Under Governor Cuomo's Open for Hunting and Fishing initiative, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing changes to regulations that would provide increased hunting and trapping opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen for the growing bobcat population.
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced rules related to a five-year Bobcat Management Plan are now open for public review and comment.
"Regulation changes are needed to implement several strategies in the recently adopted Bobcat Management Plan," Martens said. "The changes to the bobcat hunting and trapping seasons will increase opportunities for New York sportsmen and women, accompanied by rigorous monitoring requirements to ensure that harvest levels are sustainable."
DEC adopted the bobcat management plan in October 2012 following extensive public input. Comments submitted on the draft were important in finalizing the plan and developing this rulemaking proposal. DEC will accept public comments on the proposed regulations through April 8.
The bobcat population has increased over the past several decades throughout upstate New York.
"DEC's bobcat management plan provides for the continued well-being of this unique species," Martens said. "The proposed regulations will allow for some additional harvest with controls to ensure that populations are not adversely affected."
Observation reports and analysis of harvest data have made it clear bobcats have increased in abundance over the past several decades throughout upstate New York, although they are rarely seen in the wild due to their secretive behavior and nocturnal habits. DEC estimates New York's bobcat population to be approximately 5,000 animals and growing, even in areas where regulated hunting and trapping seasons have been in place since the 1970s.
In accordance with the management plan, the proposed regulations simplify season dates in areas where hunting and trapping seasons have been open for many years. The plan also establishes new hunting and trapping opportunities in several wildlife management units across the Southern Tier.
As part of the New York Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year, Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget proposes hunting and fishing licenses be simplified and fees be reduced. For more information, go to www.governor.ny.gov/press/02202013-ny-open-for-fishing-and-hunting.
The specific regulatory proposals can be seen at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html. The proposed rule can also be viewed in the Feb. 20 publication of the New York State Register, which is posted on the DEC website at www.dos.ny.gov/info/register/2013.html. Citizens who wish to make formal public comments may do so by writing Mr. Bryan L. Swift, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about bobcats in New York, including the recently adopted management plan, go to www.dec.ny.gov/animals/9360.html.