Iowa may be the “Hawkeye State” but an Iowa Department of Natural Resources study finds bobcats roam large areas of the state too. D-N-R wildlife research biologist Todd Gosselink is finishing up the first year of a three-year study of bobcats. He says one of the most surprising findings thus far are the areas bobcats in Iowa use compared to studies done in adjacent states. He says when compared to Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin, Iowa male bobcats are using three to five times larger areas as their home range. Gosselink says Iowa bobcats probably travel more looking for love and a place to stay.He says it’s likely their densities are low and they have to travel farther to find females, and he says it could also be a habitat difference where wood lots are farther apart, leading to more travel. Gosselink says the move of bobcats is part of the information they’re trying to collect to draw a profile on the animals. He says they’re trying to find out how many there are in the state and their habits. He says they’re working with hunters and trappers to document bobcat sightings. He says so far they’ve had 50 bobcat sightings, mostly in southern Iowa. Gosselink says they also placed radio-tags on 23 bobcats during the fall and winter trapping season. Gosselink says the bobcats can startle people, but he says they aren’t a danger.He says the adult males weigh an average of 24 pounds, and are just too small to pose a threat to calves or cattle. Gosselink says the bobcats actually are benefit . He says 90-percent of their diet is rodents and mice and he says they do a good job of keeping the rodents and rabbits in check. Gosselink says the bobcats with radio tags are in Warren, Marion, Clarke, Lucas, Monroe, Appanoose and Davis counties.
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