Like clothing from the 1970’s — otters and bobcats have made a comeback in Iowa — and the Department of Natural Resources is considering creating hunting seasons for the animals. D-N-R biologist Ron Andrews says they’ll hold three public hearings beginning this week to discuss the hunting seasons. Andrews says they’re “very conservative sorts of seasons” to get them started, and he says they want input from hunters and non-hunters.
Andrews says both animals are now thriving in the state. He says river otter was part of a restoration program and he says “they’ve come back like gangbusters. Andrews says there are an estimated seven-thousand otters in the state and the quota for trapping them would be 300 animals. Andrews says the quota would thin the population, while still allowing them to thrive.
The river otter got help in making a comeback, but Andrews says the bobcat clawed its own way back. He says the bobcat came back without D-N-R assistance and now the population is around 25-hundred. Andrews says the season for bobcats would have a quota of 200, which he says would allow the population to continue to increase. Andrews expects the Iowans who’re already running trap lines for other animals to seek the licenses for the otter and bobcats.
Andrews says there is a market for the otter and bobcat pelts just like other animals such as the muskrats, fox, coyotes. He says the pelts end up in Europe where they’re turned into fashion clothing. Andrews says hunters could be seeking out the otters and bobcats yet this year. He says if everything falls into place, they’d like to get the hunting seasons established this coming fall.
The first public hearing is Tuesday (February 21) at the Pin Oak Nature Center in Chariton at seven p.m. The second hearing is Wednesday at Iowa Lakes Community College in Spencer, and the third is at the F & M Bank in Manchester. Both are at seven p.m.