With a narrow five to four vote, New Hampshire's Fish and Game Commission has approved new rules that would let hunters and trappers to kill fifty bobcats a year. The season would begin with a month of trapping in December of this year, and continue into January of 2017 with a month of hunting with dogs and firearms. Sportsmen will be awarded permits based on a lottery.
The proposal had become one of the most controversial in recent Fish and Game history, and it attracted more than 5,000 comments, mostly in opposition. Some landowners have threatened to post their land against all hunting and trapping in response to the decision, and others have suggested that this issue shows the Fish and Game Commission is in need of some kind of reform to better incorporate the views of non-hunters.
Based on a study conducted by the University of New Hampshire, Fish and Game's biologists estimate the bobcat population in New Hampshire could be growing by as many as 150 per year, and will continue to grow even with the new season. A legislative committee needs to give one last approval of the new rule before it becomes final.