Exploring Scavenging Behavior of Bobcats, Lynx rufus, in Middle Tennessee and its Forensic Implications

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Gatewood, Aaron
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
Although bobcats (Lynx rufus) are known as hunters, their scavenging activities have been reported, which could be vital to forensic research (Ubelaker & DeGaglia, 2020). Knowledge about scavengers is required to determine if any trauma observed on a victim was inflicted by animals or humans (Rippley et al., 2012). Fain and Jeong confirm that bobcats are among the scavengers active in Middle Tennessee (2023). The goal of this study is to examine the scavenging patterns and effects of bobcats. Experiments occurred at the MTSU Outdoor Forensic Facility in Murfreesboro, TN. Bobcats’ visits to 7 deer specimens were examined for the time, weather conditions, and behaviors observed on camera. Bobcats were observed scavenging in this study. The results will provide forensic investigators with knowledge about bobcat scavenging activities in Middle Tennessee, helping them distinguish bobcat-associated evidence from human-induced trauma. Future studies should further observe bobcats to explore effects of their scavenging.