Many aspects of spatial organization in solitary carnivores remain unknown due to prohibitively low sample sizes and reliance on only annual home range and overlap data. We estimated size, overlap and fidelity of annual and seasonal home ranges and core areas of 52 (22 male, 30 female) adult bobcats (Lynx rufus) in southern Illinois during 1995–1999 and quantified temporal spacing. We report an unusual pattern of spatial organization for bobcats such that, although male and female annual home-range sizes were similar to other regional populations, we found relatively high levels of intrasexual home-range overlap for males and females. Although intrasexual home-range overlap was extensive, core areas were nearly exclusive, implying that core areas confer benefits to bobcats by reducing competition for resources and may represent areas of more aggressive territoriality within the home range. Only 4 of 52 (8%) bobcats shifted annual home ranges, indicating stable spatial organization in the absence of harvest. Home-range size did not differ between seasons and seasonal home-range shifts were minor, suggesting it was either advantageous to be familiar with the same area year-round for maximum exploitation of resources, or that territorial behavior prevented seasonal shifts.
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Vol. 146 • No. 1