Bobcat Population Dynamics, Distribution,
& Landscapte Genetics


William R. Clark, Ph.D. & Todd Gosselink, Ph.D.


Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Statewide Distribution

To determine statewide distribution and relative abundance we developed a mail survey of archery deer hunters who report bobcats and other carnivores that they see. This provides a reliable way to track the trends in various regions of Iowa. Although we have received reports of bobcats from many counties in Iowa, they are common only in the southern third of Iowa and to a lesser extent along the loess hills of western Iowa (see map a below). Stephanie Linde combined the survey with geographic information system data about habitat to determine what features of the landscape were associated with bobcats and then predicted the expected relative abundance in all the counties of Iowa. The most important characteristics of the landscape was the presence of grassland, including CRP, along with forest habitat, although abundance of cottontail rabbits was also was a positive variable. High human density was a negative influence on abundance (see map b below). The map below highlights the landscape relationships and helps to visualize the importance of forests, grasslands, and watersheds on the potential distribution of bobcats. Bobcats may never become common in north central Iowa because of lack of extensive habitat. It remains to be seen if they will eventually become as common in northeastern Iowa as they are in southern Iowa.

bobcat observations

a. map shows the trend in numbers of bobcats sighted during the bowhunter survey

bobcat relative abundance

b. map shows the relative abundance predictions

Background | Methods | Description, Tracks, & Food Habits | Habitat Use & Social Structure | Reproduction, Survival, & Dispersal | Statewide Distribution | Population Genetics | Outreach, Collaborators, & Funding |
Report | Bobcat Homepage | Dr. Clark Homepage

Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Updated 08/29/2011