Bobcats In North Carolina: Exploring The World Of Bobcats In NC

Bobcats could be found in every nook and corner of the United States except a few places like Delaware. These cats have some special presence in some areas like bobcats in North Carolina. According to the Fish and wildlife management journal, there were almost 126,000 bobcats in NC in 2010 and this population has been continuously growing in the state. This study was published after getting some highly reliable data from multiple sources like public sightings, hunter surveys, vehicle hits, etc.

The increase in the population of bobcats has happened due to multiple factors like habitat availability, increasing prey density, changes in the landscape used practices, and harvest management techniques for bobcats. Despite having a very large increase in population, it is still very rare to see these cats due to their very stealthy and shy nature. In this article, we are going to discuss the presence of bobcats in North Carolina in detail to let you know everything about the bobcats what these cats are and how they live in the state.

Bobcats In North Carolina
Bobcats In North Carolina

North Carolina bobcat

Bobcats have a special presence in North Carolina state. In the state, the bobcats look the same as house cats except for the difference in their sizes. These cats are almost double the size of domestic cats. There is a difference in the size of male and female bobcats. Male bobcats are slightly bigger, heavier, and longer than female bobcats. Male bobcats are almost 38 inches long and have a weight of around 35 pounds while female bobcats are 32 inches long and weigh around 30 pounds. Bobcats in North Carolina behave in the same way as bobcats in any other state.

What do bobcats eat in North Carolina?

What do bobcats eat in North Carolina?
Bobcat hunted a rabbit for eating.

There is a very thick density of prey that bobcats can eat in North Carolina State. These cats can easily find and hunt their prey in the state due to the very large abundance of prey in every nook and corner of the state. Bobcats are carnivores and utilize all of their excellent senses like hearing, smelling, and sighting senses in hunting down animals like rabbits, mice, squirrels, etc.

These cats usually hunt at both dawn and dusk due to their both Nocturnal and crepuscular behavior. They also make a lot of dens in their trail where they go hunting. In North Carolina, they also utilize venomous snakes as a source of food sometimes despite having no immunity against the venom. These cats could easily pin the snake’s head and dispatch the spine from the head.

Sometimes, these cats also target animals that are much larger than their own sizes like white-tailed deer and wild hogs. Generally, they eat rodents, cotton tails, reptiles, insects, birds, and carrions. They also like to target small domestic animals or pets like goats, and chickens if these cats are living near residential areas.

Where do bobcats live in North Carolina?

Bobcats are extremely stealthy and shy in nature and it is extremely difficult to encounter these cats in the wilderness despite having a very large presence in the states like North Carolina. Being highly adaptable cats, bobcats can make their homes in any kind of habitat like mountains, plains, deserts, swamps, etc.

In North Carolina, these cats are mostly found on the eastern and western sides. The eastern side of North Carolina is good due to the good habitat and presence of places like hardwoods, and pine stands. On the western side, you can find the Appalachian Mountains where these cats can enjoy good habitats and also find good sources of food in the form of foxes, groundhogs, black bears, and elks.

Also, read our article for bobcats in Pennsylvania.

What is the status of the bobcat population in North Carolina?

Bobcat standing on a dead tree trunk.
Bobcats have a huge population in NC.

North Carolina has a very huge presence of bobcats on almost every side of the state. Most of these cats could be found in the eastern and western sides of the state. According to a study conducted in 2010, it was estimated that there were almost 126,000 bobcats in the state. The population has been continuously growing since then and now it has been estimated that there are almost 1 million bobcats in the state which is quite a huge population.

Despite having a very large population, it is very rare for human beings to encounter these cats in the state. According to KDVR-TV, once a five-year-old girl has an encounter with a bobcat which was recorded on camera. It happened when a bobcat in North Carolina was chasing rabbits. Bobcat left the place just after 22 seconds without harming the defenseless girl.

There was another encounter between a couple and a rabid bobcat in North Carolina. When the bobcat tried to attack the couple, then the man shot the cat with his gun and ran after the cat and eventually killed it.

What should you do if you have an encounter with the bobcat?

What to do if you see a bobcat - infographics
What to do if you see a bobcat – infographics

According to the California department of fish and wildlife, there are certain things and precautions you need to adopt if you have an encounter with these cats in the wilderness. These could be the immediate reactions.

  • Shout loudly to scare the animal away from you.
  • Wave your arms to show your huge presence.
  • Try to splash water on the cat if you have the facility nearby.
  • Throw some stones or rocks toward the cat.

Wild cats in NC

Many wild cats used to be present in North Carolina. Nowadays, it has been reduced to just bobcats. Bobcat is the only native wild cat that you can find in North Carolina. Mountain lions also used to be the native members of the state but these cats have gone extinct from the state since the late 19th century.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has also reported the sightings of the cougar in the state. But these reports have been refuted due to some mistaken identities. Black panthers also used to be a member of the state and sightings of these cats were also reported sometimes but there is no actual proof about these cats.

Home ranges of bobcats in NC

In North Carolina, bobcats enjoy a very good home range. Overall, these cats can easily cover areas of almost 20 square miles around their dens. Male bobcats tend to cover more area as compared to female bobcats. On average, male bobcats cover five times more area as compared to female bobcats. These cats also like to overlap their home ranges with their counterparts and sometimes with other animals.

Laws and regulations for hunting bobcats in North Carolina

Laws and regulations for hunting bobcats in North Carolina
You need to have a license for hunting bobcats in NC.

If you want to hunt bobcats in North Carolina, you need to follow certain rules and regulations. The hunting season usually starts on 18th October and ends on 28th February. The timing of hunting starts 30 minutes before sunrise and ends 30 minutes after sunset. You need to have a proper license before hunting these cats. Here you can have an overview of certain laws and regulations regarding the hunting of these cats in North Carolina. Source.

  • You can legally suppress while hunting these cats.
  • Electronic callers are strictly prohibited.
  • Hand and mouth callers are allowed.
  • It is legal to decoy these cats while hunting.
  • It is illegal to use artificial lights and electronic calls while hunting.

Can you kill a bobcat on your property in North Carolina?

Yes, you can kill bobcats if bobcats are entering your property and acting very wildly and aggressively and you feel any danger from the cat. However, it is better to run away from these cats and call the relevant authorities for the capturing of these cats.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, there are a lot of bobcats in North Carolina. You can find these cats in a wide range of habitats in North Carolina state. In this state, you can mostly find these cats in the woodlands, coastal plains, mountains, bottomlands, swamps, young pine stands, etc.

You can find bobcats in every county of the state. Generally, these cats in the state have a length in the range of 24 to 40 inches and weigh between 10 to 30 pounds. Male bobcats’ of the state are almost 3 times larger than the female bobcats of the state.

Bobcat is the only native wild cat that you can find in North Carolina. In the state, there used to be many other big wild cats like cougars, black panthers, and mountain lions available. However, now these have gone extinct from the state.


Bobcats are very well-known wild cats in North Carolina. These cats have grown in very large numbers in the state. Several incidents of these cats’ encounters with human beings have been reported in the state. Sometimes these cats also got killed by people. It is generally allowed to hunt and trap these cats if you have legal permits for this purpose. However, there is a limit to these kinds of hunting. Bobcats in North Carolina have some special importance in the state due to their huge and unique presence in the state.

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