Bobcat on a Mule Deer kill – Yellowstone, USA 2023

Bobcat on a Mule Deer kill. A Bobcat had a Mule Deer kill in Firehole Canyon, Yellowstone National Park. Over three days we were to spend more than eight hours watching this cat. When we first arrived we spotted the Bobcat on the far bank of the Firehole River. It was sitting at the bottom of a snow bank close to the river and at the foot of high and steep cliff. We could just see the hoof of the unfortunate deer sticking out of the snow. Quite how the cat and deer ended up here was the subject of heated debate. The deer had clearly fallen from the top of the cliff – the hole in the snow where it landed was very obvious. Had the Bobcat chased the deer over the cliff and then walked down to reach it? Or had the Bobcat attacked the deer and fallen down with it? Or had the deer fallen and the Bobcat had stumbled across the carcass? We will never know since no one was there to witness the event. We spent five hours with the Bobcat as it guarded its prey. Occasionally grooming or stretching, it was not very active.

The next day we arrived in Firehole Canyon in the early morning. It was intensely cold. Now the cat was lying at the top of the snow bank tucked in close to the cliff face. After a few hours it stretched and walked down a well trodden path through the snow to the carcass. When we returned later in the day, it was evident that it had been feeding on the Mule Deer for some time. The carcass was exposed and the Bobcat was still eating.

The following day we returned to the site and saw the Bobcat back at the top of the snow bank against the cliff face. We watched for a short time when the Bobcat stretched and headed off leaving the carcass. It walked along the top of the snow bank into the trees. The snow was very deep and it struggled to make headway. Finally, it disappeared and was not seen again.

It was beyond our wildest dreams to have spent such quality time with this wonderful Bobcat on a Mule Deer kill.

The Bobcat is a medium-sized cat native to North America. Its range runs from southern Canada and through most of the United States. It has a distinctive stubby tail with a black tip. This bob of a tail gives this endearing cat its name. It is up to 1.25m from head to base of the tail and the tail can be up to 20cm in length. The Bobcat stands up to 0.6m at the shoulder. The average weight of males is 9.6kg with females weighing an average of 6.8kg. It prefers to take smaller prey but it can take prey up to eight times its own weight.