Bobcats

NH Fish and Game

Should New Hampshire sportsman be allowed to hunt and trap bobcats?

Since the idea of a season on bobcats was first put on the table more than a year ago, that question has stirred up strong emotions, and those emotions came to a head Monday night.

The proposal Fish and Game is weighing would let New Hampshire hunters and trappers kill 50 bobcats a year. There are more than 600 such trappers, and permits would be given out using a lottery, at $100 a pop.

Emily Hoyer / Flicker CC

Fish and Game officials are holding public hearings this week on a plan to allow hunting and trapping of bobcats. 

Outward_bound via Flickr

Bobcats have been all over the news lately. It's kind of amazing to think that 30 years ago wildlife biologists estimated there were only 150 bobcats in New Hampshire. That's not the case anymore - their numbers are now estimated to be around 1400! How did these cats make such an impressive recovery?

Emily Hoyer / Flicker CC

  New Hampshire has taken another step toward considering whether to again allow people to hunt and trap bobcats.

The state Fish and Game Commission voted Wednesday to approve initial rules governing a short bobcat season. The rules would allow a maximum of 50 cats to be hunted or trapped in a season.

When the population dropped below an estimated 200 in 1989, the state banned hunting or trapping the cats. Biologists now say the population may be as high as 1,400 in the fall and winter and 2,200 in the spring and summer.

  Despite attracting heated opposition, a plan to allow the trapping of 50 bobcats every year will go forward following a Fish and Game Commission vote Wednesday. The proposal will still it still will have several public hearings before Fish and Game and a legislative committee.

Seven of eleven commissioners voted in favor of the proposal.

Carroll County’s commissioner Dave Patch said that if all fifty permit holders managed to trap a bobcat that would be only a fraction of the overall population estimated in a UNH study last year.

Emily Hoyer / Flicker CC

 

This past year's especially harsh winter has prompted the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to rethink a proposal to bring back the state's bobcat trapping season.

In January, the state Fish and Game Commission voted to have the department draw up a proposal for a bobcat season, but those plans were put on hold by the harsh winter.

Fish and Game's Doug Whitefield says winters are hard on young bobcats.

The Telegraph reports the last time New Hampshire allowed bobcat trapping was 1989.

Fish And Game's Glenn Normandeau

May 11, 2015
Kevin Micalizzi / Flickr/CC

Fish and Game Executive Director joins us to discuss his agency's mission, its 150th anniversary, and its wildlife management planning process - including decisions around hunting permits and fishing catch limits.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

In a meeting Wednesday, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission began a discussion on whether to open a bobcat trapping season. The proposal is far from final, but it’s already attracting the ire of the animal rights community.

Late last year biologists at the University of New Hampshire announced the results of a study, commissioned by Fish and Game. They estimated that from 1989 to today, the bobcat population in New Hampshire had rebounded from less than 200 cats to somewhere between 800 and 1,400.

Emily Hoyer / Flicker CC

A new study from the University of New Hampshire and Fish and Game finds that the state’s bobcat population has rebounded substantially.

Bobcats were hunted and trapped all the way through 1989, when the cats became so scarce that the state ended bobcat hunting. Back then there were estimated to be fewer than 200 bobcats in the state. Today, the new study estimates there could be as many as 800 to 1,200 of the elusive felines.

The study didn’t ask the question of what factors are leading to the recovery, and there is almost certainly more than one.