Monday, August 16, 2010

New Rules proposed to protect Bobcats

The number of bobcats in Utah may have bottomed out a year ago. But some trapping and hunting changes should help the small cats rebound.

Wildlife biologists are also recommending that seven new areas in Utah open to beaver trapping.

All of the Division of Wildlife Resources furbearer recommendations are now available online. The following are among the agency's proposals:

Trappers would have more chances to trap beavers in Utah this season. Biologists want to close three areas to beaver trapping. But seven new areas would open.

Biologists say the number of bobcats in Utah may have reached their lowest point since the DWR started keeping bobcat records in 1983. To help the population rebound, they're recommending the following:

Cap the number of bobcat trapping and hunting permits at 4,600.

Limit each trapper and hunter to not more than three bobcat permits. (Last season, each trapper and hunter could have up to four permits. Each permit allows a trapper or hunter to take one bobcat.)

Reduce the length of the season by one week. The season would start on Dec. 1, 2010. It would end about two months later, on Feb. 6, 2011.

"Several indications lead us to believe that the population is rebounding," says Justin Dolling, game mammals coordinator for the DWR, "but we'd rather be safe than sorry."

Dolling says bobcats prey mostly on rabbits, which are on a 10-year population cycle: every five years, their population bottoms out. Then the population builds again for the next five years.

"Rabbit populations are starting their upward climb again," he says. "That's good news for the state's bobcats."

Learn more, share your ideas
All of the DWR's bobcat proposals are now available at . Once you've read the proposals, you can share your thoughts and ideas one of two ways:

RAC meetings
Five Regional Advisory Council meetings will be held across Utah. Citizens representing the RACs will take the input received at the meetings to the Utah Wildlife Board. Board members will use the input to help them set rules for Utah's 2010–2011 bobcat trapping and hunting season. They'll set those rules at their Aug. 19, 2010 meeting in Salt Lake City.

You can participate and provide your input at any of the following meetings:

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for your RAC members are available at

The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person's e-mail address. You should direct your e-mail to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.

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