Iowa hunters and trappers will be allowed to take more bobcats this year. Willie Suchy, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Bureau Research Supervisor, told lawmakers there are now enough cats to raise the limit from 200 to 250.
“We rely on a couple of different indices, you know the number of animals that get hit by cars and we have a survey where our bow hunters actually report the number…and it’s been increasing gradually over the last few years and our philosophy is not to expand the season so the bobcats go away but to keep them at a certain level,” Suchy said.
A legislative review committee signed off on a proposal to raise the quota to 250 last week. At one time on the state’s endangered list, the D.N.R. now estimates there are as many as 4,000 bobcats in Iowa. Suchy says the goal is to preserve enough of the animals to allow the population to expand in Iowa’s northern counties.
“The indices are very strong in the southwest and the southeast and as you go northwards they tend to decline,” Suchy explained. “Over the last seven or eight years, we’ve seen that move north more and as we’ve seen that – we add a row of counties to the open season.”
Under the expanded quota, hunters and trappers will now be allowed to take bobcats in 35 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The season begins November 6.