SALT LAKE CITY — Bobcat populations are growing in Utah, and wildlife biologists are recommending changes that could lead to more opportunities for the state’s trappers and hunters to take bobcats in Utah this fall. 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.
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 Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, or 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 at the DWR website.
The DWR is recommending that the upcoming bobcat season run from Nov. 19, 2014, to Feb. 8, 2015.
Learn more, share your ideas
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:
- July 29 | 7 p.m. | Beaver High School | 195 East Center St., Beaver
- Aug. 5 | 6:30 p.m. | Springville Public Library Meeting Room | 45 S. Main St., Springville
- July 30 | 6:30 p.m. | John Wesley Powell Museum | 1765 East Main St., Green River
- Aug. 6 | 6 p.m. | Brigham City Community Center | 24 North 300 West, Brigham City
- July 31 | 6:30 p.m. | DWR Northeastern Region Office | 318 North Vernal Ave., Vernal
You can also provide your comments to your RAC via email. Email addresses for your RAC members are available at Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website. You should direct your email to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.
- RAC meetings to determine rules for waterfowl, bobcat hunting seasons
- Cougar hunting harvest-objective permits go on sale