A number of communities in Foothills County report seeing Bobcats. Here are some facts from Alberta Fish and Wildlife.
- Bobcats in the wild are naturally shy of humans and are normally most active at sunrise and sunset.
- Though rare, bobcat sightings are increasing in parts of southern Alberta.
- Bobcats are highly adaptable and if living in or near human development may lose their fear of people and the noises of the city. These bobcats may also learn to become more active at any time of the day.
- Bobcats feed mostly on rabbits, hares and other small mammals like mice and squirrels.
- Bobcats are the smallest of Alberta’s wild cats – about twice the size of a domestic cat. They have a bobbed tail that gives them their name, black-tufted ears and dark markings for camouflage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are bobcats a threat to me or my pets?
- It is extremely unlikely that a bobcat will attack a human.
- Bobcats are opportunistic hunters. If bobcats are known to be in the area, keep cats indoors and supervise small dogs when they are in the yard, as they may be vulnerable.
What can I do about a bobcat on my property?
- Outside of urban areas, bobcat may be hunted (but not trapped) by a resident on land which the resident has the right of access for hunting in select Wildlife Management Units in the southern area of the province. The hunting season runs from November 1 to February 28. Consult the Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations for specific open areas.
- Fur Management Zone 6 has a trapping season for bobcat. Consult the Alberta Guide to Trapping Regulation for specific open areas and seasons.
- Be sure that the bobcat has not made a den for kittens somewhere on your property. Bobcat kittens are usually born April to June and they stay with their mother for up to a year. Look for open spaces under decks, outbuildings or in trees, shrubs or piles of debris for den locations.
- If there are no kittens, be sure the bobcat has an escape route – open gates on your property and do not block its exit. The bobcat will leave in its own time. If the bobcat is reluctant to leave, consider spraying it with a garden hose until it does leave.
- Fish and Wildlife offices receive many reports of bobcat sightings each year. Officers will respond when there is a threat to public safety.
How do I prevent bobcats from coming to my property?
- To prevent conflict with bobcats, remove the food, shelter or water that may attract them to your property:
- Do not feed wildlife
- Keep your garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids
- Put your garbage and recycling out only on the morning of collection, not earlier
- Do not leave pet food outdoors
- Remove bird feeders and bird baths so bobcats are not drawn into your yard to prey on the birds
- Trees, shrubs and even grass should be kept trimmed so there is no shelter for bobcats to hide in. Spaces under decks and outbuildings should be closed off for the same reason
- Add motion detector lighting to walkways and driveways
- Dogs, rabbits, chickens or other animals that live outdoors should be kept in a secure enclosure with a strong roof
Can a bobcat on my property be relocated?
- Trapping and relocating a bobcat several kilometres away is NOT an effective method of removing a bobcat from your property. The “problem animal” is NOT given a second chance in a new home. Bobcats typically try to return to their original territories, often getting hit by a car or killed by a predator in the process. In many cases, moving bobcats will not solve the original problem because other bobcats will replace them and cause similar conflicts. The best solution is to make your property unattractive to wildlife.
Fish and Wildlife offices receive many reports of bobcat sightings each year. Officers will respond when there is a threat to public safety.
If you wish to contact a Fish and Wildlife office near you, see: