Project Wild Coshocton is a long-term camera-trapping study of wildlife in Coshocton County, Ohio. Specifically, we hope to document the distribution of bobcats throughout the county over time and to determine whether their population is increasing or decreasing.
The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a medium-sized carnivore, and one of the few native cat species that was found throughout Ohio in pre-settlement times. By the mid-1800s, a combination of over-hunting, habitat loss (conversion from forest to farmland), and a decline in their prey had eliminated the species from Ohio (Hansen, 2007; ODNR Division of Wildlife, 2014). Occasional sightings indicated the bobcat had returned to Ohio by the 1960s, and in 1974, the species was listed as endangered in Ohio (ODNR Division of Wildlife, 2014). As small family farms were abandoned and reverted to secondary forest, additional habitat became available for bobcats, and with protection against hunting and trapping, the size of the bobcat population in Ohio began a slow but steady increase (ODNR Division of Wildlife, 2014). By 2006, the number of verified sightings recorded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife (ODW) began a steep rise, largely due to increased use of camera traps by land owners and hunters (ODNR Division of Wildlife, 2014). In 2012, the species was re-classified from endangered to threatened, and in 2014 it was removed from Ohio’s threatened and endangered species list, although it remains protected against hunting and trapping (ODNR Division of Wildlife, 2014). Systematic data on bobcat numbers are difficult to obtain. Through the use of trail cameras at sites throughout Coshocton County, we hope to contribute to the understanding of occupancy patterns and trends in the distribution of bobcats at the northwestern edge of their current Ohio range.
Have you seen a bobcat in Coshocton County? If so, we’d love to hear from you! E-mail us the approximate date and location of your sighting. If you have any photographs, please send those as well. You can reach us at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Twitter @WildCoshocton! We’ll be posting new photos from out trail cameras throughout the field season.
Hansen, K. (2007). Bobcat: Master of survival. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
ODNR Division of Wildlife. (2014). Summary of 2013 bobcat observations in Ohio. Retrieved from http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/portals/wildlife/PDFs/stay%20informed/bobcat%20annual%20report%202013.pdf