Preliminary Wisconsin bobcat harvest at 548

Madison — Hunters and trappers harvested 548 bobcats in Wisconsin, according to preliminary harvest data for the 2017-18 bobcat seasons.

Preliminary data combines state and tribal harvest information; final harvest numbers should be available by mid-June. With the addition of the southern management zone, 2017 marks the fourth year of statewide bobcat harvest by hunting and trapping.

Bobcat harvest is divided by northern and southern management zones. In 2017, the harvest goal for the northern zone was 550 and the harvest goal for the southern zone was 200 for a total harvest goal of 750 bobcats statewide. Both zones saw harvest goal increases for the 2017 season, with a substantial increase in the northern zone.

“Harvest goals and permit levels for each management zone are evaluated annually based on review of bobcat population data,” said Shawn Rossler, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources furbearer ecologist. “Bobcats are managed through a preference point lottery system that allows harvest by trappers and hunters with a permit.”

The Furbearer Advisory Committee, which includes DNR staffers, tribal and partner agency representatives, and individuals from key user groups, provides annual harvest goal recommendations to the DNR.

The DNR’s bobcat population estimate research is led by Nathan Roberts, DNR furbearer research scientist.

“We are learning a lot about this elusive animal through active research efforts. Monitoring bobcats via satellite collars allows us to evaluate harvest mortality rates,” Roberts said. “Over the past four years, 90 bobcats have been collared and monitored.”

“The information from this research will allow the department to maximize bobcat harvest opportunities while ensuring the long-term stability of the bobcat population,” Rossler said.

The annual application deadline for the bobcat harvest permit drawing is Aug. 1. Wisconsin’s bobcat hunting and trapping seasons are divided into early (mid-October to Dec. 25) and late (Dec. 26 to Jan. 31) time periods.

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