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Mississippi State University

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Influence of Weather on Movement and Activity


Results

Using multiple linear regression to model movement rates as a function of seasonal weather conditions, during breeding-gestation movement rates were most related to barometric trend as movement rates generally increased with decreasing barometric trend. During fall-winter, movement rates were most related to rainfall and wind direction. Bobcats moved at greater rates when wind direction was from the south, but movement rates decreased during rain events. During parturition-young rearing, movement rates were most related to temperature and rainfall. Movement rates increased with decreasing temperatures and decreased during rain events.

Using logistic regression to model seasonal activity as a function of weather conditions, during breeding-gestation no variables were retained within our models. During fall-winter, wind direction, dewpoint, barometric pressure, and relative humidity were most related to activity. Bobcat activity increased with increasing barometric pressure and relative humidity, but decreased with increasing dewpoint and wind directions from the north-northeast. During parturition-young rearing, barometric pressure was most related to activity. Bobcat activity increased with decreasing barometric pressure. Model classification rates ranged from 40% to 80%.

Summary

Bobcats on TWMA and GP decreased movement rates during rain events, likely a response to decreased hunting efficiency and prey activity during these periods. Conversely, movement rates increased as barometric pressure decreased, likely a response to prey activity increasing with the approach of storm fronts. Our results suggest that weather conditions influence bobcat activity patterns during fall-winter and parturition-young rearing. Although our models provided a wide range of classification rates, several models correctly classified >70% of active and inactive locations. During summer (parturition-young rearing), bobcat activity increased with decreasing barometric pressure. Barometric pressures predominately decrease with approaching storm fronts, hence bobcats may become active in response to approaching weather fronts. Likewise, bobcat prey (rodents, rabbits) may increase activity during these periods, hence bobcats becoming active may be a response to prey. Likewise, north winds during winter may serve to decrease prey activity, hence foraging efficiency by bobcats may decline, resulting in decreased activity.