banner_left banner_text banner_right
Home SiteMap Contact US
./images/banner_spring.jpg banner_right2
Follow us on Facebook
email sign-up
Google Custom Search

  Buy Your License

Canada Lynx or Bobcat? — Learn the Difference

bobcat lynx comparison

Canada Lynx are a state endangered and federally threatened species. They are very similar in appearance and habits to bobcats, and their range overlaps with them and other furbearer species. Therefore it is important for trappers and hunters to know how to distinguish lynx from bobcats, to recognize their preferred habitat types, and to avoid capturing or harvesting lynx.

Learn the key identifying features of Canada lynx and bobcat »

What Trappers Need to Know

  • There are trapping regulations in WMU E designed to protect lynx. Read the regulation for details»
  • Because the possibility exists for lynx to be encountered outside of WMU E, all trappers should familiarize themselves with lynx sign and be prepared to adjust their methods to avoid incidentally capturing a lynx. 

  • Trappers who incidentally trap a lynx should release uninjured animals immediately and contact their local game warden as soon as possible.  If an injury is suspected, trappers should contact their local game warden immediately for instructions on how to proceed. 

Bobcat Hunting Methods to Help Avoid Taking Lynx

  • Tracks should be closely examined and measured before any trailing dogs are released.

  • Any treed bobcat should carefully be identified and confirmed as not being a lynx before it is harvested. A treed lynx should be abandoned immediately with harnessed dogs in tow.

  • If predator calls are used in areas lynx may frequent, it is essential to identify and confirm any responding animals to assure a lynx is not shot.

  • Since it may be difficult or impossible to positively identify a moving or partially hidden animal as a lynx or bobcat, it is best not to shoot at all whenever positive identity is unknown.

Trappers or hunters who encounter lynx or lynx sign should quickly report their observations to wildlife biologist Chris Bernier at (802) 885-8833.

Learn more about how to avoid incidental take of Lynx while trapping or hunting »

Key Identifying Features of Canada Lynx and Bobcat


  • Lynx pelts are relatively bland and grayish.
  • Bobcat pelts are reddish brown and have more distinct spots and streaks.


  • Lynx tails appear much the same viewed top or bottom. The lynx tail tip is completely black all around.
  • Bobcat tails show black bars with a white tip when viewed from above and show a lot of white underneath.

Hind Legs and Feet

  • The hind legs of lynx are disproportionately longer, causing them to have a “stooped” appearance.
  • Lynx feet are snowshoe-like and are at least twice the size of bobcat feet.

Canada lynx Cananda lynx - photo Keith Williams
(click image to enlarge)

bobcat Bobcat - photo Deb James
(click image to enlarge)


Copyright © 2003-2015 Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. All Rights Reserved.