1 Bobcat Calling Tip to Beat Their Camouflage

Bobcat calling is easy. Spotting them when they arrive that’s where things get complicated. The bobcat’s incredible camouflage, stealthy approach, and supernatural ability to remain motionless render your eyes worthless.

No one knows how many bobcat hunters end their stands every day with an undetected bobcat mere yards away.

EDIT: Later in the article Mr. Michael Granstaff of BoardHunts.com is mentioned as the original creator of this system. This was indeed confirmed on May 17, 2022. Mr. Granstaff is not responsible for any errors in this article.

Bobcat calling tip.
A hidden bobcat in a field. Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Gerald Peplow.

The one bobcat calling tip that exposes a bobcat hiding in tall, grassy fields or inside dark wood lines is to use the Sun to spotlight the patch of white fur on its chest. By calling with the Sun at your back, you’ll make that cat stick out like it is wearing Blaze Orange.

Related: Learn these 3 vital tips to call a bobcat.

Related: The best time to hunt bobcats.

Sounds easy, right? It is! With the proper setup (explained step-by-step below), you can turn an invisible bobcat like the one pictured above into something like this.

Bob calling
Bobcat exposed by sunlight. Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Frank Fichtmueller.

Bobcat calling during the daytime.

Let’s face it, for too long, the bobcat has primarily been a ”target of opportunity.” Most bobcats are taken when they blunder into a coyote calling sequence. Pure chance has led many to believe bobcats only move and hunt during crepuscular (twilight) periods.

However, daytime bobcat calling and hunting is highly effective and often the only time allowed by many states.

Those bobcat hunters who live in states where night hunting of bobcats is prohibited have proven the adage that necessity is the mother of invention. They’ve proven, among other things, that bobcats are active during the day and that expensive night vision equipment is not always part of a predator hunter’s required equipment.

If you want to target and hunt bobcats specifically, you need to scout and put the Sun at your back.

Let’s find out how you can call in and quickly spot a bobcat.

Step One: Scouting for bobcat habitat.

Bobcats like cover. Scratch that; bobcats love concealment. And the best concealment is found in bobcat habitat.

What is bobcat habitat?

Bobcat habitat is an area consisting of healthy growing grasses, flowering, herbaceous plants, trees, and shrubs that provide abundant food and cover for their prey. These habitats typically require some human disturbance and usually consist of grasslands, new forests, and old fields.

Bobcat habitat
Excellent bobcat habitat.

A bobcat can take down an animal larger than itself, but the majority of its diet comes from smaller mammals. These mammals include squirrels, birds, rabbits, and many mice

If that menu looks familiar, it’s because coyotes and foxes eat the same thing. In the predator hunting world, that’s what Brian Rush of Rush Custom Callers calls a” Rabbit-tat.”

A Rabbit-tat is where rabbits live. Dense brushy areas, riverbanks bordered with heavy vegetation, land cleared of trees, and places where the tree line of a forest meets a farm field. Rabbits, rodents, and insects find the security of cover here and plenty of food and water. All three make up a large part of the bobcat’s diet.

Rabbit-tat also provides excellent concealment for a stalking feline. Such places allow the bobcat to spend its day unseen as it scouts and stalks the land. While it does, it can hear and see everything yet remain nearly invisible.

Identifying bobcat tracks and scat.

Once you have found suitable bobcat habitat, you’ll need evidence they reside there. There are two ways to prove a bobcat is nearby.

  1. Find bobcat tracks.
  2. Find bobcat scat.

How to identify bobcat tracks.

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Bobcat tracks in snow. Photo Credit: USFWS/Steve Gifford.

There are four quick ways to identify a bobcat track:

  1. A bobcat print will not have claw marks because they keep its claws retracted while moving.
  2. Bobcat prints will be wider than they are tall. 
  3. Bobcat prints have a” C “shape in the negative space between the toe and heel pads. 
  4. The front of the heel pad of a bobcat has two lobes, but the rear of the heel pad has three lobes.
Bobcat prints
Bobcat tracks in snow. Michigan. Photo Credit: Kevin Rought.

Related: How to read bobcat prints and scat.

How to tell you have found the perfect bobcat calling spot?

Bobcats trot faster than they walk (because it requires little effort, covers more ground in a shorter time, and is maintainable for long stretches at a time). When trotting, the legs move forward in diagonal, alternating pairs, which typically results in two feet being off the ground at any one time.

When a bobcat is patrolling or hunting inside its territory, it leaves a particular track called “the direct register trot.” You are in prime bobcat territory if you see a direct register sign (a track or print) like the one below.

Bobcat tracks in sand, understep
Direct register. Bobcat prints in sand. Photo Credit: IStock/ Anya Glass

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, says, “Hunt here!” like a direct register bobcat track.

What does bobcat scat look like.

Bobcat scat looks a lot like poop from a small dog at first. Averaging 4 inches in length and 1/2 inch in diameter, it is colored brown or black and split into ends that are blunt on one end and sometimes tapered on the other. Bobcat scat may contain some bones and fur of smaller ungulates prey.

Bobcat Scat.
Bobcat Scat. Photo Credit: Born1945. Https://flic.kr/p/oVezs

Bobcats often attempt to hide their dung by covering it. Before defecating, they will scratch an area bare to defecate in and then, after pooping, kick sand over it. Male bobcats, however, like to mark trail intersections as territorial boundaries by defecating at the intersection and then scraping and urinating on the spot.

Bobcat scat is proof you are in the right area to set up a stand.

Related: Read this article to determine how long the bobcat scat you found has been lying there.

Bobcat calling in areas without tracks or scat.

Don’t bother trying to call a location if you cannot locate bobcat sign (tracks and scat).

Bobcat sign is the only proof a bobcat is in the area. That particular rabbit-tat may be ideal for them to live, but there are probably no bobcats there if there’s no scat and tracks left behind.

Step two: Selecting your stand location.

Bobcat stand location. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/LesterBalajadia

Before you even think about hunting bobcats, forget everything you know about ”playing the wind.”

Yes, bobcats have a well-developed sense of smell. But, unlike coyotes, bobcats don’t use scent as a primary means of detecting prey. Bobcats rely mostly upon sight and sound to detect, approach, and pounce upon their prey. And, if a coyote is reluctant to chase a rabbit very far, the bobcat is even lazier—it wants to be within feet of its prey before striking.

You, as the bobcat hunter, must “play the Sun.” And that isn’t a bad thing, and it sure doesn’t make your hunt any harder. Have you ever seen a hunter take a coyote in a Santa suit or a deer hunter harvest a buck with a bow while wearing a Santa suit? Well, let’s just say you can take a bobcat after eating garlic knots and bathing in Irish Spring soap.

Bobcat calling during the day: Playing the Sun.

When calling bobcats and using the Sun to light up their white chest and underbodies, you will have to call for a long time and avoid being seen. Having the Sun at your back may help, but you can’t be fidgeting around and slapping at gnats. If you do, that cat is going to be gone.

Calling bobcats
The fatal flaw every bobcat has—the white underbelly. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Holly Kuchera.

How a bobcat moves during the day.

In all the years I have been on this planet, I’ve only seen two bobcats exposed in the middle of a field during daylight. Both times, those bobcats were actively killing prey, and both cats quickly got back into thick cover.

However, I’ve seen many bobcats brazenly cross open fields and waltz down logging roads at night

A bobcat during the day will usually stay safely out of sight. It will be through dense vegetation, along stream beds, or at the lowest point between two ridges when it moves.

And a bobcat will move slowly during the day, agonizingly slowly. It may have no idea it is being hunted, but it knows that a stealthy approach is needed to get within range of its prey.

That brings us to an essential aspect of bobcat hunting: Patience. Calling bobcats during the day is like making money in stocks. The amount of time you are willing to invest will determine the profit you make.

Bobcat calling means spending time on a stand, actively calling, and scanning. Forty-five minutes is the absolute minimum. Anything more means pure profit.

Click here to check out Amazon’s current prices for predator decoys.

Related: Read my article on closed reed callers.

How far apart to set your bobcat calling stands.

The rule of thumb is to set your bobcat stands about 1/2 mile apart.

While the sounds from your caller will travel further than 1/2 mile, it’s generally accepted wisdom that a bobcat will not travel greater than this distance to investigate the sound.

This isn’t the problem you think it is, though. If the rabbit-tat you found is large enough, you can take advantage of it and preplan to have several sets in multiple places.

Once you have found the perfect habitat, aim to have several stand locations at least ½ mile apart. The more stands you have, the better your odds of seeing a bobcat.

Step three: Placing your caller.

Bobcat calling tip
Bobcat made visible with a bit of sunlight.

Pro tip: Expect a bobcat to spend up to an hour sitting and studying your decoy before making a move.

After the bobcat has responded to the call and seen the decoy, here’s where most predator hunters fail. They haven’t seen the bobcat yet, haven’t reduced the volume of their calls, and start getting bored and moving around. The bobcat, however, is mere yards away, taking it all in. As the minutes pass, your overly loud calls and flailing arms will eventually send the cat fleeing in another direction.

If only you had a way to spot that motionless bobcat the moment it arrived. With it stationary for minutes on end, you could settle your crosshairs (and heart rate) and take the perfect shot.

Taking advantage of the bobcat’s fatal flaw.

Bobcats have one fatal flaw in their attack pattern—they always insist upon sneaking as close to the sound of their prey as possible. What, you thought I was joking when I said they were lazy? Oh, no, I was being 100% honest.

Trust me, every bobcat you call will try to remain tucked into cover while observing your decoy. While they are there, they will size up the situation and decide if exposing themselves is worth it.

If your caller and decoy are set up correctly with the Sun shining over your back and lighting up the target zone, that sitting bobcat should present an obvious, unmoving, and seated target.

Bobcat calling tip.
A motionless bobcat sizing up your decoy. Photo credit: Shutterstock/wirestock creators.

With this habit in mind and factoring in your shooting skills, you should set your caller about 1/2 half the distance of your shooting range. For example, if you can routinely hit the vital zone of a bobcat at 100 yards, set your caller 50 yards away.

Knowing the bobcat’s habit of holding up so close to your decoy means you do not have to scan the entire horizon ahead of you. Instead, focus your attention on the area directly ahead of you. Yes, you may miss the bobcat moving in and even miss a perfect behind the shoulders shot as the bobcat moves into position, but the odds are low that you would even see it during this stage.

Daytime bobcat calling sequences.

Ask any two predator hunters about a specific calling sequence, and you’ll get three opinions. We all think we have the best way, but we feel compelled to add caveats and legal disclaimers to prevent the likelihood of being proven wrong.

Matters only worsen when you ask, ”What’s the best way to call in a bobcat?”

There are two schools of thought when it comes to bobcat calling.

School #1 preaches continuous, nonstop calling. The proponents of continuous calling suggest this creates a constant sense of urgency in the cat and keeps it moving forward. These bobcat callers believe pauses give bobcats too much time to think.

School # 2 will sermonize you on the benefits of pauses, variations in volume, and even changing up animal sounds. They often ask, “How do you get a stopped bobcat to start moving again, if you never stopped calling?”

I suggest you try both methods. Run a few tests, and find out what works best for you.

But, yep, I want to throw in a caveat: If you are using a mouth caller, you will have to use pauses. Call too long with a mouth caller, and the quality of your sounds will quickly deteriorate.

Bobcat calling with the Sun at your back.

Remember: Set your stand with the Sun behind you and shining into the target zone.

I have to admit that this tip is a game-changer. It strips the bobcat of its invisibility and highlights it for you to see when you take your shot.

So, who discovered this weakness in the bobcat’s camouflage and created this method of exploiting it?

As far as I can determine, Michael Granstaff of BoardHunts.com gets the credit. His YouTube video on it is almost ten years old now (ancient by today’s standards), but the video quality is outstanding. The information provided by it is concise and accurate as any made today.

I’m going to leave the final word to him.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for ThePredatorHunter.com.

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