Bobcats in Arkansas: An Iconic Species and Symbol of Wilderness

Being the most well-known wild cat in North America, the bobcat also has a very good presence in Arkansas state. These phantom-like cats are present everywhere in the state. You may also spot these cats in the local parks of Arkansas, in the wooded areas of the state, and even in your neighborhoods or backyards. If you have an interest in hiking then you may also witness these cats on the beautiful trails of Arkansas. In this article, we are going to discuss in detail the bobcats in Arkansas, how they are living and what is their conservation status in the state.

Bobcats in Arkansas
Bobcats in Arkansas

Ecology of Arkansas

Arkansas has a very suitable environment for the long-term existence and growth of the bobcat in the state. Generally, Arkansas has very dense forests, riparian woodlands, rocky ledges, field borders, and outcroppings. These areas are highly conducive for bobcats to live here. Moreover, there is also the good presence of small mammals like rodents, rabbits, mice, and voles here which are a good source of food for bobcats. That’s why bobcats readily live in the state and also thrive very rapidly.

Arkansas Bobcat

Arkansas Bobcat standing near the wood logs

Bobcats are available in Arkansas. These cats are in quite good numbers in the state. An exact number of bobcats might not be available in the state but these cats have a very stable, robust, and healthy population in the state which is also continuously thriving very rapidly. You may not see these cats easily on the roads or trails as these cats are quite good at hiding themselves. These cats could also easily blend into the local environment.

Also read, bobcats in Utah.

Where do bobcats live in Arkansas?

Bobcat in Ozark national forest.
Bobcat in Ozark national forest.

Bobcats are highly adaptable to different kinds of habitats. That’s why these cats were sighted in every nook and corner of the state. You can find these cats in the woodlands, swamps, and mountains of the state. Most of the towns of the bobcats are around the forested areas of the state. That’s why people are witnessing these cats even during the daytime. You can enjoy the best view if you witness these cats around the little pieces of rocks in the state.

Other than habitat, bobcats also like to prefer areas where they can easily find their prey. That’s why these cats are also settling in suburban areas where they can easily catch their prey like rodents, rats, and rabbits. However, if you really want to see these cats in Arkansas, you need to visit the Ozark national forest in the state, or you must go hiking on the trails.

Moreover, there are also a lot of bobcats available in the Turpentine creek wildlife refuge in Eureka springs. In this facility, you can closely observe these wild cats. There are almost seven bobcats available in the facility. There is a little rock zoo in the state which have a few bobcats available on the exhibition side. Having these facilities, People are very glad as they can easily visit these facilities without worrying about vicious attacks from these cats. Other than this, you may not see these cats in your surroundings as these cats are very stealthy and secretive in nature.

What do bobcats eat in Arkansas?

Bobcats are apex predators and mainly rely on small mammals like rodents, rabbits, mice, birds, and squirrels. They can fulfill their food needs and also keep in check the extraordinary growth of the population of small animals which could be harmful. These cats sometimes also attack livestock and pet animals like pets and dogs in farms and human settlements.

Size of the bobcat in Arkansas

A pair of bobcats interacting in the forest.
Arkansas bobcats are almost 37 inches long and weigh around 36 pounds.

Bobcats are quite good in size and more than double the size of domestic cats. On average, bobcats in Arkansas are almost 37 inches long and weigh around 36 pounds. Male bobcats are larger in size than female bobcats of Arkansas. Bobcats are also available in very large sizes and have good weight. In 2008, the largest bobcat spotted in Wisconsin weighed around 52 pounds. Some hunters have also reported the bobcat having a weight of around 75 pounds but there is no proof regarding this.

Hunting and trapping of bobcats in Arkansas

Hunting and trapping of the bobcat are legally allowed in the state but only for a limited time and in limited numbers. You cannot hunt these cats without having a permit anywhere in the state. Officially the hunting season of the bobcats starts on 1st September and ends on 28th February. You can hunt only two cats per day. You must have a license for this purpose and you must also be above 16 years old for performing hunting activities.

Only selected weapons are allowed for this purpose, you cannot deploy all kinds of weapons. The most feasible weapon for the hunting of these cats is specially trained dogs that can trace them in the wilderness. Bobcats are mainly hunted for the sake of their fur. The coat is separated and skinned and cleaned for the sale.

Rules and regulations for the hunting of bobcats in Arkansas

  • First of all, you must have an Arkansas hunting license for this purpose.
  • Electronic, mouth, and hand callers are legally allowed to deploy for hunting purposes.
  • You can also utilize suppressors for this purpose.
  • You must do proper tagging of furbearer pelts.
  • During turkey season, only daytime hunting is allowed and dogs are also prohibited in this season.
  • Only youth can hunt bobcats during days of a youth turkey hunt.
  • Dogs are also prohibited in the deer zone.
  • You may use archery, rifle, or shotgun as a weapon.

Other wild cats of Arkansas

mountain lion and Florida panther are also the wild cats of Arkansas.
Mountain lions and Florida panthers are the wild cats of Arkansas.

There are also many other big cats in Arkansas other than bobcats. The most prominent wild cats which you can find in Arkansas other than bobcats are the Florida panther and mountain lion. However, the population of these wild cats is not good enough as compared to bobcats. Florida panthers mainly come from very far from Florida to Arkansas. They had a very active presence in the state almost one century before but now they are very less in number.

It has been roughly estimated that there are only 300 Florida panthers present in the North American continent and most of them are in Florida. That’s why these wild cats are among the critically endangered species of the continent and on the red list of the international union for the conservation of nature.  According to wildlife officials of Arkansas, there is no presence of Panthers in the state.

Mountain lions are also very few in number in the state. People have reported the presence of these wild cats in the forests and mountain areas but there is no proof of them. However, one official confirmation came from mammoth spring in the Northern side of Arkansas. Other than this, there is no official proof of mountain lions from anywhere in the state of Arkansas.

Conservation of wild cats in Arkansas

The majority of the wild cats in Arkansas are bobcats but some other wild cats like mountain lions and panthers are also present in the state. These wild cats are very few in number and are considered endangered species. It is extremely necessary to preserve these wild cats in the state as these cats are very vital for maintaining the ecosystem of Arkansas. There must be safe environments for wild cats in the state for their growth. In this way, you can also keep yourself safe from these wild animals.


Bobcats have a very good presence in the state of Arkansas. You can find these cats in every nook and corner of the state. The state of Arkansas provides a very conducive environment for the growth of these cats. There are also many other big cats available in the state but these cats are very few in number. These cats are actually endangered. Overall, a good population of the bobcat is highly beneficial in maintaining the ecosystem of the state.

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