Monday, June 11, 2007

Northern Tier leads Pa. in bobcats killed; Potter County tops

June 10, 2007
George Osgood

Once again, the Northern Tier counties have led the state in bobcat kills.

According to figures released recently by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Potter County hunters accounted for 31 bobcats in the 2006-07 bobcat seasons. Tioga County was second with 27, and Clearfield was third with 21. Bradford County ranked fourth with 19.

Clinton and Sullivan counties tied for fifth with 18.

In all, Pennsylvania hunters and trappers took 258 bobcats during the seasons. That's the most since bobcat season was reopened seven years ago. During the 2004-2005 seasons, hunters and trappers took 221 bobcats.

"As during the previous season, weather conditions were favorable during January and February, particularly for trapping bobcats, due to limited precipitation and warmer-than-average temperatures," said Matthew Lovallo, Game Commission furbearer biologist and author of the agency's bobcat management plan. "In fact, 47 percent of the harvest occurred during 2007."

At a public drawing last September, the commission awarded 720 permits from a field of more than 4,600 applicants. Each permit allowed a hunter or trapper to take one bobcat.

On June 29, the commission will begin accepting applications for 2007-2008 bobcat permits from holders of resident furtaker, junior combination or senior combination licenses, along with a nonrefundable $5 fee. Mail-in applications are included in the 2007-2008 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations provided to each license buyer. All mail-in applications must be postmarked no later than Aug. 15.

Also on June 29, the agency will begin accepting applications for bobcat permits through "The Outdoor Shop" on the agency's Web site (www.pgc. state.pa.us). Applicants may charge their hunting and furtaking licenses, as well as the bobcat application, to their Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit cards.

The commission will award a record 1,010 permits for the 2007-2008 bobcat seasons at a public drawing at its Harrisburg headquarters on Sept. 14.

"All of the tools we use to monitor Pennsylvania's bobcat population indicate increased bobcat abundance and continued geographic expansion outside the established harvest area," Lovallo said. "Also, consistent with our conservative approach to increasing the bobcat harvest opportunities, we are able to increase the statewide harvest objective to 340 bobcats and adjust the permit allocation accordingly and offer more bobcat permits for the upcoming season."

The 2007-08 hunting season for bobcats is set for Oct. 20 to Feb. 16, and the trapping season is Oct. 21 to Feb. 17.

•SEND IN YOUR GOBBLER REPORT CARD: Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management Director Calvin DuBrock has reminded successful spring gobbler hunters to submit their harvest report card, as required by law.

If hunters can't find one of the pre-addressed and postage-paid harvest report cards that came with their license, they can use the harvest report card found on page 33 of the 2006-2007 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations to report their kill.

DuBrock also noted that reporting is mandatory for the 7,582 individuals who received one of the special spring gobbler hunting licenses allowing them to kill a second gobbler.

DuBrock encouraged any spring gobbler hunters who killed a bird with a leg band to call the toll-free phone number on the band to report the harvest of a banded turkey. The Game Commission, National Wild Turkey Federation, Penn State and National Band and Tag Co., along with wildlife officials in New York and Ohio, have joined forces to conduct a four-year study to estimate the harvest rates of spring gobblers.

"Hunters who report their wild turkey or deer harvests are helping wildlife managers make more-informed decisions when recommending seasons and bag limits and other conservation measures," DuBrock said. "If all hunters who harvested a turkey or deer would send in their harvest report card, as required by law, harvest estimates wouldn't be necessary."

George Osgood's report on Pennsylvania outdoors appears every other Sunday. Mail questions, comments and information to him at 26 Meade St., Wellsboro, Pa., 16901; e-mail to gosgood@epix.net; or phone 570/724-3803.

http://www.stargazettenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article? AID=/20070610/COLUMNIST18/706100341

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