The state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed changes that would provide increased bobcat hunting and trapping opportunities in the North Country.
The rules related to the five-year bobcat management plan are available for public review, according to DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.
The bobcat population has increased over the past several decades throughout upstate New York. The DEC estimates that the state’s bobcat population is approximately 5,000 animals and growing, even in areas where regulated hunting and trapping seasons have been in place since the 1970s.
“Regulation changes are needed to implement several strategies in the recently adopted Bobcat Management Plan,” Commissioner Martens said. “The changes to the bobcat hunting and trapping seasons will increase opportunities for New York sportsmen and women, accompanied by rigorous monitoring requirements to ensure that harvest levels are sustainable.”
The DEC adopted the bobcat management plan in October 2012 following extensive public input. Comments submitted on the draft were used to finalize the plan and develop the rulemaking proposal. The DEC will accept public comments on the proposed regulations through April 8.
“DEC’s bobcat management plan provides for the continued well-being of this unique species,” Commissioner Martens said. “The proposed regulations will allow for some additional harvest with controls to ensure that populations are not adversely affected.”
The proposed regulations simplify season dates and establish new hunting and trapping opportunities in several wildlife management units.
As part of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year, Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposes that hunting and fishing licenses be simplified and fees be reduced. For more information, go to www.governor.ny.gov/press/02202013-ny-open-for-fishing-and-hunting.
The specific regulatory proposals can be seen at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html.
Citizens who wish to make formal public comments may do so by writing to Bryan L. Swift, New York State DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about bobcats in New York, including the recently adopted management plan, go to: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/9360.html.