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Illinois hunting and fishing

A bobcat at the Henson Robinson Zoo in Springfield. Chris Young/The State Journal-Register.

Bobcat found dead raises interest in New Salem-area wildlife

November 30, 2010 at 10:03 PM

The State Journal-Register

PETERSBURG—A bobcat found dead along Illinois 97 near Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site has sparked renewed interest in the area’s wildlife.

Tim Guinan, site superintendent of Lincoln’s New Salem, discovered the bobcat Nov. 26.

The restored log cabin village, which showcases life on the Illinois frontier in the 1830s, is along the Sangamon River. Bald eagles nest nearby, and the site has plenty of deer and wild turkeys.

“Needless to say, there is quite a bit of wildlife here,” Guinan says.

Guinan said increases in the diversity and abundance of local wildlife provide an opportunity to complement the site’s human history with natural history.

“New Salem has a lot to offer on the natural resources side,” he said.

The body of the adult female bobcat was found north of the park entrance near a creek that passes under the highway.

“She was walking along an old road and was going to cross 97 and come right up into my backyard,” said Guinan, who lives at the park.

The presence of a bobcat has generated interest beyond the historic site.

“Since the word got out in Petersburg, I’ve been flooded with calls and messages asking, ‘Is it true? Is it true?’” he said.

The bobcat’s body has been frozen, and Guinan is waiting for permits from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources so he can send it to a taxidermist for mounting.

It eventually will be displayed in New Salem’s visitor center.

Bobcats are secretive animals and might be more common than people realize.

According to a study conducted by the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at Southern Illinois University, bobcats have been reliably sighted at least once in 92 of the state’s 102 counties, with 71 counties having three or more sightings.

Bobcats are most numerous in the southern third of the state. The study estimated there were about 3,200 bobcats south of Interstate 64 in 2009. They were removed from the Illinois list of threatened species in 1999.

Bobcats are about twice the size of a house cat, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources furbearer website. Adults measure 20-23 inches high at the shoulder and 30-35 inches long. They eat rabbits, squirrels, birds and rodents.

“Now we know that there has been a bobcat — and maybe plural — in this area,” Guinan said. “We had a visitor report a mountain lion down by the grist mill about 14 months ago, and now what I’m thinking they saw was a bobcat.”

The New Salem site extends on the east side of Illinois 97, where there is a boat ramp and a picnic area.

Some other portions of the property are remote and rarely used.

Guinan said the sighting has him thinking about other wildlife that might be using the site’s wooded areas along the Sangamon River.

He said he wants to set up a game trail camera in one of the more remote areas to see if he can capture an image of another bobcat — or other wildlife.

“They’ve got plenty of area over there,” Guinan said. “We’ve hardly ever explored it.”

Chris Young can be reached at 788-1528.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Apparently, this must be a big deal in that area. They are fairly common in the south.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/01 at 08:52 AM

just spotted one from my treestand 11 20 2010 union county beautiful animal

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/01 at 09:44 AM

watched three roam around the woods about 3 weeks ago down near sparta.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/01 at 12:48 PM

You guys are lucky. I would love to see one in the wild. I am going to try to set up my trail cam to see if any others remain near New Salem.

Posted by Chris Young on 12/01 at 02:15 PM

There may be more to “getting the picture” than setting up a trail camera. I live in the deep south. I see them fairly frequently when deer hunting. I also have SEVERAL trail cameras that are placed on the property I hunt….......with “0” pictures of bobcat. You will probably need to incorporate the use of “lures” in order to get your picture. There are a few people who frequent the website “Southern Illinois Outdoors” that have been successful with taking pictures of bobcats. You might want to check that site out.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/01 at 02:28 PM

I have lived here in Sangamon County all my life and never have I seen a Bobcat, unlike down south we just don’t have the timber ground, or at least in the western part of the county. It would not suprise me though if they have been spotted along the Sangamon River. Now the timber I do hunt west of Springfield, a neighbor of mine had a trail cam out this fall and did get a picture of a Badger on it, which I thought was cool. I had not seen one around this area since 80 or 81

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/01 at 03:04 PM

Rasputin, Thank you for the tips on getting photos of bobcats. I will check out the Website you suggested. Chris Young

Posted by Chris Young on 12/01 at 04:03 PM

Go to the forum on Trail Cameras. There are several threads with Bobcat pictures in them. For an interesting set of pictures, see the thread “Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty”

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/01 at 05:30 PM

Many many animals are killed by traffic and theres no way around it. This one is truly tragic to me. They are beautiful animals indeed. I have a track from one taken in southern Knox county and I heard him squalling (I guess thats how to explain the sound) going through the timber out there. Definitely not a house cat.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/04 at 08:33 PM

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