A common method for trapping bobcats is identifying an area where the animal visits frequently, and then setting spring-style traps along the animal's pathways. Checking local laws and regulations before trapping wild animals is recommended.
Local laws and regulations provide advice on when bobcats can be trapped and how many are allowed per hunter. Most states in the United States require purchasing a hunting license each year to legally hunt bobcats or other animals. Any bobcats that are trapped must also be tagged. Both spring traps and cages can be used to trap bobcats and both are typically used in combination with a bait. Bait may be food or an item that attracts the bobcat's attention. Check local regulations before using food as bait. In some regions it's illegal to use animal parts to trap wild animals.
In trapping a bobcat, use large cages made of metal or wire mesh. Cover the bottom of the cage with dirt, and place brush on the top as camouflage. Food can be placed in the cage as bait. If a cage is not an option, leg-hold traps are effective for trapping bobcats.
Some hunters begin trapping bobcats by observing the hunting area during the summer months and then setting traps at the beginning of hunting season. Observing the bobcats in their natural environment provides hunters with a general idea of where and when to set traps and may yield a more fruitful hunt.
When setting the trap near the bobcat's den, avoid bothering the animal. Since bobcats are creatures of habit, observing paths the animal may take can help determine where to place the trap. Bobcats cannot be lured too far away from their set paths. Place food along the pathways, including hot dogs or spicy meats. Bobcats notice strong odors, so mackerel or sardines are also suitable foods. Bobcats generally prefer fresh bait, including rabbit, muskrat and poultry.
Bobcats are naturally curious, which allows hunters to use string and other items that move in the breeze as bait. Tie the bait directly over the trap to lure the bobcat. Use a noticeable item, such as a stick that is visible from a distance with binoculars, to determine whether a bobcat has entered a cage trap without disturbing the area.
Once the animal is trapped, bobcats strike when the opportunity arises. Take steps to protect yourself, since scratches and bites from a bobcat may carry disease. Even a bobcat's saliva may carry rabies. When any animal is released, wash the cage with bleach to prevent rabies infection.