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Bobcat Habitat Use and Home Range Size in Relation to Prey Density

John A. Litvaitis, James A. Sherburne and John A. Bissonette
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Jan., 1986), pp. 110-117
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3801498
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3801498
Page Count: 8
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Bobcat Habitat Use and Home Range Size in Relation to Prey Density
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Abstract

Bobcat (Felis rufus) diet, habitat use, and home range size were studied in relation to snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) density and distribution in 2 areas in Maine during 1979-84. Hare remains occurred in 63-76% of bobcat feces collected during all seasons in both areas. Habitat use patterns of 12 transmitter-equipped bobcats in eastern Maine indicated that they used hardwood understories more, and softwood and mixedwood understories less than expected (P < 0.05). Nine bobcats in western Maine preferred softwood understories (P < 0.05). Bobcats avoided sparse understories (<12,000 stem cover units/ha) and topographic slopes >5° (P < 0.05). The average home range of resident male bobcats (95.7 km2) was 3× as large as that of resident females (31.2 km2) (P < 0.05), and home range size was correlated with bobcat weight (r2 = 0.45, P < 0.002). Metabolic home range size (km2/kg0.75 body wt) of bobcats was inversely correlated with stem cover unit density and estimated hare density (r2 = 0.22, P < 0.05). Estimated hare density and average topographic slope within bobcat home ranges accounted for 50% of the variation in metabolic home range size (P < 0.006).

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