Bobcat Habitat Use at Multiple Spatial Scales

Habitat use occurs at several spatial scales; however, bobcat (Felis rufus) habitat use has not been investigated at multiple scales. Additionally, sex-specific differences in bobcat habitat use have been hypothesized but not tested. Therefore, we investigated habitat use of 30 bobcats (9 males, 21 females) from 1 January 1989 to 31 December 1993 on 2 study areas in east-central Mississippi. We investigated bobcat habitat use at 2 spatial scales: habitat use within the home range and habitat composition of the home range relative to habitat composition of the study area. We did not detect differences (P > 0.10) in bobcat habitat use among sexes or study areas for either spatial scale. An empirical example of the importance of assessing habitat use at different spatial scales was discovered. Sapling and pine stands were preferred (P < 0.10) habitats when habitat compositions of home ranges were compared to study area compositions. However, when habitat use was compared to habitat availability within the home range, pine sapling was preferred over pine (P < 0.001), while remaining habitat rankings were equivalent (P > 0.10). Intensity of forest management did not affect bobcat habitat use.

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