Less than four years after bobcats were removed from Ohio's Endangered and Threatened Species list, the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) has proposed that the species be added to Ohio's list of trappable fur-bearing animals, allowing incredible pain and suffering to be unleashed upon these sensitive animals. On February 8, 2018, the ODOW issued proposed rule changes for Winter 2018, among which included the opening of a bobcat trapping season to begin in January 2019. We can't let this happen!
Bobcats will be trapped in cruel steel foothold traps that clamp down on their legs or paws, exerting pressure with strong springs, possibly breaking bones and tearing tendons and ligaments. A cat in a trap panics, pulls, fights...sometimes for up to 24 hours or even longer if the trapper fails to check the trap lines in the legislated time frame...increasing his pain and suffering, but he doesn't give up. When the trapper finally arrives, a noose is placed over the terrified and exhausted cat's head, and he is strangled to death. The trapper doesn't want to damage the precious pelt, and no consideration is given to the animal who wears it.
With only a $5 fee to trap a bobcat, essentially every trapper will pursue one. That's tremendous pressure on a population of unknown size. The bobcat population has never been trapped and are therefore not wary of traps. Bobcats are not difficult to trap and with that many trappers in the field, the quota will likely be surpassed on the first day. Because of a rapidly met quota, the ODOW and the Ohio State Trappers Association (OSTA) will likely assume, wrongly, that this is evidence of a very large population.
The ODOW granted $245,000 in October 2017 to a population modeling project to be implemented at Ohio University over the "next 4 years to develop a population model to understand the viability of Ohio's recovering bobcat population and inform bobcat management and conservation." This project makes use of non-lethal means to collect bobcat DNA and photos to create a model to predict how the population grows and changes. Yet despite the substantial funding for that research, the division now proposes to open the trapping season when the research has barely begun.
The proposed trapping regions are based on higher and lower bobcat population areas. Although the population in the eastern counties could be large enough to sustain some level of killing, the rest of the population (the rest of southern Ohio and scattered pockets across the state) are not sustainable yet and function as population sinks. A genetic study showed that bobcats in the southern part of the state are likely not sustained by births, but rather by immigration from the eastern population and elsewhere. What happens in the eastern population will affect all the bobcats in the state, especially the southern population.
While the idea of humans successfully managing any other species, when we have little ability to manage even the most basic of our own issues is laughable, the ODOW is allegedly supposed to "manage" bobcats for all Ohioans, but they only care about making them available to hunters and trappers. It is all about the money. Bobcat populations do not grow quickly, and their populations can easily be threatened. The ODOW has not put the work into making sure they will not damage the bobcat population. Regardless, because bobcat populations do not overpopulate, there is no reason to ever have a bobcat trapping or hunting season.
We don't need to "manage" bobcats. Like all wild cats, their populations are self-regulating. Bobcat trapping is inhumane and unnecessary. They should not be killed for fun or profit.
It's a waste of taxpayer money to draft and enforce trapping regulations; we should be saving time and money by enacting a state-wide ban instead!
Send our letter to protest the bobcat killing plan to John Kasich, Governor of Ohio and James Zehringer, Director of the ODNR.
Oppose Cruel & Lethal Proposal for Bobcats
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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