Although hunters and trappers took a combined total of 258 bobcats last year, their numbers continue to increase, and this year the Pennsylvania Game Commission will award 1,010 permits for the 2007-08 hunting and trapping seasons.
Beginning Friday, June 29, the PGC will begin accepting applications for bobcat permits from holders of resident furtaker, junior combination or senior lifetime combination licenses, along with a non-refundable $5 fee. Mail-in applications are included in the 2007-08 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which are provided when hunting and furtaking licenses are purchased and are now on sale.
Mail-in applications must be postmarked no later than Aug. 15, and also Friday the PGC will begin accepting applications for bobcat permits through “The Outdoor Shop” on the agency’s Web site at www.pgc.state.pa.us, and must be received by midnight Sept. 4. Applicants may charge their hunting/furtaking licenses, as well as a bobcat application, to their VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit cards, and bobcat permits will be awarded Friday, Sept. 14, at a public drawing at PGC headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg.
Last year, 720 bobcat permits were issued, and of the 258 taken, 132 were males, 122 were females and four were not identified by those submitting report cards. During the 2004-05 seasons, 221 bobcats were taken; 2004-05, 196; during 2003-04, 140; during 2002-03, 135; during 2001-02, 146; and during 2000-01, 58.
Initially bobcats only could be taken in parts of northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania, and the area changed slightly with the adoption of Wildlife Management Units in 2003. In 2004, the bobcat area was increased by about 30 percent with the addition of two WMUs, and in 2005 and 2006, bobcats could be taken in WMUs 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D in southwestern, northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania.
For the 2007-08 seasons, WMU 2A in the southwest corner of the state has been added to the units open for bobcat hunting and trapping.