Habitat Characteristics of Bobcat Core Use Areas in Mississippi

Sixteen adult bobcats (11 females, 5 males) (Felis rufus) were monitored using radio-telemetry from 1 January 1989-31 December 1992 in Mississippi to determine habitat components influencing core use area (CUA) location and size. Male bobcat CUA size (x = 26.5 km2, SE = 6.1) was larger (P = 0.047) than females (x = 11.8 km2, SE = 2.8). Habitat components of bobcat CUA's did not differ (P > 0.10) by sex. There was a higher (P < 0.01) proportion of pine plantations and agricultural habitats in CUA's than in random areas. There was a lower (P = 0.06) proportion of hardwood stands in CUA's (x = 0.23: SE = 0.03) than in random areas (x = 0.36, SE = 0.04). Occurrence of creeks, roads, and pine stands were not significantly different (P > 0.10) between CUA's and random areas. We propose prey abundance influenced location of bobcat CUA's and thus home ranges on our study area. However, we found evidence contradicting the hypothesis that bobcat home range size is a function of prey abundance.

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