LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX - After multiple reports of bobcats seen on the South Plains, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department explained how to safely navigate an encounter with wild animals.
Game Warden Aaron Sims said the West Texas ecosystem was a possible explanation for more sightings.
"With that precipitation increase, [in the winter] you have more food sources for the rodents, and then the animals that eat the rodents, like the bobcats and the snakes, populations increase as well," Sims stated.
"We've been getting reports of more bobcats being seen around south Lubbock, and northern Lynn County, and all across the Southern Plains and that just goes to the population increase," he explained. He mentioned two specific instances over the weekend of bobcats seen in Lynn County and Lamb County.
While bobcats are legal to hunt, with proper permitting and licensing, Sims said, he encouraged residents to maintain their distance if they come into contact with one.
"If you're out and about, if you're out in the county, and you see a bobcat, it's just like any wild animal, you want to create distance, slowly back away, and not harass the animal, don't try and capture it," he explained.
Sims mentioned occasional reports of mountain lions in the region, the chances of which are "slim to none."
"[Mountain lions are] very very rare," he added. "But there are certain mountain lions at other areas definitely more remote, getting towards a state line, dropping off the caprock, getting a little more into the Rolling Plains. They're far and few between and I wouldn't say it's something the general public has something to worry about."
"If you are concerned and you see a big paw print, you can always snap a picture and contact our biologist, to try to get a hold of him and say 'Hey is this something i should worry about,'" Sims explained.
He said the sightings are typically "just either a large coyote, or a larger bobcat, or even a dog."
For information on how to contact the TPWD wildlife biologist, click here.
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