Utah DWR recommends changes to bobcat hunting regulations
Jul 24, 2014 | 973 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bobcat populations are growing in Utah and state wildlife officials are proposing changes to hunting regulations. Photo by Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Bobcat populations are growing in Utah and state wildlife officials are proposing changes to hunting regulations. Photo by Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
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Wildlife biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are recommending changes that could result in more chances for hunters to take bobcats in Utah this fall and the Utah DWR is seeking public comments on the proposed changes.

The recommendations would also result in hunters taking about the same number of cougars this season, according to a news release from the Utah DWR. During the 2013 to 2014 season, a total of 330 cougars were taken.

The Division of Wildlife Resources’ bobcat and cougar recommendations are available online at www.wildlife.utah.gov/meeting-agendas.html.

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, said the agency is recommending an unlimited number of permits for the 2014-2015 season because the bobcat population has been growing in recent years. However, the number of permits an individual trapper or hunter could obtain would still be limited, Utah DWR officials said. For the 2014-2015 season, the DWR is recommending that each trapper or hunter be allowed to obtain up to six bobcat permits, double the number allowed in the 2013-2014 season.

McFarlane said 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, he said. But the time has gotten shorter in each of the past four seasons.

“As long as two or more of the targets are met the total number of permits does not need to be capped,” McFarlane said.

The bobcat management plan, including the performance targets the plan outlines, is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/furbearer/pdf/bobcat_plan.pdf.

The public is invited to attend the agency’s upcoming Regional Advisory Council (RAC) meetings to voice comments in person, or comments may be emailed to members of the Regional Advisory Council.

RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board, which will meet in Salt Lake City on Aug. 28 to approve rules for Utah’s 2014-2015 cougar and furbearer seasons, agency officials said in the news release.

The meeting of the southeastern region RAC will be held Wednesday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the John Wesley Powell Museum, 1765 E. Main St., in Green River.

For those who prefer to submit comments by email, addresses for the regional RAC members are available at http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/rac-members.html.

The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person’s email address and comments should be sent to the board member that represents the commenter’s interests, Utah DWR officials said.

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

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