I was buying bananas in one of our local supermarkets the other day. A gentleman came up to me and said how much he enjoyed my columns. I thanked him and he went on to tell me he had seen a lynx in his backyard near East Meredith.
He said at first he thought it was a mountain lion because it was so big, but then he realized it didn’t have a long tail. I suggested it probably wasn’t a medium-tan color with rounded ears. He agreed and added it didn’t have prominent ear tufts or longer legs, either. So I politely informed him that what he saw was a bobcat.
We don’t have any lynx around here, but we do have a lot of bobcats. In fact, I went on my hill bowhunting the other day and saw bobcat tracks in the snow within a few feet of my tree stand.
Back between 1989 and 1992, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry did a study and conducted an experimental program by releasing 80 lynx into the Adirondacks. These animals were caught in western Canada and all fitted with radio-tracking collars in order to monitor their movements.
The Canada lynx has a very large home range. Their primary diet is the snowshoe rabbit or hare. They are larger than their cousin, the bobcat, with longer legs and much larger feet that allows them to travel easily in deep snow.
The lynx freed by the ESF program dispersed farther than anyone expected. Lynx that were released showed up in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, as well as Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, Canada. One lynx was found 485 miles from the release site eight months later and weighed two pounds more than when released.
One was killed on a highway and another was shot in a farmer’s chicken house. It is believed that no lynx presently live in New York, although some may pass through. From 1998-99, the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Bronx Zoo conducted a study attempting to document the presence of lynx in the Adirondack High Peaks, but no evidence was found.