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Bobcat struck, killed in Cottonwood County

WINDOM -- From time to time, area residents are treated to some unusual wildlife sightings. There have been visiting moose, the occassional mountain lion and an array of migratory birds passing through.

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An adult female bobcat was discovered after being hit and killed on a paved road in northern Cottonwood County April 25.

WINDOM - From time to time, area residents are treated to some unusual wildlife sightings. There have been visiting moose, the occassional mountain lion and an array of migratory birds passing through.

It’s rare, however, for someone to report a bobcat.

That’s the call Windom-based Conservation Officer Dustin Miller, with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, received last week. Actually, the caller didn’t know what it was and asked for the CO to identify it.

The bobcat was dead, roadkill discovered along the blacktopped Cottonwood County 10 in Highwater Township, several miles north of Storden.

Miller took possession of the adult female and collected a tooth and tissue sample that was sent to a fur bearer specialist in northern Minnesota. The specialist will be able to determine the age of the bobcat - and where it came from - based on genetics.

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According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, bobcats once resided across Minnesota, but are now seldom seen in the southern part of the state. They are most common in woodlands of north-central and northeast Minnesota, and prefer habitat with lots of prey, such as young aspen forests and cedar swamps, where deer congregate in winter.

Miller said there is also a sustained population of bobcats in southern Iowa. The road-killed bobcat was most likely just passing through.

“We’ve had sightings that we’ve confirmed, but we don’t have a sustained population in this area,” Miller said, adding that a trail camera in Jackson County captured an image of a bobcat last fall. “They’re a stealthy animal, utilizing cover along rivers or creek settings in a heavily wooded area.”

Miller was quick to point out that bobcats are not a threat to humans. The DNR website states the animals eat a wide range of small and medium-sized prey including mice, snowshoe hares, squirrels, birds and white-tailed deer fawns. The bobcat can kill an adult deer by pouncing on the deer’s neck from an overhanging tree limb and piercing the jugular vein in the deer’s neck with its teeth, the site noted.

Miller said the animal was too heavily damaged to be used as an educational mount, but the DNR is going to keep the pelt for use in educational programming, Miller said. He anticipates the pelt will be ready when he presents programs to local school groups and firearms safety classes this fall.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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