Ohio considering bobcat trapping season after increased sighting - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Four bobcats reported in Columbiana County

Ohio considering bobcat trapping season after increased sightings

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The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife is considering instituting a trapping season in certain areas of the state after sightings of bobcats have continued to increase. 

According to ODNR, the bobcat was removed from the list of Ohio endangered and threatened species in July 2014. 

Verified sightings of bobcats have been on the rise in recent years- with more than 2,000 sightings from 1970 through 2017. Nearly 500 of those sightings happened in just the last year. 

Ohio had 499 verified bobcat reports in 2017 which included 343 trail camera pictures or videos, 82 road-killed, 12 incidentally trapped bobcats, 34 photographs, and 28 sightings by Ohio Department of Natural Resources staff or other qualified personnel.

In Columbiana County, there were four verified sightings of bobcats in 2017. 

ODNR says bobcats typically tend to inhabit the forests of eastern and southern Ohio. More and more, verified sightings are being gained through trail cameras. ODNR says that since 2008, trail cameras have become the primary source of sightings. 

ODNR says it is likely that the growing popularity of trail cameras, as well as the decline in their cost, is largely responsible for the increase in the number of trail camera photos of bobcats.

The Division of Wildlife says bobcats are typically solitary animals who avoid urban areas where the population is higher. 

Bobcats generally lie in wait for their prey, pouncing when an animal comes near. According to the Division of Wildlife, they are carnivores and will consume a wide variety of insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and mammals. Rabbits and, in northern latitudes, white-tailed deer are important components of the bobcat's diet. 

However, a spokesperson for the department said that they tend to avoid household pets- although they have been known to occasionally get ahold of free-range chickens. 

Because of the increase in sightings, the Division of Wildlife says it is working with researchers to estimate the bobcat population in Ohio with genetic sampling, and modeling populations to estimate growth rates. 

A limited trapping season could help researchers determine the size of the state's bobcat population and to determine if the upward trend will continue.  

The proposed trapping season would have restrictions including where bobcats could be trapped, and how many could be captured. However, those specific details have not yet been released. 
 

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