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Bobcat hunting changes

DWR also recommends cougar hunting rules for upcoming season

Wildlife biologists are recommending changes that could result in more chances to take bobcats in Utah this fall.

Bobcats appear to be doing well in Utah.

Bobcats appear to be doing well in Utah.

Photo courtesy of Gary Kramer and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The recommendations would also result in hunters taking about the same number of cougars this season. During the 2013–2014 season, a total of 330 cougars were taken.

You can review the Division of Wildlife Resources' bobcat and cougar recommendations online.

Learn more, share your ideas

After you've reviewed the ideas online, you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending your upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an email to them.

RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on Aug. 28 to approve rules for Utah's 2014–2015 cougar and furbearer seasons.

Dates, times and locations for the RAC meetings are as follows:

Email

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via email. Email addresses for your RAC members are available online.

The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person's email address. You should direct your email to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.

Bobcat permits

Bobcat populations are growing in Utah. And that could lead to more opportunities for the state's trappers and hunters this fall.

During the 2013–2014 season, the Utah Wildlife Board capped the total number of bobcat permits at 4,600. Leslie McFarlane, mammals coordinator for the DWR, says the agency is recommending an unlimited number of permits for the 2014–2015 season. However, the number of permits an individual trapper or hunter could obtain would still be limited.

For the 2014–2015 season, the DWR is recommending that each trapper or hunter be allowed to obtain up to six bobcat permits. During the 2013–2014 season, each trapper or hunter could not obtain more than three bobcat permits.

McFarlane says Utah's Bobcat Management Plan provides biologists with four population performance targets. How close bobcats come to meeting the targets helps biologists determine the health of the state's bobcat population.

Three of the targets were met this past season. The fourth target—the average number of days a trap was set, before it captured a bobcat—was still longer than the time given in the plan. But the time has gotten shorter each of the past four seasons.

"As long as two or more of the targets are met," McFarlane says, "the total number of permits does not need to be capped. And each trapper or hunter can be allowed to obtain up to six permits."

The bobcat management plan, including the performance targets the plan outlines, is available for download.

The DWR is recommending that the upcoming bobcat season run from Nov. 19, 2014 to Feb. 8, 2015.

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