Friday, July 13, 2007

Bobcat trapping to be legal in some counties in Iowa

July 12, 2007

Trappers in Iowa's southern two tiers of counties will be allowed to take bobcats, which as recently as six years ago were on the state's list of endangered animals.

A limited trapping season for bobcats was allowed to go forward Wednesday by a legislative committee that reviewed new Iowa Department of Natural Resources rules.

Critics in the audience challenged the accuracy of a DNR survey used in support of the state agency's position that the bobcat population is steadily growing and would not be put at risk by a limited trapping season.

"I don't think the bobcat population can sustain a taking," Pam Mackey-Taylor, chairwoman of the Sierra Club's Iowa chapter, told members of the Administrative Rules Review Committee.

George Scalf of Ottumwa, a representative of the National Trappers Association, assured legislators that "we won't overharvest them." He argued that a number of bobcats are caught in traps accidentally now and the carcasses turned over to the DNR.

Members of the Administrative Rules Review Committee raised questions about the trapping season rules but took no action to delay them. It's likely lawmakers will re-evaluate the situation in a year.

The trapping season will be from Nov. 3 through Jan. 31, or until a limit of 150 is reached.

Trappers will be allowed to harvest one bobcat each. Trapping will be permitted in the following counties: Adams, Appanoose, Clarke, Davis, Decatur, Des Moines, Fremont, Henry, Jefferson, Lee, Lucas, Mills, Monroe, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne.

The bobcat population in Iowa has increased since the mid-1980s, according to natural resources officials.

Reporter Jonathan Roos can be reached at (515) 284-8443 or AID=/20070712/NEWS10/707120386/-1/ENT06

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