What is Best Time to Hunt Bobcats?

Knowing the best time to hunt bobcats is an essential piece of information for any predator hunter looking to take one of these elusive trophies. Understanding their habitat, home ranges, and travel distances and being aware of their activity patterns can help you put your stand at the right place and at the perfect time.

Best time to hunt bobcats
Bobcat running in the snow. Shutterstock/Dennis W. Donohue.

According to the research conducted on bobcat activity patterns, the best time to hunt bobcats is from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The second best time is from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. The worst time to pursue a bobcat is from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Related: Learn the three vital tips for bobcat hunting success.

Related: Learn the one secret calling tip helps you spot a hidden bobcat.

See the research on activity patterns here.

The best time to hunt bobcats in the northern vs. southern areas.

Time to hunt bobcats
Bobcat hunting in snow.

If you live in a northern area and hunt bobcats in the cold of winter, the best time to hunt a bobcat is during daylight hours (5 a.m. – 12 p.m.) However, if you hunt bobcats in the south, where the temperatures are warmer, bobcats tend to be more nocturnal, making 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. the best time to hunt bobcats.

How does moonlight affect the bobcat hunting times?

While it only makes sense that, since bobcats do not have night vision capabilities, their hunting activity patterns at night should correspond to the illumination provided by the moon. Therefore, a full moon should see bobcat night activity at its peak. In contrast, no or low moonlight levels should see less nocturnal bobcat activity levels (hunting).

Researchers have confirmed this with an interesting, helpful twist. Bobcats are most active during the day when moonlight is at its lowest (new moon phase).

For the predator hunters pursuing bobcats, the conclusion is obvious. Hunt bobcats at night when there is bright moonlight. Hunt bobcats during the day, when the moonlight the night before was low.

See the original research here.

When is the best time to hunt bobcats at a water source?

Best Time to hunt bobcats
Texas bobcat drinking at a pond. Shutterstock/Sharon Robles

Like any other animal, a bobcat will need a steady supply of water. So, when is a bobcat most likely to be found at an isolated water source?

A bobcat is most likely going to visit a water source in the drier, warmer months of Spring and Summer.

Bobcats overwhelmingly prefer sources surrounded by think cover. If multiple sources are available, look for sign and scat to determine which are being visited.

The best time to find a bobcat near water is 4 a.m. The least likely time is 1 p.m.

See the original research here.

How temperature affects your bobcat hunting time.

For the most part, hotter temperatures decrease bobcat activity levels. Colder temperatures, however, have the opposite effect, with bobcat movement increasing.

During the Winter, a bobcat spends more hours active and traveling. First, it requires additional calories to survive in the lower temperatures. Secondly, its prey animals will be scarcer and harder to find.

And, in January, mating season adds third motivation for an increased activity for male bobcats—finding a suitable mate.

See the orginal research here.

Predicting bobcat travel patterns.

Bobcats love logging roads and atv trails. They also routinely reuse the same the same travel patterns within their territories.

If you can find certain scat and tracks, you will know you are within a bobcat’s territory.

The best bobcat scat to find?

Male bobcats like to mark trail intersections as territorial boundaries by defecating at the intersection and then scraping and urinating on the spot.

Bobcat scat with a urinated on scrape has a distinct “house cat” like odor.

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

The best bobcat tracks to find?

Direct Register Walk: Anytime the hind paw steps into the space just occupied by the front paw on the same side; this is called a direct register.

The direct register walk is seen chiefly in “safe” areas (places well known to the predator) and where there are topographical problems. It permits the surest of footing and prevents tripping into holes or over other obstructions.

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

If you find either of these signs, you are in a bobcat’s territory. Grab your caller and check your watch. It’s almost time to go bobcat hunting.

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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