Pennsylvania Bobcat Permits Increased for 2007-2008

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Pennsylvania Game Commission officials announced that hunters and trappers harvested 258 bobcats (122 females, 132 males and four were not identified) during the 2006-07 bobcat seasons. During the 2005-06 seasons, 221 bobcats were taken; 196 in 2004-05; 140 in 2003-04; 135 in 2002-03; 146 in 2001-02; and 58 in 2000-01.

At a public drawing last September, the Game Commission awarded 720 permits from a field of more than 4,600 applicants who applied to receive a bobcat harvest permit. Each permit allowed a hunter or trapper to harvest one bobcat. In 2005-06, the agency awarded 615 permits; 615 in 2004-05; 570 in 2003-04; 545 in 2002-03; 520 in 2001-02; and 290 in 2000-01.

Initially bobcats only could be harvested across parts of northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania. The area in which bobcats could be legally harvested changed slightly with the adoption of Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in 2003. In 2004, the bobcat harvest area was increased by about 30 percent with the addition of two WMUs. In 2005 and 2006, bobcat harvests were allowed in eight WMUs: 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D in southwestern, northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania.

For the 2007-08 season, WMU 2A in the southwest corner of the state was added to the list of units open for bobcat hunting and trapping.

"As during the previous season, weather conditions were favorable during January and February, particularly for trapping bobcats, due to limited precipitation and warmer-than-average temperatures," said Dr. Matthew Lovallo, Game Commission furbearer biologist and author of the agency's bobcat management plan. "In fact, 47 percent of the harvest occurred during 2007."

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe announced the agency will award 1,010 permits for the 2007-08 bobcat hunting/furtaking seasons at a public drawing in its Harrisburg headquarters on Friday, Sept. 14.

"All of the tools that we use to monitor Pennsylvania's bobcat population indicate increased bobcat abundance and continued geographic expansion outside of the established harvest area," said Dr. Matthew Lovallo, Game Commission furbearer biologist and author of the agency's bobcat management plan. "Based on this information, the Board approved including Wildlife Management Unit 2A to the list of units open for bobcat hunting and trapping.

"Also, consistent with our conservative approach to increasing the bobcat harvest opportunities, we are able to increase the statewide harvest objective to 340 bobcats and adjust the permit allocation accordingly and offer more bobcat permits for the upcoming season."

Following the creation of a preference point system in 2003, individuals who applied for a bobcat permit in 2004 and were not selected will have their names entered into the drawing four times if they applied the last three years and this year as well. However, only one application per person per year will be accepted by the Game Commission, and multiple submissions will result in the applicant being ineligible for the drawing.

Those who received one of the 720 bobcat permits issued during the 2006-07 season are not eligible for this year's drawing.

The 2007-08 hunting season for bobcats is set for Oct. 20 through Feb. 16, and the trapping season is set for Oct. 21 through Feb. 17. Those hunters or trappers receiving one of the limited permits through a public drawing will be restricted to pursuing bobcats in WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D in southwestern, northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania.

On June 29, the Game Commission will begin accepting applications for 2007-08 bobcat permits from holders of resident furtaker, junior combination or senior lifetime combination licenses, along with a nonrefundable $5 fee. Mail-in applications are included in the 2007-08 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which will be provided to each license buyer. All mail-in applications must be postmarked no later than Aug. 15.

Also on June 29, to better serve its customers, the agency will begin accepting applications for bobcat permits through "The Outdoor Shop" on the agency's website www.pgc.state.pa.us. Applicants may charge their hunting/furtaking licenses, as well as a bobcat application, to their VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit cards. Online applications will be accepted until midnight of Sept. 4.

To demonstrate its confidence in the Game Commission's bobcat management plan, in 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted the agency "multi-year" export status for bobcat pelts legally harvested in Pennsylvania.