Wednesday, June 06, 2007
BY MARCUS SCHNECK
For The Patriot-News
Anyone who has applied unsuccessfully for a Pennsylvania bobcat permit in each of the past three years and yet again this year is not drawn may not want to try his luck at one of the state's new racetrack casinos.
For the first time since the modern-day bobcat hunting and trapping season began in 2000, the Pennsylvania Game Commission plans to issue more than 1,000 permits this year.
In addition, 720 regular applicants for the permits are not eligible for the drawing this year because they were successful in gaining permits last year, when 720 permit-holders harvested a record 258 bobcats.
Also, since 2004, individuals who apply and are not drawn one year have their names added additional times in future years they apply.
With the pool of applicants likely to increase only a bit over the 5,000 of last year -- if the trend from the first year of the modern-day season in 2000 continues this year -- those factors should combine to give even the unluckiest person his best chance ever at a bobcat permit.
An expansion of the area of the state in which bobcats may be harvested and an increase in the management harvest goal this year cleared the way for the expansion of the number of permits to 1,010 for 2007-08, the commission announced yesterday.
That's an increase from 615 in both 2005-06 and 2004-05, when the annual harvest goal was 230; 570 in 2003-04; 545 in 2002-03; 520 in 2001-02; and 290 in 2000-01, the first year of the modern-day season. The annual harvest goal through 2004-05 was 175 bobcats.
Last year, 258 bobcats were taken by hunters and trappers. During the 2005-06 season, 221 bobcats were taken; 196 bobcats in 2004-05; 140 in 2003-04; 135 in 2002-03; 146 in 2001-02; and 58 in 2000-01.
"All of the tools that we use to monitor Pennsylvania's bobcat population indicate increased bobcat abundance and continued geographic expansion outside of the established harvest area," said Matthew Lovallo, commission furbearer biologist and author of the agency's bobcat management plan.
"Based on this information, the board approved including Wildlife Management Unit 2A [the southwestern corner of the state] to the list of units open for bobcat hunting and trapping."
Bobcats may be taken in WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D in southwestern, northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania.
Lovallo added, "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 commission will begin accepting the 2007-08 bobcat permit applications on June 29. The application period will end Aug. 15 for those applying by mail, and Sept. 4 for those applying through the commission's Web site at www.pgc.state.pa.us.
A public drawing for the permits will be held Sept. 14 at commission headquarters in Harrisburg.
MARCUS SCHNECK: 610-562-1884 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Schneck's outdoor writing also appears Sunday in Sports and Travel, Monday in Life Etc. and regularly at www.PennLive.com.