I recently received a phone call from a possible safari guest. She asked me my new favorite question: "Do I REEEEALLY need you to see bobcats in the park?"
I appreciate the direct approach. Let's not beat around the bush. Let's just put it out there and get on with things. While it may be a rather direct question to ask a guide, I take no offence to it. In fact, I think it provides me with an opportunity.
I am truly lucky. As much as I love spending time in nature alone shooting wildlife, I am equally excited to take people out to do the same. There is an incredible thrill in helping people see their first ever bobcat. Their excitement only heightens the already adrenaline pumping experience for me. I truly feel the same excitement each time I see one as I did seeing my very first. It is an experience you never forget. I am so lucky I am able to experience that feeling most days I go out on safari.
But do you really NEED me? The answer is...I don't know. That is a really hard question to answer. I suppose it depends on how badly you want to see one. Bobcats are scattered throughout the park. They are there to be found. Perhaps the question is best answered with a question. "Can YOU find them?"
I don't think I have ever seen a bobcat simply cross the road in front of me. Nearly every time I find a bobcat, I am specifically looking for one. They rarely just 'show up'. I stop at places I have seen them in the past. I watch from hillsides I know have lots of gophers in them. I wait in places I know they den. It takes time, it takes patience, and it takes knowledge. I've been watching bobcats frequently for several years now. And I see them about 75% of the time I spend a day in the park.
So the decision to hire a guide or not is truly up to you. If you put the time in, if you are patient, if you learn their habitat and habits, I am sure you'd have luck in finding them. That is exactly how I got to the place I am today. From the images in this post, you can see it isn't always easy.
While there are never any guarantees in spotting wildlife, a little experience can go a long way.