DNR Verifies 10 Reports of Bobcats

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Evidence of bobcats living in Ohio’s eastern and southeastern counties continues with state wildlife officials recording 10 verified reports during 2003, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

The bobcat was found throughout Ohio during early settlement, but as land was converted for crops and communities its population declined. By 1850, the animal could no longer be found in the state. A handful of unverified sightings in the 1960s marked the bobcat’s unofficial return to Ohio. Since 1970, state wildlife biologists have documented 70 verified bobcat sightings from 31 counties.

In 1997, the ODNR Division of Wildlife began monitoring the presence of bobcats in Ohio, using a combination of field surveys and follow-up investigations of sightings. These efforts have been supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species fund, which receives donations from Ohioans through the state income tax check-off program and by the purchase of wildlife conservation license plates.

Verification of the elusive bobcat includes photographs of the animal and its tracks; bobcats encountered through incidental trapping; recovered road kill and sightings by division personnel. All of the 2003 reports occurred in the following counties: Washington, Harrison, Muskingum, Athens, Mahoning, Noble, Vinton and Jackson. ODNR also received 32 unverified bobcat reports last year.