An International Falls woman had not one, but two bobcat encounters over the weekend.
Few humans ever see a bobcat in the wild, say wildlife biologists, but Jeanne Corrin was able to see — and snap photos — of two Saturday and Sunday.
The experience started Friday while Corrin was walking her two Labrador retrievers. She said they ran out on the ice into the tall reeds near her Rainy Lake home, a behavior she flagged as odd for the duo.
Then, while walking Saturday, they started acting differently again.
“They had the hair up on their backs and were acting strange,” Corrin said. “A neighbor who’d been fishing or trapping must’ve left something on the dock, which attracted the bobcat out in the open... my dogs chased it out into the tall reeds again. Luckily, they didn’t go in after it.”
While Corrin admits she felt “a bit nervous,” she was able to snap a photo of the four-legged visitor.
“It didn’t seem bothered by automobile traffic or me yelling for the dogs,” she said. “And it did come back when I checked later. A couple guys told me how lucky I was to see it.”
Her luck continued into Sunday when she spotted another bobcat while traveling to and from her hunting shack.
According to Department of Natural Resources website, the bobcat is the most common of Minnesota’s three native wildcat species, the others are the cougar and Canada lynx. About 2,000 bobcats live in northern Minnesota.
The bobcat appears smaller and more slender than the lynx. It has shorter ear tufts, smaller less furry feet, and the tip of its tail is black only on the top. It is not gifted with tremendous speed or a keen nose. Rather, it depends upon sharp eyesight and stealth to locate and stalk its prey. After getting close, it springs and seizes its victim with needle-sharp claws and teeth.
Adults can grow up to 26 -36 inches long, plus a 4- to 7-inch tail. Adult females weigh 20 to 25 pounds, and adult males about 30 pounds.
Baby bobcats are usually born during late March through May in a litter of two to four kittens. Sometimes they are born as late as September. Dens are often in a brush pile or fallen hollow tree and are lined with moss and leaves before the female gives birth. Kittens stay with their mother for nearly one year before moving on to find their own home range.
The bobcat eats a wide range of small and medium-sized prey including mice, snowshoe hares, squirrels, birds, and white-tailed deer fawns. The bobcat can kill an adult deer by pouncing on the deer’s neck from an over-hanging tree limb and piercing the jugular vein in the deer’s neck with its teeth.
The bobcat is named for its “bob” tail, which looks as though it has been cut off at about 5 inches long. It easily climbs trees, and sometimes catches and eats porcupines which also climb trees.