals weighing up to 35 pounds.

While bobcats are primarily nocturnal, they occasionally venture out in the daytime. They have large eyes, well adapted for seeing in the dark.

small animals-field mice, squirrels, chipmunks, birds and rabbits-form the core of the bobcat’s diet.

Sometimes bobcats catch sick, weak or crippled deer, but cat predation has little to no effect on the size of the state’s deer herd, according to DNR biologists.

Young bobcats may look as adorable and harmless as domestic kittens, but since they are wild animals capable of inflicting injury on humans, it is illegal to keep bobcats as pets.

The bobcat hunting and trapping season opens in November and ends on January 31.

Woods, a seasoned hunter who has developed calls that mimic several woodland creatures, says he’s cautious when hunting elusive predators in the wild.

When you hunt bobcats, sometimes they hunt you, he says with a laugh. “It’s not like hunting deer or turkey. When you call them, you need to be on top of your game. One mistake and it’s over. You must be on your guard. It puts all your skills to the test.

Woods also captured several deer, turkeys, coyotes, foxes, grouse, and squirrels. He recently harvested a beautiful bull elk with his bow while hunting in Colorado.

Then I’m after the boar, wood sayshis dark eyes narrow under bushy eyebrows. After that, I might even chase a bear or a caribou in Alaska. I would like to take big game with my bow. I think that would be the greatest thrill of all.

Morning top!

Editor’s note: Despite its kitty-like appearance when seen at rest, the bobcat is quite fierce and is equipped to kill animals as large as deer. When living near farms, cat predators may take lambs, poultry and even young pigs. The bobcat roams freely at night in all southern counties of the Mountain State and is frequently seeing during the day.


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