Home Environment Bobcats Beware: Local activists fight back on ODNR plan to allow bobcat trapping

Bobcats Beware: Local activists fight back on ODNR plan to allow bobcat trapping

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Local environmental groups have been swift to criticize the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ proposal to create a bobcat trapping season in the near future. Photo via Pixabay.

The ODNR proposed an open season for bobcats that would allow those with permits to trap and kill bobcats in certain areas.

Local environmental groups have been swift to criticize the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ proposal to create a bobcat trapping season in the near future.

Groups and activists such as Save Ohio’s Bobcats II and Heather Cantino have been speaking out against the proposal over the past few weeks. Cantino told The Athens News that the proposal is a “dangerous and ill-founded plan”.

Save Ohio’s Bobcats II, a group recently formed to oppose the trapping season, also voiced their concerns via a press release two weeks ago.

Verified bobcat sightings in Ohio. Graphic via ODNR.
Verified bobcat sightings in Ohio. Graphic via ODNR.

With their own research confirming the fact that the current population cannot sustain harvest, and further research still underway, it would appear there is little information supporting the decision to open a season for bobcats,” the press release said.

Save Ohio’s Bobcats II could not be reached directly for comment.

The Athens City Council also made their opposition known when council members unanimously opposed the plan at its meeting Monday night.

Under the ODNR’s proposal, it would no longer be illegal to trap bobcats. The ODNR proposed an open season for bobcats that would allow those with permits to trap and kill bobcats in certain areas. The open season would begin on Nov. 10, 2018 and end January 31, 2019.

Verified bobcat sightings in Ohio. Graphic via ODNR.
Verified bobcat sightings in Ohio in 2017. Graphic via ODNR.

ODNR’s Division of Wildlife compiled a report titled “Ohio Bobcat Management Plan,” where it examined various studies and reports to find a way to manage Ohio’s bobcat population. In the executive summary of the report, it asserted that effective management of state bobcats will require monitoring of populations and the use of trapping.

Trapping regulations will vary based on location, due to the bobcat population’s inconsistent spread throughout the state. The ODNR outlined their plan to divide the state into three different areas: A, B and C. Athens County is in zone B, meaning that a maximum of 20 bobcats will be allowed to be trapped in the zone. The season will end early if 20 are trapped before Jan. 31.

The ODNR’s Division of Wildlife could not be reached for direct comment.

According to an ODNR map, there were 30 verified bobcat sightings in Athens county in 2017. Athens sits in an area that has relatively high levels of bobcat sightings.

Before early colonization of Ohio, bobcats were native to the state. However, by the 1850s they had been all but eradicated from Ohio. In recent years, it appears the population has been making a comeback.

The proposal could be passed as early as April of this year. Public comments on the proposal can be submitted online.

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