Wildlife News

Approved bobcat hunting changes

Cougar hunting rules also approved

SALT LAKE CITY — Hunters and trappers will have a chance to take more bobcats in Utah this fall.

Hunters and trappers will have more chances to take bobcats in Utah this season.

Hunters and trappers will have more chances to take bobcats in Utah this season.

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

At their Aug. 28 meeting, members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved a recommendation to allow an individual hunter or trapper to obtain up to six bobcat permits.

During the 2013–2014 season, each trapper or hunter could not obtain more than three bobcat permits. And the total number of permits was capped at 4,600. This season, the permit cap has been lifted.

Board members also approved cougar hunting rules at the meeting. The rules that were approved should result in hunters taking about the same number of cougars this season as were taken in Utah during the 2013–2014 season.

During the 2013–2014 season, hunters took 330 cougars.

All of the bobcat and cougar hunting rules the board approved will be available in two free guidebooks. The guidebooks should be available at wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks by Sept. 15.

Bobcats are doing well

Leslie McFarlane, mammals coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says bobcat populations are growing in Utah. She 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 target time outlined 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 doesn’t need to be capped. And any hunter or trapper who wants to participate can obtain up to six permits each."

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

Utah's bobcat season runs from Nov. 19, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. Permits will be on sale Oct. 1–21.

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