Bobcat season open in Osceola County

Bobcat hunting and trapping season, the Department of Natural Resources reports, has started in selected areas of the state including Unit D, which includes area counties.

The hunt in Unit D started Jan. 1 and goes until Feb. 1.

Unit D includes Wexford, Osceola and Clare counties plus Missuakee, Antrim and Kalkaska counties.

The season bag limit for bobcat is two per person, the DNR notes, while only one bobcat may be taken from units C or D combined.

Those hunting and trapping furbearing animals, including those who trap or hunt on their own farmland or property, need t0 have a valid fur harvester license, the DNR said. This license allows the person to hunt: fox, bobcat, coyote or raccoon, and trap badger, bobcat, fisher, marten, fox, coyote, weasel, mink, raccoon, muskrat, beaver, otter, skunk or opossum.

Hunting bobcats also requires a free kill tag, the DNR adds.

Wildlife biologist Erin Victory covers Lake County where sportsmen are not allowed to hunt or trap bobcats, and she also represents Osceola County where it is allowed.

“In both 2009 and 2010, over 2,000 people attempted to hunt or trap bobcats statewide, approximately 25 percent of whom registered a bobcat both years,” Victory said. “Generally speaking, more people hunt bobcats than trap them. As of 2010, the effort it took per catch over the previous 10 years was unchanged, indicating that the bobcat population in the northern Lower Peninsula was stable during that time. In our office, we have been hearing about a lot of people seeing bobcat, but whether that indicates a growing population is undetermined.

“To get a better idea of our bobcat population in the northern Lower Peninsula, we are conducting multi-year bobcat scent station surveys. Comparing this data across years should tell us if numbers are increasing, decreasing, or continue to be stable, and will help us determine if areas that are currently closed can be opened. In Osceola County, there were seven bobcats taken in 2012, 25 in 2011, 23 in 2010, and 14 in 2009.”

For more information on bobcat hunting, see the DNR’s bobcat page or the Hunting and Trapping Digest, pages 22-27.