How to Trap and Handle Southern, Southwestern Bobcat

Bobcat are a very valuable furbearer. They are located in most southern and southwestern states. Bobcat pelt values range from very low to very high from this section of the country.(Such as $20.00 for smoke belly cats of extreme southern areas to over $300.00 in northwest Texas during 2012-2013 season.) Wide bright spots on wide bellies bring the best prices.

Sun and heat are always bad on bobcat pelts. Do not carry them around on ATV or in truck in the hot sun. Remember that beds of trucks and ATVs heat up because of the muffler below the bed. A good idea would be to use a thick plyboard in the bed of the truck or ATV with insulating sheets under it. If you don't have a topper on your truck, use damp burlap over animals. Never pile bodies on top of each other as they will hold heat longer. A good box with top on it would do to carry your animals in.

Taint or rotted caused by sun, heat and shot animals are the #1 reason for bobcat to be down graded when they are sold. Never use heat or hot water to thaw them! Never shoot them with a high powered rifle and expect to get a good price for them. Tanned furs are just like cloth and would your wife want to make or buy a dress with a big old hole in the material.

Traps to Use

#3 Coilspring traps are the most popular in some areas because of the jawspread, as the bobcat have a large foot. Laminated jaws and added swivels help reduce any foot damage to a minimum. I prefer this trap with laminated jaws as non-targeted animals (dogs) don't have hardly have any foot damage. Many people use traps such as 1 1/2 coilspring with good luck and even the #11 longspring will hold them if you get two toes! 330 Body Traps are used in some areas with good success, but there is no release for non-targeted animals and I would not use or recommend them.

Bobcat Sets

Many bobcats are caught in dirt hole or flat sets made for fox and coyote. I have found that many bobcats will not come in close to the bait or lure, so put your trap back about 15" from attractor. Bobcat hunt to a large extent by sight, so use things like rabbit fur, feathers, old white bleached cow backbones, white egg shells, ect for visual appeal along with a good lure and bait.

The Scratch Out Set

Find a place where bobcats travel like old roads, trails, ect. Get off to the side about 2 or 3 feet, try to put on the side the wind blows across the road. I use a 3 prong garden scratcher to claw out a V shaped area with small point of V furthest away from the road. Pull out dirt and small trash out onto the trail or old road. Take a small stick and dip in lure, stick up in the air at the back of the V, put bone or feathers just in front of the lure. Sprinkle urine near trap after set, use stepping sticks on front and back of pan so animal will step right on to pan. I use 2 sticks on front of trap nearest the bait as big bobcats may step over the 2 stick method. Set your trap where the cat steps between the jaws and not over them. You may brush around your set as much as you want as long as you leave him a clear path over the trap to the attractor.

The Big Dirt Hole Set

Construct your set the same way as above but at the end of triangle dig a 45 degree hole about 10" to 12" around and about 18" deep. Put feathers or egg shells in the lip of the hole so they may be seen. Put your lure on top lip of the hole. Remember trap back 15", use stepping sticks, brush in so he has to go over the trap to get attractors.
Tip--Bobcats like beaver dams and beaver meat so set in these areas if you have access.
Tip--Most animals like the smell of beaver castor so try some of it.
Tip--All animals like white so be sure your attractor has some.

How to Skin Your Bobcat

Bobcat are skinned cased. Cut front legs off as near to the wrist as you can. Hang up by back legs. Split tail on inside from the vent down to the tip of the tail. Ream around the back legs. Split down to top of vent from each leg. Peel out tail with a good sharp knife. With your knife, cut behind hide on the leg as you pull down taking care not to cut hide. When you have the pelt skinned down about 1" onto the body, then you can pull down with back and belly while lightly cutting membrane behind pelt until you get to front legs. After you have gotten here, you can take a rounded stake rod or phillips screw driver and push behind the shoulder into membrane, taking care not to push through the pelt. Once through membrane take both hands and pull down to separate pelt to leg. Repeat on the other leg. Now grasp pelt and pull down until you see the puff up where ears are and cut behind the ear puffs and try to save ears on the pelts. Repeat on the other ear. Once the ears are cut behind and left on your pelt, you will have to use your sharp knife behind pelt while pulling down. When getting where eyes are cut behind the eye membranes. Once eye holes are cut out, then take your sharp knife again cutting down the nose, always cut behind nose resulting in nose being left on the pelt.

Now that you have the bobcat skinned, roll up from back end, making sure that no meat shows on roll up. Put a rubber band around the pelt to hold in, insert in plastic bag and freeze. Be careful that on any type of pelt, that several froze together may ruin some of them because fur is the greatest insulator and several together will not freeze. Never put in the refrigerator as the will ruin in 3-4 days if not frozen.

Selling your Bobcat Pelts Green

Take out of freezer the night before you will meet your green fur buyer. Put in a unheated area that will not be freezing over night. Never thaw your hides in water as it will make pelt ungradeable by the fur buyer. Don't use any kind of heat as it ruins the fur and will start the rotting process. Fur buyers would rather see them semi-frozen than see the pelts unthawed in water or by heat. When transporting to your fur buyer, please try to keep in an ice chest or at least in damp burlap in the shade. Direct sunlight will heat up a pelt very quickly and start the rotting process. If you have to transport your fur in a truck without an ice cooler, please don't put in your truck bed without some sort of board between the fur and truck bed. As the muffler on truck heats up truck bed. Never put furs in plastic while in the sun as plastic in the sun is like a microwave. You can ship bobcat froze and green. Call us for details.

Selling Your Bobcat Dry

Selling your fur dry will require you to scrape your pelt. You must have a fleshing beam, stretchers, fan, room to dry, knowledge on how to do this or a good book or DVD. Also there are some pro's that will do it for you for $5-$7. You can usually market your stretched fur when you want or be able to turn down bids or ship to auctions.

If you need more information on handling bobcat, call us and ask for Jimmy. If I'm not in, leave a phone number and I will call you back.
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