Bobcat (Lynx rufus) ecology in a longleaf pine ecosystem in southwestern Georgia
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A paucity of knowledge exists about the effects of northern bobwhite (quail; Colinus virginianus) management practices on bobcat (Lynx rufus) ecology. Quail management is an important part of the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)-wiregrass (Aristida stricta) ecosystem. This study investigated bobcat home range, habitat use, and dietary patterns in a longleaf pine- wiregrass ecosystem managed for quail in southwestern Georgia. Male home ranges were larger than female home ranges, and home range sizes varied seasonally for females, but not for males. Bobcats selected habitats to include in their home range, but did not select habitats within the home range. Agriculture was the most preferred habitat type, and edge was an important component of habitat. Diet varied seasonally during year 1 and year 2, but not during year 3. Bobcats were not a major predator of quail. Their primary prey items were cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) and other rodents. Land management practices such as prescribed burning and maintenance of food plots probably contributed to high quality habitat with ample prey; thus certain quail management practices may impact bobcat ecology.