Comfort Over Caliber For Cats

Rimfires work fine for bobcats, but hunters should use the rifle they’re most comfortable with, regardless of caliber.

While bobcats are not particularly tough, they do deserve respect. Bobcats can kill adult deer, so they’re capable of injuring a human.

Many hunters have taken bobcats with the .22 LR cartridge while hunting squirrels. Pelt hunters might use one of the hotter .17 rim-fires. However, Outfitter Johnnie Dale recommends using .22 caliber or .243 caliber center-fire rifles for hunting bobcats over bait. He would rather a hunter bring his favorite deer rifle than anything else because an opportunity might be fleeting and it might be the only one presented over the duration of a hunt that can last several days.

Dale places his baits at ranges of 50- 125 yards from the same tree stands he uses for hunting deer and feral hogs. The long distances decrease the chances of a bobcat spotting a hunter as it studies the area before approaching the bait. Long ranges relative to the small size of the quarry and possible low-light conditions require a good scope.

For close-range shooting, Dale recommends a shotgun loaded with No. 2 shot, which is also handy to have in hand when trailing a wounded bobcat into one of the Carolina bays of the Coastal Plain, which have some of the thickest vegetative cover in the world.


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