I've only seen the bobcat once and it was roadkill.Considering the amount of "woodstime" I have, to have only had this experience would pretty much put it in the superelusive/nocturnal catagory.As for the lion,I have only seen the Allamuchy one twice and it is mindboggling.The tail is used to counter-balance the cats body and let me tell you its HUGE!! There is no mistaking the Mt lion for anything.
I saw a bobcat few miles down the from the entance at Ringwood this past summer. I was actually roadriding near Sterling Forest Visitor Center and this large feline ran across the road. It had a bobbed tail for sure, and was about the size of a boxer dog. Ears pinned back so I could not see the tufted ears.
I emailed the ranger and he said there had been one spotted in that area. It was pretty cool. My first in this area, and it was a big one! Never seen a mountain lion yet though.
Bobcat are seldom seen, but sign of them is everywhere. Winter is a particularly good time to go looking for bobcat sign, since their tracks are easily spotted and very distinctive. The tracks look somewhat like a housecats, about 3x larger and with the typical rounded pads and regularly spaced claw marks. Bobcat tracks will sometimes have what looks like a feathery pattern around the toe points, from the fur that grows between their toes in winter. The feathering is especially noticeable in fresh snow or soft dirt.
High Point State Park and other areas near the Water Gap and Waywayanda are good places to look for tracks. You will most often find bobcat tracks at the base of a tree, usually in a circle all the way around the trunk. They chase squirrels up into trees, and also sleep in trees. If you find rabbit tracks in the snow chances are good bobcat will also be found.
I was snowshoeing up in High Point one day and had an eerie encounter with a bobcat. It was very late in the afternoon and I was headed back to the parking lot via the trail that goes through the cedar swamp. I heard a scream, like someone being attacked, only it was more high pitched. It was only a few feet away from me, I actually ducked and started sweating, it was so loud. A few mintues passed and I heard it again, and then a "whoosh!" sound like a tree branch shaking off the snow. I guess it was the bobcat jumping out of the tree. I stopped in the ranger station to ask about the noise I heard, and the ranger told me it was a bobcat settling in for the night into his perch.
Since that day I've been somewhat fascinated by the Big Cats of North America. I do believe that mountain lions are here in NJ, whether escaped from captivity or breeding in the wild. Cats are very elusive, and seldom seen even in areas where there populations are established and studied. I am going to Montana next summer for a long vacation, and one of my goals is to spend some time in Glacier National Park on a quest to spot a big cat and some grizzly.
Glacier NP is an amazing place. You do not have to look very hard to find grizzlies there though. Up near Many Glacier Lodge they walk right down the hillside in the early evening to eat berries and get water in the stream along the road.