UNDERSTANDING BOBCATS IN THE GRANITE STATE: A cooperative project led by the University of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department


Capture and Handling Our Bobcats

New Hampshire Fish and Game contracted a group of willing trappers to assist us in obtaining adult bobcats. Their efforts yielded 12 cats in the southwestern and another 7 cats in the southeastern study area.

Thanks guys - you were a tremendous help!

Art Whipple
Art Whipple is one of several trappers contracted by NH Fish & Game to assist with the project. Art caught our first cat and was quite persistent ending the season with four cats that we were able to collar. In this photo, the bobcat seems to be cross eyed, a side effect of the immobilizing drug.   Here’s Mike Kazak with one of the two males he caught at the same location in Alstead. These guys will present a challenge keeping up with them given the nature of the terrain in that portion of the State.  
Jason Arrow was new to trapping but his keen interest in all things bobcat proved invaluable. Here he holds one of the two cats he was able to capture for the project.   Mike Morrison also was able to provide us with four cats that we could collar. Here, Mike holds the largest animal caught so far, a 38 pound male.  
Dan Hockman
Bob McMasters
Dan Hockman's persistence paid off and he was able to capture four cats in the wooldands of Gilford and Gilmanton.   Bob McMasters was able to balance out our sample by capturing three females in Barrington and Milton. The president of UNH even showed up for one of the captures!  

The following explains the basic steps we go through once an adult bobcat has been captured.

tranquilizing cover face
Step #1 - After body size and approximate age are assessed, we inject the bobcat with a combination of drugs that immobilize and calm it. Here, NH Fish and Game biologist Patrick Tate distracts the bobcat, while Derek Broman uses a syringe pole to inject the drugs into the rump of the animal. Once injected, researchers back away to allow the drugs to take effect.   Step #2 - After the bobcat is sedated, it is removed from the box trap and ointment is applied to its eyes to keep them moist. A hood is placed over the bobcat’s face to reduce visual stimuli.
weighing measuring
Step #3 - Now under the effects of the tranquillizer, gender, weight, and general condition are recorded. Several body measurements are also taken.
molar removal
molar removed
Step #4 - A small molar is removed to obtain an accurate age of the bobcat. Teeth, like trees, have annual growth rings.
ear tag
radio collar
Step #5 - A numbered ear tag is attached and a transmitter-equipped collar is fitted. One of the collar models we are using is designed to fall off the bobcat within a year. The other design includes cell phone technology that sends location data directly to UNH. That collar requires us to recapture the bobcat to remove the collar, recondition the batteries, and place it on a new bobcat.
Step #6 – After all information is recorded and the collar is in place, the bobcat is injected with a drug that reverses the tranquillizer.  It is then placed in a pet carrier and allowed to recover.   Step #7 – Within 15-20 minutes, the bobcat has recovered and the door on the carrier is opened releasing the bobcat.

Check out the video produced by Media Services at UNH that includes the basic procedures of collaring a ‘cat. Hear him ROAR!

To report problems or broken links, please contact m.litvaitis@unh.edu
Graph of food habits Locations in May 2010