MADISON, WI - Hunters and trappers harvested 548 bobcats in Wisconsin, according to preliminary harvest data for the 2017-18 bobcat seasons.
Preliminary data combines both state and tribal harvest information, and final harvest information should be available by mid-June. With the addition of the southern management zone, 2017 marks the fourth year of statewide bobcat harvest.
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 Staff, 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," said Roberts. "Over the last four years, 90 bobcats have been collared and monitored."
Rossler said the information from this research will allow the department to maximize bobcat harvest opportunities while ensuring the long-term stability of the bobcat population.
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.
For more information regarding bobcat hunting and research in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "furbearers."
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR