I've said it before, and, because it fits the context of this story, I'll say it again. The expansion of suburbs over the last 50 to 60 years has led to sightings of creatures I seldom saw on a regular basis when I was a kid.

Wildlife in Kentucky

Back in the day, we saw birds, deer, squirrels, and domesticated animals like dogs and cats on a regular basis. Maybe the occasional opossum or racoon made an appearance, but that was generally it. Over the years, rabbits became more frequent sights, and then later, it was coyotes, foxes, eagles, and hawks. And I have seen them all at various times.

But I have yet to see the only wild cat that calls Kentucky home, and I feel like I'm long overdue, although I wouldn't want to surprise one...or four, as the case may be.

The closest I've ever come to a bobcat--that I know of--was watching a Charlotte Bobcats game before they became the Hornets in 2014. Yes, I want a good picture of a bobcat that I take, but I suspect that's not likely to happen.

And maybe I shouldn't say that. It seems Kentucky has a thriving bobcat population, according to Wildlife Informer, which indicates there are anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 bobcats roaming the Commonwealth. Additionally, bobcats can be found all across Kentucky.

What I didn't realize is that there is a bobcat hunting season, mainly for their fur. No, I'm not a fan of hunting for fur, but that's me. To each his own.

Now, I've given you the numbers on bobcats in Kentucky, but did you know those numbers put the Bluegrass State in elite company when it comes to this particular apex predator? Well, AZ Animals is a website that tracks a variety of fascinating statistics, and bobcat population is one of them. For their purposes, they've taken that high number--5,000--and used it to place Kentucky NINTH on a list of states with the highest bobcat populations:

Kentucky’s 5,000 bobcats live all over the state. Conservation efforts have been so successful, the population has surged, and hunting re-opened in 2021.

The site also mentions that some have eaten bobcat meat and that its flavor is akin to pork loin. I'll never know, however, since I don't eat carnivores (except alligator).

So yeah, the next time you see a bobcat, it will be really cool. But there will be nothing terribly uncommon about it.

Select Wildlife You Could Encounter in Kentucky

With all the bear stories--and occasional bobcat stories--that are popping up, maybe it's time we take a look at some of the wildlife you could encounter within these Kentucky borders. Some are harmless and some you want NO part of, in my opinion.

Gallery Credit: Dave Spencer

You Might Be From Kentucky If...

I'm sure there can be 50 versions of this concept, but we'll let the other 49 states deal with their own. We're here for the Bluegrass State.

Gallery Credit: Dave Spencer