2012-11-24 / Outdoors

Bobcat runs free once again


This young bobcat emitted a guttural growl while baring its teeth and hissing before being tranquilized. After a successful rehabilitation, it was released into the wild. 
William Williams/PGC photo This young bobcat emitted a guttural growl while baring its teeth and hissing before being tranquilized. After a successful rehabilitation, it was released into the wild. William Williams/PGC photo A young bobcat abandoned by its mother in Luzerne County gave the Game Commission an opportunity to study a fascinating species.

The seven-week old cat was found weak and unable to walk. When it’s mother failed to return, it was taken to the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Monroe County.

It was provided formula, and then weaned to a diet of small mammals and birds including rabbits, pigeons, rats and mice to stimulate natural hunting behavior. Human contact was kept to a minimum.

When it was time for the release, students from East Stroudsburg University looked on. They were greeted with menacing bared teeth and hissing from a cat in the rafters, as the young feline swiped at the air from above before being tranquilized.

Researchers obtained hair samples to determine its genetic profifile and then the bobcat was released in a remote section of Monroe County. It wasted little time in disappearing into the forest.

Bobcats inhabit wooded areas, where they feed on mice, chipmunks, squirrels, birds, and rabbits, keeping populations in check. They are highly secretive in nature and mostly nocturnal.

A mature bobcat averages 36 inches in length, which includes a stubby tail. Most adults weigh between 15 and 20 pounds. Some may live up to 15 years of age in the wild.

In 2000, the Game Commission created a limited bobcat season. The 2012-13 bobcat trapping season runs from Dec. 15-Jan. 6. The hunting season runs from Jan. 15 to Feb. 5. Hunters and trappers must possess a furtaker license and a bobcat permit, and the season limit is one.

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