Furbearer Biologist on Trap House in Paper
(Reprinted from above link)
LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Lafayette woman has an image of what she believes to be a bobcat on her property.
Kris Mullikin, a Lafayette resident living on Indianbrook Court, said she was looking through footage from her trail camera, which captures images based on motion sensors. She was getting ready to take it down and decided to look through the footage when she said she came across an image of a bobcat, along with other neighborhood cats, raccoons and a fox.
An image from the security footage, dated Oct. 8, shows a smaller, cat-like animal looking directly into the camera. She said she was “fascinated” that the animal would appear on her property, which is nearby Highway 231.
“I’ve had a trail camera for three years, and the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen is a fox,” Mullikin said. “I’m a city girl, so I was really excited to see him.”
Bobcats are the only resident native wild cats in Indiana, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Generally solitary and secretive, these animals are often between 30-50 inches long, around two feet high, weigh between 15-30 pounds and have a tail that is usually between 4-5 inches. Bobcats are distinguishable by large tufts of fur on their cheeks, reddish-brown or tan fur with a white belly and black marks inside the legs, according to the DNR.
Bobcats are not uncommon around Tippecanoe County and are an “occastional visitor,” DNR Furbearer Biologist Geriann Albers said. Over the last few years, “at least” seven bobcats have been reported to DNR to be seen in Tippecanoe County.
They are most common in southern Indiana but can travel up to 100 miles from where they were born. Albers said sightings of the animal have been reported in 76 out of Indiana’s 92 counties, including Tippecanoe. As carnivorous animals, bobcats are nocturnal and prefer to eat rabbits, rats, mice, voles and squirrels.
Albers said the best thing for people to do if they see a bobcat on their property is to make noise, to signify to the bobcat that their area is unwelcome to the animal. Cleaning up potential food sources such as cat food and bird feeders, which attract mice, a bobcat’s food source, is another way to make the yard unattractive to the animal.
Bobcats are different from Mountain Lions, which are generally much larger than bobcats, weighing between 80-160 pounds, 7-8 feet long and have tails between 2-3 feet long.
Oct. 9, Fowler police warned residents on Facebook of a possible mountain lion sighted in the area. However, the DNR said the animal spotted was likely either a bobcat or a housecat in the distance, obscured by plants of bushes.
In February, a bill was introduced in Indiana General Assembly to bring back a dismissed attempt by the DNR to bring back bobcat hunting. House Bill 1407 would have established a program “under which a bobcat may be taken in an eligible county,” according to the bill.
The DNR proposed in 2018 to open a hunting season in six southern Indiana counties, based on reports it was hearing from hunters.
Both the proposal in 2018 and the bill in 2019 failed, and bobcats in Indiana today remain under state protection.
“Bobcats are not uncommon around urban areas and not unusual to see one around a town,” Albers said. “It’s not a cause for concern. Bobcats are really cool and are actually a great Indiana success story.”