RAY BROOK — Having collected enough data on bobcat populations, a special permit will no longer be necessary for hunting and trapping bobcats in certain parts of western New York.
But hunters and trappers who pursue bobcats in designated Harvest Expansion Areas (HEAs) are still required to have a hunting or trapping license and to have the animal pelt sealed, according to a press release.
Upon completion of the Bobcat Management Plan in 2012, regulations were adopted to establish a hunting and trapping season in select Wildlife Management Units in central and western New York, referred to as the “Harvest Expansion Area.”
In areas open to bobcat hunting and trapping, individuals are required to have a license and to have the animal “pelt sealed” — have a plastic tag affixed by DEC staff — after harvest.
However, to hunt or trap bobcats in the HEA, licensed hunters and trappers were also required to obtain a free special permit from their regional wildlife office.
This requirement allowed biologists to collect information on participation, harvest, harvest pressure — number of days afield, number of traps set, etc. — through a diary or “log,” and to collect biological samples.
This robust data set allows biologists to assess the status of the bobcat population and evaluate harvest.
After three seasons of data collection, sufficient information on harvest pressure and take has been collected and the special permit is no longer needed.
The Notice of Adoption for the revised regulation can be viewed in the New York State Register at on.ny.gov/2ulcpVZ.