Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Maine trapper kills 50-pound bobcat

Veteran trapper Tinker nets 50-pound bobcat

By John Holyoke
BDN Staff

Pete Tinker of Searsmont has been trapping for 50 years. Sometimes, he’s looking for pelts to sell. Other times, he’s acting as an animal damage control trapper and dealing with nuisance critters.

Even after five decades in the trapping business, though, Tinker is sometimes surprised by what he sees.

That was the case earlier this month, when he trapped an abnormally large bobcat.

“[A biologist] told me, if it’s not a state record, it’s close,” Tinker said recently.

Tinker’s bobcat weighed in at 50 pounds, and subsequent research showed it’s short of the state record by about eight pounds, he said.

“I caught one two days after that that weighed only about 25 pounds,” Tinker said, “I’ve caught tom bobcats that weigh 15 pounds, and old females with no teeth in ’em that weigh 26, 27 pounds.”

Tinker said he caught a 38-pound tom seven years ago and has heard of other trappers catching an occasional 40-pounder.

But the 50-pounder, which he caught by the right hind foot on a scent-pole trap, certainly stands out as a highlight of his trapping career.

“The head on it was massive. It was one of those light-colored ones,” Tinker said. “Its top right canine [tooth] had broke off and turned yellow and split and the other ones were yellow.”

Tinker said he thinks the bobcat was between 4-1/2 and 6-1/2 years old, and said bobcats typically only live eight years or so.

“He was up there in age, like me,” the 64-year-old trapper said.



Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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