Proposed Limited Bobcat Harvest Season FAQs
- Why did the original bobcat population decline?
Bobcats declined as the result of a large-scale habitat change at the turn of the 20th century. Specifically, these changes were conversion to agriculture by massive forest removal and draining of swamps and wetlands by European settlers. Unregulated hunting and trapping that had no seasons or limits was another factor. This is similar to why we lost many wildlife species in the early 1900s, such as white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and beaver, all of which are plentiful now and have regulated hunting or trapping seasons now. Bobcats were put on the endangered species list in 1969, which is the year the first state endangered species list was created.
- How long would the season be?
The season would start Nov. 8 and end Jan. 31, unless the quota was met, which would close the season early.
- Would the season be statewide?
No, the season would be limited to counties that support strong, self-sustaining bobcat populations. Those counties have not yet been finalized, but would likely to be limited to southern Indiana.
- Would anyone be able to hunt or trap as many bobcats as they want?
No, there would be a strict limit of one bobcat per licensed hunter or trapper and a strict season limit on the total number of bobcats that could be harvested throughout all of the counties that had a bobcat season.
- How can we ensure too many bobcats aren’t hunted and trapped?
In addition to the limit of one bobcat per licensed hunter or trapper, there would be a season quota that would limit how many total bobcats could be hunted or trapped. Once this quota was reached, the season would close. This is the same system that is used to successfully manage river otter harvest in Indiana.
- Would the hunter or trapper have to register the bobcat after they harvested it?
Yes. Anyone who legally hunts or traps a bobcat would be required to report their harvest online or by phone within 24 hours of harvest. In addition, the pelt and skinned carcass would have to be taken to a designated DNR employee or registration station within 15 days after the month of harvest. Information on age and reproduction would be collected from the carcasses. These statistics would provide important information needed to monitor bobcat populations in Indiana.
- How would the DNR enforce a quota?
Licensed hunters and trappers would be required to check in their harvest of a bobcat online or by phone within 24 hours of the harvest. Doing so would allow the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to monitor the harvest daily and close the season early if the quota was met.
- Are bobcats causing problems?
We get very few reports of bobcats being a nuisance or causing damage. The proposal to have a limited season is not because of complaints or conflicts with bobcats. The DNR manages bobcats and other wildlife for several reasons, such as photography, wildlife viewing, and regulated hunting and trapping. A limited, highly regulated season will allow those with interest the opportunity to hunt or trap bobcats. This season will not jeopardize bobcat populations in Indiana. It will be closely regulated to still allow the bobcat population to thrive.
- People don’t eat bobcats, why hunt or trap them?
Unlike species like deer and wild turkey, with bobcats and other furbearers, the main purpose of hunting and trapping isn’t for meat but for the fur. Fur is a natural and sustainable product used to make clothing. A few people do eat bobcat meat, but because the DNR requires the carcass to be turned over, few people would have the opportunity to consume bobcat meat. DNR staff collect information bon age and reproduction from the bobcat carcasses, which provides a lot of important data to assist with continuing to monitor the bobcat population in Indiana.
- Aren’t some traps cruel or painful to the bobcat?
Traps are more humane, efficient, and selective than ever before. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, to which the Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife and all other states’ similar organizations belong, have done humane trap research, called Best Management Practices. Trapping is highly regulated and strictly enforced by Indiana Conservation Officers. In addition, many of the traps used by licensed trappers are the exact same types of traps the DNR staff use to trap and collar bobcats for research. This helps the DNR see where bobcats go and what type of habitat they used but does not injure or maim them. Learn more about bobcats.