DEC Accepting Public Comments on Regulatory Proposal on Bobcats

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that the agency is accepting public comments  the special permit requirements for bobcat hunting and trapping.

Upon completion of the Bobcat Management Plan in 2012, regulations were adopted to establish a hunting and trapping season in select Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in central and western New York, referred to as the “Harvest Expansion Area” (HEA). In areas open to bobcat hunting and trapping, individuals are required to have a license and to have the animal “pelt sealed” (i.e., have a plastic tag affixed by DEC staff) after harvest.

However, to hunt or trap bobcats in the HEA, licensed hunters and trappers were required to obtain a free “special permit” from their regional wildlife office. This requirement allowed biologists to collect information on participation, harvest, harvest pressure (e.g., number of days afield, number of traps set) through a diary or “log”, and to collect biological samples. This robust data set allowed biologists to assess the status of the bobcat population and evaluate harvest.

After three seasons of data collection, sufficient information on harvest pressure and take has been collected such that the special permit is no longer needed. If the regulation is adopted as proposed, hunters and trappers that pursue bobcats in the HEA will still be required to have a hunting or trapping license and to have the animal pelt sealed.

The Notices of Proposed Rulemaking can be viewed on DEC’s website and in the New York State Register.

The public comment period will be open through June 9, 2017.

Comments must be submitted in writing to:

Proposed Bobcat Regulation: Michael Schiavone, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754

Or e-mail comments to:[email protected]; subject line “Bobcat Regulation”

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