DEC announces Updated Bobcat Management Plan for Public Comment

DEC has released a draft 2024-2033 Bobcat Management Plan (PDF) for public comment. The plan is an update to the 2012-2017 Bobcat Management Plan. Since the publication of the previous plan, DEC has improved data collection and our understanding of bobcat populations by conducting an age-at-harvest analysis of bobcats in Central/Western NY, collecting hunter and trapper effort data to understand take-per-unit effort, and began collecting bobcat observations from the general public. This second edition plan outlines strategies to continue assessment of bobcat harvest trends and population indices and provides recommendations for future bobcat management in New York.

The plan advances three main goals:

  1. maintain or enhance bobcat populations in all areas of the state where suitable habitat exists;
  2. provide for the sustainable use and enjoyment of bobcats by the public; and
  3. ensure that DEC is meeting the public desire for information about bobcats and their conservation, use, and enjoyment.

The updated plan does not recommend any immediate changes in hunting or trapping regulations, but addresses information gaps by providing a comprehensive review of existing data on bobcats and outlining strategies for improving data collection to inform future decision-making.

Major elements of the plan include:

  • Implementing a targeted survey to determine bobcat density and/or occupancy in central and western New York;
  • Developing a population model that incorporates existing data (harvest numbers and demographics, observation information, estimated density from above survey) to estimate population trends;
  • Establishing criteria to guide recommendations for modifying existing harvest opportunities or opening new areas to bobcat harvest;
  • Improving the accuracy of demographic information (sex and age) collected from harvested bobcats, allowing for a better understanding of harvested populations;
  • Compiling information on bobcat-human interactions and developing guidelines for avoiding conflicts; and
  • Understanding and addressing public values and interests regarding bobcats and bobcat management decisions.

A copy of the plan and summary documents can be found on the DEC website. Comments on the updated plan will be accepted through March 2nd, 2024 and may be sent via e-mail to Wildlife@dec.ny.gov (use “Bobcat Plan” in the subject line) or mail to ATTN: NYSDEC Game Management Section, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233.