Predator Hunting the Bobcat in Kentucky
by Robert Rhodus
I’ve hunted a lot of animals in what time God has blessed me on this earth. From hunting the rut crazed buck, the beautiful eastern turkey, and fox squirrels none have got my heart racing like the Kentucky bobcat. The emotions that arise hunting a predator and the art of calling one in, is not only challenging but rewarding when you’re fortunate enough to bring a hunt together.
In the midst of a recent frozen Kentucky morning, the sun starting to peak as it rose over the ridge to my east. Excitement filled my head. I couldn’t sleep the night before. My mind was full of anticipation of calling in and hopefully harvesting another Kentucky bobcat.
I set up on the back side of a pond. It was down in a holler and using a thicket for cover and a walnut tree for a back rest. I pulled out my fox pro caller and set it up. My position was ideal with the wind just right. There was a beautiful blanket of snow covering the Kentucky bluegrass, it had been falling for three days. With several unsuccessful hunts during the cold front, I had a good feeling about this one . I settled my 22-250 into the ready position as the sun warmed the woods. Mrs. McCottontail in distress echoed from my fox pro through the holler and beyond. I try to always be prepared for a shot, but was surprised what would would happen in the next few moments.
The snow started to glisten from the sun rising over the ridge and I caught a glimpse of movement out of my peripheral. A sly bobcat stalked peacefully towards my position. The temperature instantly started to increase as my heart started pounding. I waited a few moments as it made its way to the edge of the thicket. As the cat started to exit the thicket I adjusted my rifle as the bobcat entered a shooting lane. I placed the cross hairs on its chest and slowly took a breath and squeezed the trigger.
It had been 3 days of arctic weather, hard hunting and frustration to get to this point. What a tremendous feeling it was overcoming the elements, and frustration to harvest such a beautiful bobcat. It was all worth it to make it to that moment of success.
After a moment of collecting myself from the rush, I made my way approximately 55 yards to where the cat fell. Coming up on it, being humbled is an understatement. I stood and admired the bobcat’s leopard spotted coat blowing in the wind. To harvest such an incredible animal, that I respect, is a blessing for a predator hunter. I’ve found that there’s a need for predator hunting. I hadn’t always had an understanding that predator hunting must be done on occasion to help preserve the smaller game population. I solidified what I had set out to accomplish that day and hopefully saved a few turkeys, rabbits, and squirrels for the time being.
As a boy I was thrilled to get out into the woods. As an avid hunter I have evolved into who I am as a hunter and that patience is key. Take the time to enjoy what we have surrounding us not only in the woods but in life. There’s so much to be experienced and appreciated and I know that I have taken these things for granted at times.
If I could give any advice for anyone that’s interested in predator hunting, specifically bobcats. Habitat is key. When going scouting and looking for signs, I’ve always had success with locations that have access to water and cover. Mainly a thicket within sight of a small pond. When using a caller, work the volume to find a constant sound wave that effortlessly flows through your surroundings.
When a location makes sense, one of the most important things I’ve learned is to be aware of the predator’s possible approach routes. Always hunt the wind, keep movement to an absolute minimum, and have fun. Thank you for your time and God bless.