Bobcats in Montana: Role of Bobcats in Montana’s Ecosystem

Bobcat has become the most commonly found wild cat in the North American region. It has become endemic to certain regions or areas of the continent. You can find these cats in almost every state of the USA. However, the population density of these cats varies from one state to another. In some states, it has also been declared endangered due to the very minute presence of these cats in the state.

In most states, there is a very healthy and robust population of bobcats. That’s why in these states it is also legally allowed to hunt and trap these cats for commercial reasons for a very limited time and numbers. In this article, we are going to let you know in detail about the incumbent status of bobcats in Montana.

Bobcats in Montana
Bobcats in Montana

Ecology of Montana

Montana lies near the southern border of Canada on the extreme north side of Wyoming. It is usually considered a very cold region of the USA but it also provides an ideal habitat for many land mammals as well as birds. You can easily find here a wide variety of animals like black-footed ferrets which are considered very rare in the North American continent.

One of the studies has estimated the number of animals as well as birds in the state. They have come to the conclusion that there are almost 450 special bird species, as well as reptiles, amphibians, and a lot of wild game animals, present in the state. Now it is important to find out what is the status of bobcats in Montana. Are there wild cats available in the state? If yes, then how many numbers of bobcats are available in the state?

Are there bobcats in Montana?

Bobcat in snow in Montana state mountains
Yes, Bobcats have a very stable population in Montana.

Montana is among the states of the USA which have a very stable population of bobcats and the population of these cats is continuously thriving day by day. Bobcats are actually native wild cats of the state. You can easily find these cats in every nook and corner of the country. Sometimes, these cats were also noticed in suburban areas and human settlement territories. These cats go there, especially in search of food.

The habitat of Montana is not very much constant and the state has constantly changed its environment. But bobcats have not left this place. You can easily spot these cats in the woodlands, boulders, abandoned mined shafts, caves, hollow logs, and also in suburban areas. It means the bobcats are regularly sighted in the state at various places and occasions.

Also, read our article for bobcats in North Carolina

Bobcats of Montana

Some unique bobcats were also noticed in Montana. Some bobcats in the state have also adopted very unique behavior regarding their hunting strategy. One of the bobcats in the state has been permanently settled along the Madison River in the Yellow stone national park. This cat has been showing very weird behavior as it occasionally goes in for capturing ducks.

It is very unusual for these cats as these cats are considered water averse. This thing has also attracted a lot of people to Madison’s river and boosted bobcats-related tourism during the winter season. According to the Journal of Biodiversity and conservation, this activity has generated a lot of revenue for local tourism-related agencies.

Population of bobcats in Montana

Bobcat population
There are approximately 2000 bobcats in Montana state.

Bobcats are the most popular wild cats in the state of Montana. Three other wild cat species also exist in the state. But these cats are fewer in number as compared to bobcats. The population of the bobcat has started to increase since 1983 when it was just 8154 bobcats in the state.

A special study was conducted by the Montana Fish, wildlife, and parks about the trends of the bobcat population, age, and distribution of the bobcats in the state. The population of bobcats in the state has been fluctuating since 2000 but not a significant change was seen in the population of the bobcat in the state.

Where do bobcats live in Montana?

Bobcats are available in almost 48 states of the USA and are highly adaptable cats bobcats are thriving in a variety of habitats like pine forests, swamps, rocky hillsides, mountains, deserts, coniferous forests, woodlands, and suburban areas. These cats could easily hide due to their stealthy nature and very unique coat color. In some of the places, a decline was seen in the population of the bobcats due to excessive hunting and destruction of the habitats but overall the population of the bobcats has been quite stable throughout the North American region.

Montana is also known for its variety of habitats. You can find rocks, grassy areas, covered areas, hollow hogs, boulders, abandoned mined shafts, and rich vegetated areas. The central region of Montana state is known for its covered areas and a large number of small mammals. You can find a lot of bobcats here due to the attraction of high prey density here. You can also find a lot of bobcat dens in the western region as this area is full of caves, hollow hogs, and woodlands.

Hunting and trapping of bobcats in Montana

As we have already told that Montana has a very stable population of bobcats throughout all the counties of the state. That’s why hunting and trapping of the bobcat are allowed in limited numbers for a limited time. However, hunting of bobcats is only allowed for the residents of the state only after taking permits but non-residents are strictly prohibited from doing this activity.

Generally, the hunting season has been divided according to a number of districts. For this purpose, these districts have been named trapping districts. For the first three trapping districts, the season starts on 1st December and ends on 15th February while for the last four districts, it starts on the 1st of December and ends on 1st march.

Laws and regulations regarding the hunting and trapping of bobcats

Bobcat sitting in Deep Snow  in Montana
Bobcats cannot be hunted without a proper license in Montana.

There are certain things that you need to follow while hunting and trapping the bobcats in Montana. The most important thing you need to remember is that you must not adopt an electronic calling method for this purpose. Nighttime hunting is also strictly forbidden in the state.

Here we have some other rules and regulations for hunting and trapping in the state.

  • You can hunt these cats in the only daytime.
  • You must come with a trapper’s license if you want to hunt and chase the cats.
  • If you just want to chase but not hunt these cats then you must come with a resident-hounding training license.
  • Bobcat is the only fur-bearing wild animal that is allowed to hunt but not other wild animals.
  • You might deploy hand-and-mouth calls for hunting purposes but not electronic callers.
  • Generally, you can only hunt these cats half hours before dawn and also half hours after dusk.
  • The time limit is different during the hunting season.

Nowadays, the hunting and trapping of bobcats are being done on a very large scale in all the states of the USA. In some the states like Illinois and Colorado, it was noticed the violation of legal hunting methods. The population is also declining very rapidly in some of the states due to excessive hunting. That’s why the states like California have completely outlawed the practices of hunting and trapping.


Bobcats has a very well-known presence in most of the states of the USA. Montana also comes under these states which have a very stable population of these cats. That’s why it is also legally allowed to hunt and trap these cats in the state but only after following certain rules and regulations. You can do these activities for a limited time and for a limited number of bobcats. Some of the bobcats in Montana have also been showing very unique and weird behavior sometimes. Montana is also very well known for these unique cats of the state.

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