While tending his garden, Graytown man surprises a visitor

Larry Limpf

While working in his garden recently, William Johnson heard something rustling to his left and he thought he may have stirred up a young deer.
But the resident of Walker Street in Graytown is convinced he inadvertently roused a bobcat.
“It scared me when it got up and ran back to the woods in the back of my property,” Johnson said last week.”I was about four or five feet from it when it took off.”
He describes the animal as having triangular shaped ears with spots on its back and large paws.
“It was a pretty animal. It stayed low to the ground when it ran away,” he said.
His garden is a magnet for other animals such as rabbits and raccoons and in the spring Johnson found the remains of rabbits that had been gutted with nothing left but the feet and heads.
While rare, the Division of Wildlife of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has confirmed sightings in recent years of bobcats in Northwest Ohio.
Prior to the year 2000, the Division of Wildlife didn’t receive more than five confirmed sightings of bobcats in a single year.
But in the early 2000s, bobcat sightings occurred more frequently as populations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky began expanding into Ohio.
“The number of bobcats observed each year quickly accelerated, and bobcats can now be found throughout southeast and southern Ohio, with occasional confirmed sightings extending into northeast, central, and western Ohio,” the Division of Wildlife bobcat sighting report says.
From 2018 to 2020, bobcats appeared to be slowly migrating toward the northwest quadrant of the state. In 2019, there was one confirmed sighting in Ottawa County and in 2020 there was a confirmed sighting in Wood County; three in Henry County, and one each in Fulton and Williams counties, which are close to the Ohio-Indiana border.
Statewide in 2020, there were 521 confirmed sighting and 520 unconfirmed sightings. The confirmed sightings were spread throughout 58 counties and 293 townships.
According to the Division of Wildlife, trail cameras have been the primary source of confirming sightings since 2008. Road kill animals are the second most common source.
The division report says the occasional sightings in western and northwestern Ohio may be the result of bobcats dispersing from the established population in southeast and southern Ohio, or from populations in Indiana, Kentucky, or Michigan.
“The number of confirmed sightings in these counties remains low, and we have not documented evidence of reproduction in these regions, so it remains to be seen if these areas will provide adequate habitat to support resident populations,” the report says.
The division launched a wildlife reporting website in 2017 that made it easier for the public to report sightings.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association