No, this isn’t about some sports team pulling themselves out of a slump. It’s about one of New England’s most elusive predators – the bobcat (Lynx rufus).

First, this is a native feline, closely related to, but different from, the Canada lynx. It’s the one major New England mammal I haven’t seen (alive) in the wild. I have seen one as roadkill, and a few stuffed specimens in museums here and there. The closest I’ve come is following some fairly fresh tracks, and possibly I’ve heard their cry.

The cry has been described a sounding like a woman in distress, and that’s what I heard one night when I was spending a summer in a remote cabin. It’s also where I frequently saw their tracks.

Historically, they were pretty much extirpated from Massachusetts, along with beavers, wolves, and other wildlife.

But now their numbers seem to be increasing.

Sadly, one indication is that hunters reached the limit of 50 killed during this past hunting season for the first time. More optimistically, the number of reported sightings has also increased – even within the Worcester city limits.

And hoping to get more definite information, the New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife Dept., along with wildlife biologists from the University of New Hampshire, is trapping and placing radio collars on those they catch hoping to learn more about one of this region’s special residents.

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