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Wednesday, February 8 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Technical Session. Evaluating home range size of bobcats in an agriculturally-dominated landscape of west central Illinois

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AUTHORS: Tim Swearingen, Western Illinois University; Christopher Jacques, Western Illinois University; Bob Bluett, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Christopher DePerno, North Carolina State University; Jonathan Jenks, South Dakota State University; Chuck Anderson, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Mammals Research Division

ABSTRACT: Home range size is affected by many ecological factors, including population density, climate, distribution and abundance of resources, spacing of individuals, sex, and mating system Annual variation in home range size can be influenced by seasonality in any of these factors.  Historically, bobcats (Lynx rufus) were found throughout the Midwest, but were extirpated from many areas due to habitat loss and unregulated harvest that occurred after European settlement.  Expansion of bobcats throughout Illinois since the early 1990s lead to the implementation of a bobcat hunting during Fall 2016 that featured limited harvest for the first time since the early 1970s.  To date, previous research on bobcat demographics has been limited to southern Illinois, thus, quantitative information on bobcat population demographics (e.g., home range use patterns) in other regions of the state is timely.  During 2015, we initiated research to evaluate home range size of bobcats in relation to area-based population estimation techniques (e.g., non-invasive camera trapping) across west-central Illinois.  From January 2016 to January 2017, we monitored weekly movement status of 21 (12 males, 9 females) radio-collared bobcats.  We used Program Locate to estimate animal locations and GIS to calculate 95% home ranges and 50% core areas using ≥ 10 locations.  Preliminary results indicate that mean 95% and 50% adaptive kernel home-range size for male and female bobcats was 1407.93 and 164.02 km2 and 79.12 and 6.65 km2, respectively.  Intersexual differences in spatial use patterns between sexes should be interpreted with caution given small sample sizes used in preliminary analyses.  Future analyses will provide a more complete assessment of interrelationships between home range requirements and density estimation protocols across west-central Illinois, and in turn inform harvest decisions about management programs and approaches for monitoring abundance of bobcats throughout the state.  

Wednesday February 8, 2017 8:40am - 9:00am CST