Wyoming Untrapped

Black Bobcat Snared in N.B., Only 12th Ever Recorded in North America

New Brunswick trapper received an unexpected gift on Christmas Day — a rare melanistic bobcat.

Studies show there has only been one other black bobcat caught in Canada.

“I thought it was a house cat,” said Oswald McFadden, who has run the same trapline for the last decade.

“When I saw the tail I knew it wasn’t a house cat. Then I looked at the ears, I knew it was definitely a bobcat.”

Oswald "Ozzy" McFadden

Oswald “Ozzy” McFadden says he initially thought he trapped a house cat before noticing the cat’s short tail and tufted ears (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Melanism is a genetic trait that displays a black-coloured pigment and can often be found in species like squirrels and jaguars.

Much like jaguars, this bobcat’s spots and markings can still be seen in bright lights.

“It’s a soft and beautiful coat,” said McFadden.

“I’ve been in these woods all my life and never seen anything like this.”

According to the 1995 paper, A Melanistic Bobcat from Outside Florida, written by Jay Tischendorf and Donald McAlpine, the only other case of melanism found in a Canadian bobcat was dated in November 1983.

The black male bobcat was trapped near Henry Lake and is now mounted at the New Brunswick Museum.

The article says there’s only been 10 other melanistic bobcats ever recorded — all found in Florida.

Melanistic New Brunswick Bobcat

The melanistic bobcat is only the second ever found in Canada and might be the 12th ever recorded. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

“The only way it could have been better is if my two daughters would have been with me,” said McFadden.

“They usually are — but it was Christmas — so I guess I can’t blame them for that.”

McFadden’s pictures of the big cat have been shared thousands of times online.

It’s gotten to the point where American hunters are claiming the animal was caught in states like Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“It’s weird the way the internet works,” said McFadden.

“But this was here basically in my own backyard where I live and grew up.”

Melanstic bobcat coat

The bobcat still has its spots, which can only be seen under a bright light. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

The cat was already dead when McFadden checked his trap, but when asked if he’d encountered the animal alive, he said it’s possible.

“I don’t know, I can’t answer that,” said McFadden. “An albino deer, I saw one last year and I didn’t shoot it, so?”

McFadden might donate the animal to a museum, sell it, or mount it for himself.

So far he’s had offers from those willing to purchase the carcass worth $1,000, or in exchange for a guided bow-hunting trip to hunt elk.

 

PHOTO: A melanistic bobcat was caught in a snare by trapper Oswald “Ozzy” McFadden on Christmas Day, near Cocagne. (Submitted: Charles LeBlanc)

 

31 Comments

  • Linda Cohen

    Disgusting

    • Christine Johnston

      Agreed

  • Francis

    I’ve recently seen a black bobcat in Cabot Vermont 4 days ago ran right across the road in front of me at night almost hit it glad I didn’t bring a rare animal. Beautiful animal glad I got to see one

    • Wyoming Untrapped

      Francis, thanks so much for sharing the excitement about your black bobcat sighting. Please don’t share the location. There will be many trappers who will set out to kill it. We should leave these animals on the landscape to be valued again and again by the increasing numbers of wildlife watchers and non-consumptive users of our public lands. This bobcat deserves a long life. Thank you!

      • Rita Giebink

        It’s dead already!! He KILLED IT.

  • Louise Johnson

    You disgusting individual. Using a snare, thinking it might’ve been somebody’s pet at first??!! You have cruelly and slowly killed a beautiful creature. You wanted to share it with your daughter’s??!! Teach them that it’s ok to kill for sport not food.
    When you and people like you have killed all of these creatures what will you then hunt!!??

  • Toni

    Vile, vulgar and despicable!

  • Rita

    I’m disgusted with trapping at all…it’s random deadly cruel and inhumane. The fact that our wilderness has been robbed of this rare and beautiful animal is brutally disgusting.

  • Jerry Mullen

    The senseless killing of rare animals needs to stop especially snares and trapping. Do not understand how anyone can feel good about themselves for killing creatures like this.

  • Dudette

    Stupid humans killing defenseless animals and even boast about it. Shameful.

  • Jody

    Its unbelievable and sad that people still see good in setting a trap and a beautiful animal dying a horrible and extremely painful death for what??? Look online if you want to see one. We don’t need to be setting traps and killing things, I don’t know how they can remove the pain they place on these creatures honestly imagine how much pain you would be in if it was you. We are not in the 1800’s

  • Brooke Delarco

    You Bastard! You should be caught in a trap!

  • Claire carter

    Can’t see the pleasure in trapping. Surprising the bobcat is not on an endangered list and make it illegal. What happens when he does snare someone’s pet? Sad person.

  • Miguel

    Stupid guy…

  • Jessica Salter

    This is heartbreaking. Regardless what the situation was. These animals are obviously very rare. I hate traps because of this sort of crap. Human beings are the MOST dangerous, disrespectful, greedy and disgusting species out there.

  • Dianne Callan

    And Your proud of being a trapper!!!,.Your an immoral piece of inhumanity,…What is wrong with your brain,. You have NO heart???

  • Tim Ferguson

    Too bad its dead now should have been left to breed and carry on living..traps need taken out a fox crossed my yard a few days ago with a mangled leg turns out it escaped a leg hold trap the hard way either a careless trapper hasnt checked theyre traps or a poacher just leaving traps out for the slow painful death that follows….this bobcat is better alive then dead i dont care if its in a museum for people to see its better alive

  • Susan Timewell-Jeffs

    As aCanadian I realize how difficult it is to make a living in NB and most of the Maritimes since the fisheries closed down. However trap lines are a cruel and outdated way of catching animal’s. It’s not a sport; it’s a way to make a living though the intense suffering of an animal. Try wildlife photography or at least shooting them. Sure it takes more time but if you were that animal which would you prefer?

  • Barrie Hazzard

    Why would you kill such a Beautiful Animal? Trade in your lethal tools for a still camera and appreciate a living being of Nature..

  • Kat Stephenson

    Please conserve wild animals. Snaring. What a cruel and lonely way to die. These animals had a life. Leave them be. How would you like to be hunted or stalked by a human?

  • Christine Johnston

    It’s a soft beautiful coat The f**#ing asshole says .🤬🤬🤬💔 I would like to put the trap around his balls and skin is penis then hang him upside down from a tree and let the wild life eat him 🖕f**Ken asshole 🖕🤬
    In this day and age there is absolutely no need of killing animals for their fur ¡!!!!¡

    • Erin

      I second that! It’s just gross how anyone could be joyous about the painful death of a beautiful rare animal. I’m glad his daughters didn’t have to see that because if they are even half human unlike you that could traumatize a child for the rest of their lives. Sicko.

  • Ronald Davidson

    WELL SO MUCH FOR LEAVING IT ON THE LANDSCAPE FOR A LONG HAPPY LIFE AND LETTING IT LIVE A LONG HAPPY LIFE LOOKS LIKE IT’S DEADER THAN HELL TO ME

  • Jennie Dunlap

    Disgusting, you people perpetuate everything wrong in this society! Fucking!

  • Lorenzo Aguayo

    That comment about whether, or not he was alive when found, was the most bizarre I’ve heard from a trapper. He creeps me out. Too bad that beauty had to die.

  • Beth

    Why on earth would you kill an animal that is one of twelve? What would have been a been a better day would be one where the cat lived and maybe your daughters can see one for themselves one day. Ya think?

  • Jody Becker

    How horrible!

  • Cheryl

    Hed be even more beautiful alive in his natural habitat.

  • Redshiftrider

    Oswald McFadden. Karma awaits you, and it won`t be kind either.

  • Carol

    I can understand why your daughters choose to be somewhere else at Christmas.

  • Gary

    I have seen a black bobcat in Lane county Oregon–elevation about 4500 feet. It ran across the road in front of me, and I had a good long look at it. Very black yet could still make out blurred spots–looked to be about 25-30 pounds. I had no idea they were this rare.

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