Public Invited to Discuss Population Status and Management Options for Bobcats

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The population status and potential management options for bobcats and river otters will be discussed at a series of state-wide public meetings.

Both bobcats and river otters have shown substantial population increases in recent years. Bobcat numbers have grown on their own, to the point where the animal was de-listed from the threatened species list in 2003. River otters were first re-introduced in Iowa in 1985 and have grown to the point where their presence has been confirmed in all 99 counties.

Management scenarios for both species will be outlined at the meetings. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is taking comments on a potential river otter trapping season, and a potential bobcat hunting and trapping season. Both seasons under consideration would be limited to certain areas of the state, and have quotas, with the possibility of expanding statewide in the future. Potential harvest of both species also takes into consideration maintaining population growth and distribution throughout the state for otters and bobcats.

Details on potential management scenarios under consideration by the DNR are available at www.iowadnr.com, then click on wildlife. There is an opportunity to send comments directly from the page.

The following information meetings are scheduled. Please note that some of the dates have changed.

Feb. 21, Pin Oak Nature Center, Chariton, at 7 p.m.

Feb. 22, Iowa Lakes Community College, 1900 Grande Avenue, Spencer at 7 p.m. F

eb. 23, F & M Bank, backdoor, alley entrance, 101 East Main St., Manchester, at 7 p.m.

Both species are open to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources depredation policy. For more information, contact Ron Andrews, state furbearer biologist, at 641-425-5088.

Public comment is being accepted throughout the process for both Otters and Bobcats, which seeks final approval by June.