Bobcat believed to be prowling here
The Town of Fort Frances’ bylaw department is on the hunt for a large cat—believed to a bobcat—which reportedly has killed several cats.
Planning and Development Superintendent Rick Hallam said a bobcat recently was reported in the area of Church Street and Nelson Avenue.
The town has received approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources to set two live traps in an attempt to catch the big cat.
“If we are successful, we will turn the cat over the MNR, who will transport the animal to some place in the country; to more of a wilderness area,” said Hallam.
“We hope we can trap it but it hasn’t been seen in a number of days, so it may have moved on,” he added, noting that if the town does catch it, the public will be notified.
“The only advice I would give to people in town is that if you’ve got small pets, then you should take precautions,” Hallam warned.
“You should keep them indoors, or if you take them out, take them out with supervision until this thing dies down.
“The thing about a bobcat is, if they’ve got a range they’ve established, they’ll circle their range and they may not come back for two weeks,” he explained.
“We may not see this thing reappear for a couple of weeks.”
Hallam did note bobcats like water and it’s possible this one has swam across the river into Minnesota.
Hallam stressed the town does not want to get pet owners worked up and have them fear for the safety of their pets.
While the bobcat would prefer rabbit, it is an opportunistic hunter and if the chance presents itself, it may kill a cat or small dog.
“I don’t think it’s dangerous to humans,” he added. “It would scare away easily if a human approached it, unless cornered or trapped.”
Hallam said bobcats are prevalent in this part of Canada. They are a secretive, nocturnal animal, which is solitary except during mating season, which usually is in February and March.
Their preferred diet is rabbits and grouse, but they will take on smaller game like mice as well as larger game—like a weak deer—on occasion.
Hallam stressed residents should not take it upon themselves to try to trap it, nor shoot at it.
The bobcat is a fur-bearing mammal and it is illegal to trap one without a trappers’ permit from the MNR. It also is illegal to discharge a firearm in town limits.
“If anybody spots it, call bylaw immediately and we will respond,” said Hallam.
Bylaw enforcement officer Arlene Byrnes said it’s rare to see a bobcat in town, adding the last time bylaw was tasked with trapping one was more than 20 years ago.
That particular bobcat was prowling in the west end of Fort Frances.