MADISON - The statewide harvest quota for bobcat has been approved and set at 750 for the 2017-18 seasons, which mark the fourth year of statewide bobcat harvest.
Hunters and trappers successful in receiving a harvest permit for the 2017-18 season will be notified by mid-September.
The quota of 750 bobcats includes both the Northern and Southern Zone - Wisconsin HWY 64 acts as the dividing line between these zones. The Southern Zone quota for the 2017-18 season is set at 200 bobcats (compared to 150 in 2016-17), while the northern zone quota is set at 550, (compared to 225 in 2016-17).
"Both zones will see quota increases this year, with a substantial quota increase in the Northern Zone." said Shawn Rossler, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources furbearer ecologist.
Each year, the department's Furbearer Advisory Committee meets to review bobcat research, harvest, and survey data to make harvest recommendations. The committee expressed support for increased quota recommendations for both zones.
Bobcat population estimate research is led by Dr. Nathan Roberts, DNR furbearer research scientist. "DNR works closely with trappers and hunters to learn more about this elusive, but common, species - together, we are working to refine our understanding of Wisconsin's bobcat population and are finding that Wisconsin's bobcat population is healthy and robust enough to provide additional harvest opportunities," said Roberts. "The information we gather from ongoing research efforts will be used to update population models and continue to guide harvest quotas in the future."
Bobcat research is funded, in part, by a special application fee that was requested by Wisconsin's sportsmen and women to ensure science-based management of this species.
2017-18 bobcat hunting and trapping seasons begin Oct. 15
Wisconsin's bobcat hunting and trapping seasons are divided into early and late time periods. These early and late seasons for each zone can be closed early, if needed, to stay within approved harvest quotas.
Time periods for 2017-18 are as follows:
Period 1: Oct. 15 to Dec. 25, 2017; and
Period 2: Dec. 26, 2017 to Jan. 31, 2018.
Successful hunters and trappers must register their bobcat by phone within 24 hours and, additionally, must also register their bobcat in person by the fifth day of the month following the date of take.