Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bobcat freed from illegal trap in N.Y.; 2 teens charged

December 30, 2009

Bobcat freed from illegal trap in Carmel; 2 teens charged

By Michael Risinit
Gannett News Service

CARMEL — Spending some time stuck in a leg trap apparently left a female bobcat in Carmel with a bit of an attitude.

Two teenagers eventually were charged in the illegal trapping of the animal, which was discovered in the woods Sunday off Drewville Road by a man and his grandson out for a stroll. They heard growling and found the animal with its left front paw in the trap.

Carmel police Chief Michael Johnson said the trap was on watershed land owned by New York City, which doesn't allow trapping on its property, and was not labeled with the owner's name, which is required by state law.

The bobcat was released by Kricket and Chuck Dyckman, the town's dog-control officers. The two also run Dyckman's Wildlife Nuisance Control in Mahopac.

"She was not happy. That's understandable, as you can imagine," Kricket Dyckman said Tuesday.

Police kept an eye on the area. After spotting a gray pickup truck parked nearby, Carmel police Officer James Evans on Monday found two boys, a 17-year-old from Carmel and a 13-year-old from Bedford, checking the trap. They were taken to Carmel police headquarters.

Johnson said a New York City Department of Environmental Protection police officer charged the Carmel resident with trespass and not possessing a city access permit. A state Department of Environmental Conservation officer charged him with having an unsecured bow in his truck and no name tags on his traps. All of those charges are violations. The 17-year-old, who had a state trapping license, is due Feb. 23 in Carmel Town Court.

The 13-year-old was charged with possessing a BB gun without parental supervision. He was released to his parents and is due in Putnam County Family Court.

Police would not identify the teens because of their ages and because the charges were violations.

There is no minimum trapping age for state residents, according to the DEC, but all new trappers must pass a trapper-education course before receiving a license.

A female bobcat weighs about 20 pounds, according to the state DEC, and males weigh about 26 pounds.

The animals are solitary and mostly active at night, DEC wildlife biologist Gordon Batcheller said.

"They're a secretive species. Few people observe them," he said.

Bobcats, he said, tend to prefer a diverse habitat, which provides a decent source of prey. There is no statewide population estimate, but mandatory reports from trappers and hunters provide some idea of their numbers. In Putnam County, bobcat-trapping season runs from Oct. 25 to Feb. 15. There is no season in Westchester.

Batcheller said five bobcats were taken last year in Putnam. Dutchess County, with its mix of farms and forest, saw 48 bobcats taken.

Depending on market prices, he said, a pelt in good condition could be worth $20 to $40.

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20091230/NEWS01/91230004/Bobcat-freed-from-illegal-trap-in-Carmel--2-teens-charged

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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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