"Being in the presence of bobcats is not a particularly dangerous thing," said Joel Barnes, the president of the Prescott Creeks Preservation Association. "It's a lucky thing."
Eric Gardner, field supervisor for the Arizona Game and Fish, agreed that bobcats are usually not dangerous, noting that they are more common in Arizona than people realize.
"In almost all instances, bobcats are real reclusive," Gardner said. "They are rarely aggressive or threatening."
Of course – as with virtually any wild animal – Gardner said circumstances could change that. For instance, he said, rabid bobcats have attacked humans. Just last year, Gardner said, the Game and Fish ran across a rabid bobcat on Mingus Mountain.
And if people corner a bobcat, it also could attack, Gardner said. But, he said, "that is very rare – it is only in these unusual situations."
Even so, he cautioned that "people shouldn't be complacent" when they see a bobcat.
Michael Byrd, executive director/preserve manager of the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve, pointed out that he had heard reports for years that bobcats lived in or near Watson Woods. But when Matthew Turner, a PCPA board member, got an up-close photograph of one several months ago, Byrd said, "That was the first time we had actually seen one."
The bobcat in the photo was one of two that Turner and Prescott College students Tobias Corwin and Napolian Stewart spotted along the banks of Granite Creek.
"It just stayed there; it wouldn't leave," said Corwin. "It kept pacing, walking back and forth. We thought it must have had a baby nearby."
Gardner said bobcats are usually in the 12- to 16-pound range. People have spotted bobcat kittens in Arizona at different times of the year, including spring, summer and fall.
Contact the reporter at email@example.com