You never know who’s walking around late at night. Earlier this month, a bobcat passed through one yard in the north section of town, and it probably wasn’t the first time, nor will it be the last.
The bobcat was caught on a game camera operated by Rich Conklin and Nick Cavoto, who participate in town-sanctioned hunting on private property. Conklin did not want to be more specific about the bobcat’s location in deference to the owner of the property where he hunts.
He said the sighting is not unusual.
“I’ve seen them live and on camera in the last several years,” said Conklin, who is a police detective in Stamford. He described himself as an avid outdoorsman and sportsman. “In recent years they seem to be making a comeback in this area. I’ve seen them much more frequently than in
years past.”
Hunters use game cameras to see if deer are moving about in the area where they keep their tree stand. Deer and bobcats share similar habitat, since bobcats will prey on young, old, or weak deer. More often they feed on roadkill, rabbits, woodchucks, squirrels, mice, voles and birds.
“It’s a really beautiful animal,” Conklin said. “I’ve also been seeing fisher cats in the area and wild mink, and beautiful hawks and owls. We’re really blessed to have such opportunities in these rural areas that are adjacent to urban areas.”
He also noted bobcats are a protected species and thus may not be hunted.
“It is just a beautiful animal,” he said. “The ones I’ve seen in the woods, they’re so sleek and they move so quietly, almost ghostlike. It’s one of my favorite animals.”
Conklin lives in Norwalk near the Wilton line. “I am so happy to be affilated with [the hunting] program. There are a lot of nice people involved and nice property. Hunting is just one part. I like being out and
observing nature.”
The hunting program Conklin referred to is one in which the town encourages private property owners of large parcels to allow on their land bow-and-arrow hunters who are approved by and signed up with the town. It is estimated more than 1,000 deer live in Wilton.
“The deer had a rough winter but through spring and summer they have done very well,” he said when asked about the condition of the herd. “The deer herd does look healthy out there. It was a very cold winter with a lot of snow on the ground, but the ones that have survived have fattened up and I’ve seen a lot of fawns.”
For information on bobcats, visit http://1.usa.gov/1LXtu9d.
For information on deer hunting in Wilton, email the Deer Management Committee at Deercommittee@wiltonct.org or call the office of environmental affairs at 203-563-0180.