Bobcat Sighting on the Klickitat - Columbia Land Trust
Lynx  rufus. Photo by Alan Vernon

Lynx rufus. Photo by Alan Vernon

I was walking through a pine and oak forest at Bowman Creek, juggling a chainsaw and fencing tools, inspecting the barbed wire for winter damage. It was early April and the cattle on our neighbor’s property would be let out to graze in two weeks time. The cluster lilies and lomatiums were in full bloom and they weren’t the only distractions. Already that morning I’d seen two herds of deer, a coyote, several western gray squirrels, a flicker, and wild turkeys. It seemed everyone was out enjoying spring and I among them. I was just shifting my saw from one shoulder to the other when I glimpsed unusual movement ahead. Loping through the grassy understory of the pine forest was the smallest of our North American wild cats, Lynx rufus, the bobcat. Typically active at dawn and dusk, I was surprised to see one at all, let alone at high noon. On the west side of the Cascades, a bobcat’s diet consists almost exclusively of hares and rabbits, but on the east side can include a wider diversity of small mammals and even deer. I wondered if it had been dining on any of our resident small mammals, particularly the western gray squirrels so abundant on this land. I stood stock still, willing it to stop or run right for me so I could get a better look. No such luck. The same qualities that make bobcat great hunters, kept me wanting long after it had disappeared into the canyon. But it sure beat inspecting barbed wire. –Lindsay Cornelius