ST. LOUIS – With multiple hunting seasons now underway, hunters should keep an eye out for bobcats. In Missouri, there is a designated hunting season for bobcats, which spans from November 15 to the last day of February. 

Bobcats are larger than typical house cats and are distinguishable by their long legs and short, bobbed tails. They have strong swimming abilities and are skilled climbers. These creatures have a yellowish to reddish-brown coat with black streaks and spots.  

Bobcats are spotted using field cameras at night and daytime in southern Illinois.

Additionally, bobcats have a broad face with pointy ears that frequently have black spots and ear tufts. Both male and female bobcats exhibit similar physical characteristics. Bobcats typically measure between 18 and 50 inches in total length, with tail lengths ranging from 3 to 8 inches. Their weight can vary from 8 to 49 pounds. 

In Missouri, bobcats gravitate towards heavy forests with dense underbrush, broken up by elements like rock outcroppings, bluffs, glades, clearings, and timbered swamps. They require an extensive habitat for hunting, complete with thickets, caves, and crevices for rest, shelter, and dens. 

These animals are active throughout the year, with activity during both daytime and nighttime. However, they primarily hunt during dawn and dusk. While bobcats mainly prey on rabbits, their diet can also include small rodents, squirrels, turkeys, quail, and even deer, particularly fawns. Bobcats rely on their keen eyesight and hearing rather than their sense of smell.