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March 31, 2015

MADISON - Preliminary harvest data from Wisconsin's 2014-15 bobcat seasons has shown that hunters and trappers harvested 274 bobcats. Preliminary data combines both state and tribal harvest information, and final harvest information should be available by mid-June.

This marks the fifth year of expanded bobcat harvest and includes results from the newly opened southern bobcat harvest zone.

"Wisconsin's bobcat population is doing well and continues to expand into central and southwest Wisconsin; 2014 is also notable for efforts to improve population estimate procedures - this is a high priority for the department and key conservation partner groups," said John Olson, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources furbearer ecologist. "We share a hope that better population estimates will lead to expanded hunting and trapping opportunities."

The department's bobcat population estimate research is led by Nathan Roberts, the department's furbearer research scientist.

"This autumn, we worked with trappers to place GPS satellite collars on seven bobcats," said Roberts. "We will be collaring more animals this upcoming year and these collared bobcats will help us better understand the status of bobcats in northern Wisconsin to update our population models and improve our annual quota setting decisions."

Annual harvest quota recommendations are made by the Furbearer Advisory Committee, which includes DNR staff, tribal and partner agency representatives and individuals from key user groups. Wisconsin's bobcat hunting and trapping seasons are divided into early (mid-October to December 25) and late (December 26 to January 31) time periods. These early and late seasons for each zone can be closed early, if needed, to stay within approved harvest goals.

Harvested bobcats must be reported within 24 hours and receive an in-person registration tag from a local conservation warden within five days of the month of harvest. Successful harvesters must provide the bobcat carcass to the department for scientific examination. Department staff use data collected from this examination to monitor population age structure, pregnancy rates and litter sizes. This information is tracked annually to allow adjustments to harvest based on overall size and health of the bobcat population.

For more information regarding bobcat hunting and research in Wisconsin, visit the DNR web site at and search keyword "furbearers."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: John Olson, DNR furbearer ecologist, 715-685-2934; Nathan Roberts, DNR research scientist, 715-490-9345

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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