Bobcat found dead near Akron

Posted August 27, 2017 at 11:24 pm

By Julie Ann Madden

At about 6 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, a motorist spied the body of a bobcat lying on the north shoulder of S.D. Highway 48 between the South Dakota/Iowa bridge and the quarter mile line in Union County.

It appeared to be an adult male, said Josh Delger, S.D. Game, Fish & Parks Terrestrial Resource Supervisor, noting it was pretty mangled.

The bobcat appeared to have been struck by a passing vehicle and then scavengers had been feeding on it by the time The Akron Hometowner saw it later that morning.

“You don’t hear a lot about bobcats,” said Delger, explaining it’s because they are secretive animals in nature. “They do tend to cover a large territory — in western South Dakota, a male’s territory can be 30 square miles. They have pretty large home ranges compared to coyotes, which have similar lifestyles.”

Bobcats are interesting in general, he said. They don’t typically show the fear other animals do. They tend to hide from you rather than run away. They stick to denser habitats and would just sit there and watch you walk by instead of run away.

“I don’t know if that’s scarier or not,” said Delger. “You might walk right by one and not know it.”

There is actually a limited hunting season for bobcats in Union County, he said. It’s Dec. 26 to Jan. 21 and hunters are limited to one per person and the hunting area is limited to the Missouri River corridor — doesn’t go north of Union County locally but goes westward to Clay and Yankton counties to Springfield and Chamberlain.

In western South Dakota, there is a full bobcat season, which runs Dec. 31 through Feb. 15 and there is no limit on harvest numbers.

“We want to be conservative in this part of the state (because there are less bobcats here),” said Delger. “Here our harvest is pretty limited, usually in the single digits — from North Sioux City to Springfield.”

“There’s not a lot of harvest but we know they are there in some numbers because we get some harvested,” he said.

“Their density (in numbers) is fairly low in this part of the world,” said Delger, “and bobcats stick to low-bottom river habitats such as along the Big Sioux River or Missouri River.”

“They are not really expansive (in density),” he said. “They’ve always kind of been part of that habitat — always been here. Bobcats just have really low density compared to something like coyotes.”

“We do get probably a couple reports every year of bobcats spotted along the Big Sioux River between Sioux Falls and Sioux City,” said Delger.

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